Detention Prayers

Last year, when I signed in as volunteer at the middle school, I could see the lunch detention crowd through a glass window in the office. The secretary always seemed annoyed with them. And every week it seemed like it was the same kids in detention! Several of the kids I actually knew from Campus Life. One in particular, a 6th grader named Timothy, often misbehaved in class and was a handful when he came to Campus Life activities.

Last spring, I offered “behavior coaching” for the kids in detention. Spending time with them was the favorite part of my week. On the last day I bought pizza. Being a regular attender of Campus Life, Timothy suggested to his peers, “We have to pray before we eat!”

I was taken aback, not expecting Timothy, the troublemaker, to initiate praying before our meal. I explained to the kids that because this was a school activity, we couldn’t pray like we do at Campus Life.

But Timmy was insistent! “No one is eating until we pray!”

Being aware of my boundaries, I explained that I couldn’t lead them in the prayer, but as students they could pray on their own at any time.

I stepped away from the table and watched as Timothy led the blessing. All eight kids bowed their heads and prayed…in detention.

The prayer was simple, authentic, and went something like this: “Dear God, thank you for Ms. Cindy bringing pizza to us. Thank you for Pizza Hut. Please help us to not be in detention next year. Amen."

In that moment I realized the impact that consistent investment can have on young kids. Campus Life is making an impact on Timmy’s live, and now he is influencing others for Christ through simple, thankful prayers for pizza in detention.

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