When I look back on my faith journey as a young adult, I am extremely grateful for the older adults in my life who took the time to teach me how to pray. Their gifts of sharing their wisdom and teaching me the practical tools of our faith serve me well as I journey through the transitions of young adulthood. The young adults I have worked with on retreats hunger for methods of prayer that help them traverse the uncertainties of life. What can we do to help feed their desire for prayer?
- Offer young adults opportunities to experience sacred silence. Share your experience of how God can speak within the silence of our hearts and through our thoughts and deep desires.
- Teach them the Examen. St. Ignatius of Loyola advised people to pray the Examen every day. It is a prayer of real-life, and it is a prayer that allows us to hold and name both where we find God and where we struggle to find God.
- Teach and guide young adults through ways of praying with Scripture such as Lectio Divina or Ignatian contemplation of the Gospel. Delving into Scripture in the silence of our hearts allows the Scripture to start reading our lives, and we can begin to see how Christ’s life resonates with our own.
- Offer experiences of traditional prayer forms such as Adoration, praying the Rosary, or praying with the saints.
- Point young adults to prayer resources that can be found online, in apps for their phones, and in books.
As many of us who are ministers know, we lean on different methods of prayer at various times of our lives. Sometimes it is easy to sit in stillness in contemplative prayer or meditation without a guide. However, sometimes we need a more tangible or structured method of prayer. We can feed the hunger of young adults’ desire for prayer by helping them understand the richness and depth of Catholic prayer.