Sam Donoghue shares some prayers for churches to use, written by young people and recently used at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Young people from two schools in the Diocese of London recently led the prayers at a Sunday Evening Eucharist in St Paul’s Cathedral. Students from Twyford and The Urswick schools worked with their school chaplains to produce a series of prayers covering topics such as the cost of living, the environment, school and families. The prayers serve as an interesting window into what the young people in our churches care about.
The Bishop of Edmonton was at the service and said, “Their prayers, prompted by the spirit, were powerful and prophetic.”
As a Diocese focused on ‘Growing Younger’ we know that we need to recognise leadership gifts in our young people and allow them space to lead, so we are grateful that the team at St Paul’s Cathedral made space for these young people to lead the prayers.
Prayers from young people
You can read all the prayers below. We would love as many churches as can to use them in one of your services. It’s a simple way that you can ensure young people are remembered when you meet – even if there aren’t any in the room. Use them as a first step in changing culture and thinking more about how your church can welcome and include young people.
Bethel – Year 9
You care for each and every individual, and you want us to flourish and have fullness of life in You.
And so, we bring to you the disruption to schools and students caused by the recent Covid pandemic.
We are thankful that the worst of the pandemic seems to have passed, but we know that the school system and the lives of many thousands of young people have been disrupted throughout this difficult time. We are still living with the aftershocks of the pandemic and for many young people and teachers, it has left brokenness and anxiety in its wake. Pupils have spent valuable time away from school and learning has been lost. Mental health has deteriorated for many young people. Teachers have found themselves exhausted and under increased pressure.
Lord, we ask that You help all students, particularly those taking public exams, to cope well with the challenges they face and find success in their studies
We pray for those pupils struggling with mental health issues or who have suffered difficult home-lives during the pandemic, that you would bring them healing and peace
We remember too those teachers who find themselves facing the huge pressure of expectations and the stress of meeting the increased needs of students that you would strengthen and encourage them
Lord Jesus, we lift all of these people to you and ask that they would know your love and care today.
Cristiano – Year 8
We bring to you those whose lives are affected by war: those who have lost loved ones, those who have forced away from their homes and particularly those young people who have found themselves physically and emotionally scarred by their experiences.
Whether it is Ukraine or Syria today, Yemen or Ethiopia, young people find themselves on the front lines of conflict; their hopes for happiness in school, home and community are dashed. So Lord, we cry out to you that you would hear our prayer are provide peace and hope to those trapped in destruction of war.
We pray for parents who face such terrible decisions: whether to stay or leave their homes, how to protect their children and how to feed their family. Lord, bring comfort and hope to them in their distress, we pray.
I pray for all those forced to be migrants and refugees in foreign lands by war or poverty, like my own grandparents. We pray for that we and other wealthy countries would meet their desperation with generosity and kindness.
Finally, we pray for politicians with wisdom and vision to see peace beyond greed, and pride beyond the desire for revenge.
Lord, we lift this to you in Jesus’ name.
Bruno Pereira – Year 13
We pray for your protection, especially during this turbulent winter that we’ll all face,
Especially those who are most vulnerable during the current economic crisis.
We pray that children, mothers and fathers and many others survive against the threats of hunger, high bills, unforgivable cold due to lack of heating and also threat to job and home loss.
We also pray that mothers and fathers can afford a present for their children during Christmas time- a sign of happiness.
Let’s not forget about the homeless people who would be out in the streets surviving against the cold and looking for a place of warmth. Our thoughts are with them!
As winter approaches, we’re all conscious that everyone would feel the ‘painful bite’ of reality as they find ways to live through this.
Therefore, our thoughts and prayers are with them!
Esther – Year 11
We pray for the NHS, as they continue to provide us with protection and care throughout this difficult season. Help us to show compassion to all those who selflessly work for our well-being each day.
Noah – Year 13
“Psalm 91 verse 4 says – “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
Lord, we look to you for comfort during these times of uncertainty.
We praise you for your gracious mercy, as although we reject you and seek worldly desires, you continue to love us unconditionally.
Thank you for providing for us in our daily lives and guiding us through times of difficulty. And thank you Lord for being, not a distant God but, our father who is always working in this world and in our hearts.
Today, we also have in our thoughts and prayers those who are suffering from illness, bereavement, economic difficulty and other issues that we may all face in our lives. Help them to seek refuge in you and to have trust and faith that you will protect and provide, your faithfulness being our shield and rampart.
“In my father’s house there are many rooms”
We can be without worry, or anxiety as Jesus has prepared a place for us and we can have assurance that we are in his care, now and forever.
Yasmin – Year 11
We pray for a time where all may prosper. May you give aid to those who are struggling to pay for heating, food, water and other essentials this winter. Help us become a more compassionate community, and guide us through the storm so we may all see the light that comes at the end of this.
Levi Phillips from the Growing Younger team took a few minutes to chat with Samuel Taylor about the story behind Youth East and its first conference for young people in East London, coming up in March.
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