The Prayer Wall

by Joshua CarsonPrayer Wall 1

I inherited a lot of things from the previous Youth Pastor at my church. My favorite piece of that inheritance is a section of a wall in our Youth Room that had been deemed the “Prayer Wall.” When I first heard about the idea of a Prayer Wall I was deeply impressed—I had never seen such a significant physical embodiment of a student ministry’s commitment to prayer.

I’ve found that teens are not naturally comfortable with prayer in front of others. It can be like pulling teeth to get a student to volunteer to pray during a youth event. Students feel intimidated by the prospect of praying in front of their peers or in front of adult leaders, who allegedly “pray better” than they do. I’ve often heard students say that they “don’t know how to pray” or that they don’t know what words to use. To be fair, teenagers aren’t the only ones who have these kinds of complaints—adults do too. In fact, churches need to be equipping families with the ability to engage with God through prayer—both as a unit and on an individual level. Growing up, I found that praying frequently at home with my parents and sisters was a great way to learn how to pray on a developmentally appropriate level.

That’s where the Prayer Wall comes in. The Prayer Wall is a large section of the wall in our Youth Room that was painted with chalkboard paint. That paint essentially turned the wall into a chalkboard. Add some chalk and an eraser and you’ve got all that you need for a Prayer Wall. Each week during our Youth Group meeting we gather in a semi-circle around the Prayer Wall and go through three steps. First, we have time for students and adults to address any prayer requests that were already on the wall. Students can erase a request that had been answered, underline or circle one that they feel needs some emphasis, or otherwise modify their request. This is also a time for us to follow up with each other about how God may have answered prayers in our lives from week to week. The second step of the process is to write up new prayer requests, which are left up on the wall as long as the author wishes. This past year we divided the wall into four sections: family, school, community, and world. The prayers get added into the appropriate section so that it is easier for us to find them later. The third step, of course, is to pray. Each person in the circle has the chance to pray out loud or to “pass” to the person next to them. I close our time in prayer and then the group prays the Lord’s Prayer, which we have written on the side of the wall.

I love how much our students have come to expect and enjoy the Prayer Wall (if I forget to close with the Lord’s Prayer, the students don’t let us move on until we’ve prayed it). It has become a part of the culture and liturgy of our Youth Group, and students frequently come to Youth Group with prayer requests or praise reports to share. Once a student brought in a notebook with a list of prayers to write on the wall—prayers that he had been saving over the summer. It has been a phenomenal way for us to visibly and tangibly see God working in our lives and to take intentional time with prayer as a community. At the beginning of each year I explain the purpose of the Prayer Wall and how we use it, and I always talk about how God sees us when we write our prayer or praise on the wall, and that the act of writing on the board is itself a prayer to God—God hears it even if someone doesn’t mention it verbally during our prayer time.

Some requests stay on the wall for the entire year. ISIS has been on the wall since the fall of 2014—we’ve been praying for them to cease violence and come to know Christ. We’ve prayed for the many people in our church struggling with cancer and other physical ailments. We’ve prayed for people to find jobs, for stressful academic situations, and for healing and peace to come to our families and the world.

Throughout the year when prayers are answered or when people want them taken down we erase them with a chalkboard eraser. Some more organized or Type-A folks might prefer to wipe it down with a wet paper towel so that the wall actually gets cleaned and the marks are gone. But I only clean the wall once every August, and we use an eraser for a very important reason. Over the course of the year that wall gets really dirty. There are lots of marks where lots of prayers have been erased, and each of those smudges is a reminder.

We can see by the dirtiness of the wall how faithful God has been to us.

In the filthiness we see how God has heard our cries and laments for the world. And that alone is worth dealing with the mess. Prayer Wall 4

What are some creative and meaningful ways that you and your community can engage in prayer? Answer in the comment section below.

Josh Carson is Pastor of Student Ministries at First Baptist Church of Bethlehem, PA, and is a Sider Scholar with the Sider Center & ESA while working on his M.Div. at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University.

