This week the Middle School and High School Youth Groups fell into the metaphorical dunk tank about prayer.

From the opening devotion, which included part of the Prayer of St. Patrick — “Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me” — our kids talked about prayers they use that help them navigate their lives. Most use breath prayers they learned in their earlier years in youth group, but the adult leaders also built goodie bags they sent to all YG members early this fall which included two pages of breath prayers — prayers some of the kids referenced in the share time.

Breath prayer has been practiced in the church for millennia. It is a form of contemplative prayer linked to the rhythms of breathing.

Some of the breath prayers favored by our youth, along with their reasons for using them, are:
• Guide me, Lord: It’s a good one for everyday because you always need guidance, and it’s good to always have God as your partner. I feel like I stress myself out and overthink and expect myself to know every answer, but I don’t, believe it or not. I need God’s guidance and he knows what’s best for me.
• My favorite is ‘Not my will but thine be done’: It covers everything from ‘thank you for everything in my life’ to ‘help me’.
• Oh, God: but just the ‘Oh’ part, and Thanks!: those were helpful with a big test I had.
• Forgive me: sometimes in certain situations I think too much about my self and not about others. I have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
• Help!: sometimes I say it in all capitals. There was a time in my life when everything felt out of control. Help! is what I said.

Mrs. Patti added, “We can be really hard on ourselves. We really beat ourselves up. I think anytime we can use a breath prayer to bring ourselves back home to a place of simplicity is a good thing. I am Hakuna Matat-ing*** my way through COVID. 2020 has been a hard and difficult year.

“In the grand scheme thing of life, we all have roofs over our heads, food to eat, an education, and people who love us. Everything we need we already have. Just saying thanks for the very basics is something we need to do everyday. The Christian writer Anne Lamott has a prayer that goes, “Help, Thanks, Wow”. We have a need and say to God, “Help.” He helps us and we say, “Thanks.” The resolution of the problem makes us say, “Wow.”

“There’s a wow factor in our lives everyday. Stop and ask for help for what you need. Sometimes asking for help is just being willing to let go and let God. Stop worrying about the control. Ask for help when you need it, be sure to say thank you every day, and be sure to stop and say wow. It can literally be ‘I did better on that test than I thought — wow!’ Or ‘That encounter went better than I thought — wow!” So, besides having the basics — food, shelter, family love — you also have the love of God. Use the breath prayers we sent you to lean on — but you can make up your own breath prayers, too.”

For more info on socially-distanced and masked Youth Group fun coming in October email Mrs. Patti,
• Youth Group Hike, Sunday, October 11, 10:30 a.m.. three mile hike, Newport Back Bay.
• Trunk or Treat Drive Thru, Sunday, October 25, 4 to 6 pm, drive through, come help out.
• Pumpkin Carving info to come

If you’re in middle or high school and want to join the Youth Group Zoom meetings for middle school or high school, shoot Mrs. Patti an email: Here’s the schedule: Middle School — grades six through eight — meets Tuesdays from 7 – 7:45 p.m.; High School meets Wednesdays from 7 – 7:45 p.m. The YG’s adult leaders are Mrs. Patti, Mr. and Mrs. Nichols, Mike Olivor, and Joe Miramontes.

*** Hakuna Matata is a Swahili phrase which means no worries.