“Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”  2 Corinthians 1:9

If you haven’t gotten there yet....WAIT FOR IT....!  There will be a moment that you realize you cannot do the ministry of City Life in your own power.  While our kids are hilarious, gifted, talented, incredible, etc. sometimes it is just too, too much.  

Too much sin.
Too much evil.
Too much spiritual warfare.
Too many disappointments.
Too much brokenness.
Too many issues.

Great news is, you’re right - we can’t do it, nor were we designed to be able to do relational urban youth ministry in our own power.  Don’t despair, though!  These moments of self-awareness can bring us to the realization of our need for continual dependence on God, particularly through the gift of prayer.  

A great book to read as a devotional and to explore this subject more deeply is the missionary biography of James O. Fraser, entitled Mountain Rain.  His journey to raise indigenous leaders from an unreached people group in China mirrored so many of my own experiences in urban youth ministry - even though he lived over 100 year ago!  James struggled with confusion, disappointment, depression, failure and, at times, fruitlessness.  James even struggled with the issue of raising disciples in an environment where the entire rural economy was based on the opium drug trade.  Sound familiar? 

All of these issues James relayed in detailed, hand-written letters to his prayer group back in England.  He wrote:

“Without this [prayer] I feel like a man who has his boat grounded in shallow water.  Pull or push as he may, he will not be able to make his boat move more than a few inches.  But let the tide come in and lift his boat off the bottom -- then he will be able to move it as far as he pleases, quite easily and without friction.”  p. 166, Mountain Rain

I re-read this book at least once every year to remind me of the importance of prayer and the great power of God to change an entire community toward Him.  I am convinced that the Lord loves to bring us to a place of deeper dependence on Him.  It is good for us to be challenged to deepen our prayer life and it is good for our City Life teens!

What about you?  Has God used the City Life to “bring you to your knees”?  How has a prayer impacted your local ministry? 

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