By:Victor Quon(Youtube VictorQuon-fw4sj)

            Planning a prayer conference for today’s generation is a major challenge. The current generation of young adults is known as GenZ.  They are being quickly followed by GenAlpha.  One of the most common characteristics of these generations is the growing disinterest in the Christian faith.  Church attendance has been in decline even before the pandemic.  Bible colleges and seminaries are struggling to attract students. Perhaps the most glaring observation is the rise of the most common religious affiliation in America.  These are the Nothings.  They are distinct from non-Christians or atheists.  They have never considered a life of faith.  They are not antagonistic. Religious identity is simply something they don’t even think about.

            A major factor that led today’s young adults to this place of disinterest is how they received the spiritual input offered to them in their formative years.  With the numerous “You must” directives, their faith felt like just another religion.  They were told things like, “You must go to church”, “You must read the Bible”, and “You must learn to pray.”  Of course, these are helpful practices for anyone to grow in their walk with God.  But when presented as requirements, they only add up to practicing a religion.  The remedy to this situation is to turn our focus from religion to relationship.  After all, that is what Jesus is always inviting us into. The Pharisees spoke of religious practices.  Jesus was drawing people to himself and His heavenly Father.

            This is what has led to the development of the model that will be in focus for Pray24 – the God Pods, an act of listening prayer, similar to the practice of lectio divina.  The important distinguishing factor is that God Pods happen in the context of a Christian community, which happens to be a very important trademark of GenZ and GenAlpha.  They don’t want to do things alone or with a huge crowd of people.  They want to practice faith with a community that they trust.

            This is how the God Pods work.  People from a church or fellowship will come together for a time of extended listening prayer.  Ideally, this would be 3-4 hours.  The gathering begins with a worship song that would draw people into a place of hearing from God.  The pastor or leader will then introduce a passage that serves as the basis of hearing God’s voice.  Participants will then be asked to go find a quiet place to slowly read and meditate on the passage.  This may require more than one reading.  At the same time, they are saying a one-sentence prayer taken from 1 Samuel 3:9 – “Speak LORD, for your servant is listening.”  As they do this, they may indeed receive a word from the LORD.  They are encouraged to write this in a journal to help them remember what the LORD has said.  After about 30-40 minutes, they will move into small groups of 3-4 others.  In this time, each person will share what they received from God.  Group members are encouraged to give words of affirmation or ask questions.  This community time helps each person to gain clarity in what the LORD said to them.  After a short break, participants are asked to repeat the process, but this time, they are asking for the LORD to speak to their church or fellowship.  The prayer becomes, “Speak LORD, for your people are listening,”

            In the brief time in which God Pods have been practiced, people have been impacted because they have never had the opportunity to hear God’s voice.  Prayer has always been a time of offering a list of requests.  This is a biblical practice that needs to continue.  But prayer is not only us speaking to God, but God speaking to us as well.  This is a practice of our faith that can be crucial for GenZ and GenAlpha.  If you have a relationship with someone, but only one person does all the communicating, that cannot be much of a relationship.  But when it is revealed to today’s young adults that God wants to speak to them, it could become a truly transformational moment.  Then when they hear how God has spoken to their peers, it confirms for them that this is something that can bless their whole community.

            Our plan for Pray24 is to identify as many churches as possible who would like to host a God Pod and help train others in developing this practice of listening prayer.  At present, two churches in Northern California have been practicing God Pods.  Two more congregations in the Los Angeles area are getting started.  We also hope to make contact with groups in San Diego, Seattle, and Sacramento.  If you know of other churches who might be interested, please contact us to get them connected.

~~~ Archived ~~~