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6 Responses

  1. Ana María says:

    Prayers Request
    That in perfect divine order all the orders are completed.
    That the lawyer María Belén Nadal begins well “the Recovery with Damages” in perfect divine order and inside truth and justice and leave approved by the Judge that intervenes winning and leaving favorable to María Eugenia Rosa urgently and the trial is made of I evict. And that soon it can notarize himself with Ignacio and Martin Pardo and to sell the land.
    That in perfect divine order, the God makes that the lawyer Horacio Ricardo Guevara makes the steps with velocity and that it is not ambitious with María Eugenia Rosa and that it doesn’t charge us a lot that it is discreet. And that also the notary Martin Pardo be discreet and it won’t charge us a lot with the deed. That both they make us price.
    For María Eugenia Rosa and Ana María Manuel’s health so that they are healed of the chronic acidity of the stomac and of the whole problems of the digestive system. And that one also prays for my brother Oscar Armando Manuel and my nephews Claudio Oscar and Victor Andrés Manuel’s health.
    That Oscar Armando Manuel recovers his house of San Rafael Mendoza and Mario Aguilera also returns him the house from San Rafael to Oscar Armando and that this returns the properties of Mar del Plata Buenos Aires to Mario Aguilera.
    That Oscar Armando, Claudio Oscar and Victor Andrés Manuel return to live to San Rafael Mendoza again and return to María Eugenia Rosa and Ana María Manuel and unite in family again and let us have a lot of health and work.
    That my cousins Néstor Alfredo, Silvia and Lilian Díaz returns the papers that belonged to his uncle that when being died, to his daughter Ana María Manuel and that the justice prevails and the truth jumps to the light like it should be. That those papers come to Ana María Manuel’s hands.
    And that María Rosario Achucarro Bagués, Ramiro Mario Azcorra Ganoza and David Vaquero Gallego revise, revolve, look for, discover and find the writings, the powers and the testaments of the houses and fields that it is in usurpers’s hands of the property and that it is possible in perfect divine order that they arrive to Ana María Manuel’s hands and justice is made.
    And that the truth jumps by the light of those papers coming to Ana María Manuel’s hands.
    Like I am new writer that I am presented the opportunity of some good literary agent that I am a good editorial interested in to publish my books and to diffuse them.
    Also that if God wants it the love of a single man he never appears married and without children, with honest moral, decent values, worker, with professional studies, of good family and good presence.
    Thank you!
    Ana María

  2. I. Udarath Wanigasekara says:

    Amen may god give us perfect divine order all the orders are completed amen and make all our famillies happy Amen

  3. Angela Hughes says:

    First let us give the Lord thanks for the abundance of all things.Please pray that the Lord would deliver his people from evil men; That the Lord would preserve his people from violent men, who plan evil things in their heart and stir up wars continually. Pray against the spirit of anti Christ,false witness,terrorism hatred and violence. Please pray and intercede without ceasing that God’s will be done in the lives of the world’s leaders and for our leaders to seek God and listen to Him. Pray that they would be surrounded by godly counsel and, that our leadership would personally know God and the salvation found through faith in Jesus Christ alone. That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. God can turn the hearts of kings. Earnestly pray that the people of America and its leaders will humble themselves and seek the Lords face and turn from their wicked ways. Pray that the Lord would hear from heaven and forgive our countries sins and heal our land. God Bless America Pray that the Lord would grant peace in America, that we may lie down and no one will make us afraid. That the Lord would remove wild beasts from the land, and that the sword will not pass through our country and that President Trump along with our leaders be filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might to declare the sins of Gods people. Please pray for revival and that the Lord would pour out his spirit on his servants, throughout the world both men and women. Pray for the peace of Israel. Gods will be done on earth as it is in heaven.In Jesus Name, Amen.

  4. Alfred says:

    Please pray for Eric.He suffers greatly with mental and emotional problems.Eric needs salvation ,deliverance, & deep healing.Please care about Eric.Pray Eric will have a life changing experience with Jesus Christ!!!

  5. nn says:

    Heavenly Father, help me, You know my pain, You always know what happened because You see everything, even a most hidden corner. I come with a broken heart, Father, You know how long I have waited for reconcilitation and restored relationship. God if you deign, please God soften and touch [Name’s] heart for me. I can’t touch his heart but Lord you can. Please bless those who hate me, don’t let their hatred on me make them proud. Show me your way, Lord; teach me your paths. You are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Please make this miracle happen for me.

  6. Alan says:

    Please Lord help me. I need financial miracle! The problems must go away!

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