How to Increase Prayer

Cody Ray Charland | Feb 8, 2012

One of my classes at Fuller this quarter is Spiritual Traditions and Practices.

Recently, our study turned to St. Ignatius of Loyola. While attempting an Ignatian prayer practice in class, one of the steps was to let our imagination run wild and insert ourselves into the biblical story we were focusing on.

This moment was one of the most difficult in my graduate studies.

I found a lot of frustration in transitioning my mind from recalling to creating. Afterwards, I thought about how easy this wouldve been before college or seminary had shaped me into a prototypical linear Western thinker.

Like a lot of things I know now, after learning this, I wished I could be a teen again. But my regret was soon refuted by research.

Looking back, I hardly prayed as a teenager. A recent study says that only 37% of teens pray alone daily. ((128, Growing Up In America: The Power of Race in the Lives of Teens, Brad Christerson, Korie L. Edwards, & Richar Flory.)) Im now part of the 48% of 18-30 year-old adults who do (or at least try to). ((Religion Among the Millennials. http://www.pewforum.org/Age/Religion-Among-the-Millennials.aspx)) Simply, prayer seems to increase with age.

This leads to a few questions:

  1. Whats behind the increase in prayer for young adults, if there is one?
  2. Whats holding teens back from praying more (especially when the same study says 84% of teens believe in God)? ((120, Growing Up In America: The Power of Race in the Lives of Teens))
  3. How can we stir imagination and greater awareness in young people when it comes to prayer practices?
Cody Ray Charland

Cody Ray Charland is a second year MATM student at Fuller’s Pasadena campus. He holds a BA in Physical Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. As Project Assistant with the Fuller Youth Institute, he handles social media, and helps with writing, technology, and research. He was formerly a Young Life leader as well as Youth Pastor at Port City Community Church in Wilmington, NC. Cody enjoys the outdoors, all things Tar Heel, and barbecue.


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