Student Leadership Team Basics: Popsicle Stick Prayers

Some of my good friends are long-term medical missionaries in Nepal. Every once in a while, I'll get an e-mail from them saying, “We popsicle stick prayed for you this morning!”

Every day our friends – along with their three young children – pray for those who support them. To do this, they've written their supporters' names on popsicle sticks, which one of their children then pulls from a cup. They cycle through these several times a year as a way of ensuring they're routinely praying for those who are also praying for them.

Upon hearing them describe this ritual, I thought, “That's brilliant! I can use that in my youth ministry!”

And indeed, I do, specifically with my student leadership team. In fact, as part of our team's weekly prayer time, we use this popsicle stick prayer idea.

At our first meeting of the year, my team takes one of our youth ministry's rosters and writes down everyone's name on a popsicle stick. Since we do so before the year begins, we don't yet know who will be active in our youth ministry. That's intentional because it means we routinely pray for all the teens connected to our church's ministry – regardless of how frequently or infrequently they actually attend our youth ministry. In other words, our prayers for people are not conditional upon their attendance.

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Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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