During Daniel’s sleep time this afternoon I finished Downtime: Helping Teenagers Pray by Mark Yaconelli. It was an interesting book, I started it with low expectations, I’d lent it a while ago to a young person who handed it back to me using the words disappointing and boring. I’d disagree with them.
Mark Yaconelli wrote a wonderful book (Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus with Young People) which has to be in the top 10 books for any youth leader to read. His style is thought provoking and frustrating all at the same time – I feel excited by what he writes, but frustrated that the context, and especially the young people he works with, seem so different to those I work with. This book carries that on – spending time thinking about the topic of prayer, challenging youth leaders to slow young people enough that they can meet with God.
The book starts with an introduction on the need to slow young people and gives some examples from some of his experiences of working with young people. Yaconelli’s key thought is that prayer should underpin everything within a youth work, and that teenagers can be key prayer leaders in a church. He then writes 16 short chapters on key words such as keep silence, rest, imagine, create, travel, suffer, heal which includes some testimony/story and then some examples – be it prayer stations, liturgy, meditations etc.
The book strikes me as being very useful, certainly one I will be wanting to consistently open and use.