It’s a great experience to have the prayer of your life.
Those are the experiences we usually remember. Most often, it’s on retreats where we have wonderful experiences with God and deepen our relationship with Him. But it doesn’t just have to be. I have had a super spiritual prayer time with guided meditation from the time when I was a wee little high schooler to just last week. I may be an old man, but here is a prayer is still love to evangelize with.
It doesn’t disappoint.
“Enhanced” Guided Meditation
I’m sure you have some youth ministry books lying around your office that have a guided meditation or two. The web has plenty as well. A few well-known ones are:
Most of them still could be said just about word for word, and still be effective with the young Church. Make sure to slow down and give some time for God to get hold of their imaginations and have a conversation with them.
Now for a few enhancements…
Use these enhancements to help with processing, putting to action and making the prayer a bit more meaningful.
1. Ask two or three concrete questions such as, “Jesus gives you a gift, what is it?” or “Jesus challenges you, so what does he say?” I know these are generally a standard for the average meditation, but make sure you are tailoring your questions around your retreat topic. “Gifts of the Holy Spirit” topic might fit the first question above. “Transformation” maybe fits the second. Just make sure the questions fit your group or topic, and make sure an image or sentence…something memorable…comes to mind when you ask these questions. The more concrete you can make the image, the better the next two enhancements will take.
2. Following the meditation, hand out a sheet of paper (or have it as part of your retreat journal) with the exact questions you ask in the meditation. Allow a few minutes for your young people to jot down and give visual memory to this prayer experience. Some will look back weeks, months or years from now and know that God has been speaking and maybe even providing direction in their life from that point forward.
3. Finally, let them talk – generally – about the meditation with a partner or small group. The key is to let them know that they don’t have to go into detail about their specific answers to God’s questions, but I have found that this opens up the processing to a very deep, spiritual conversation. It may be the first deep conversation they have had about their faith or prayer or their relationship with God. It may be the biggest conversation and gives them a real life, personal witness to their conversation with God.
A couple of notes that have served me well in facilitating a guided meditation:
*Slow down and give time for imagining to take place. No one likes to be interrupted in their daydreaming
*Don’t talk too much. Poetic prowess should not stand in the way of God talking.
*Keep the script to not much more than 15 minutes. If it’s too long, they won’t remember it all – especially the questions.
Opening up faith is a difficult task, both for us personally and for a group communally. The guided meditation can be so helpful in bringing our minds and hearts to God. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship.