This article was originally published in Edition (8) of Prayer Magazine,  Oct-Dec 2006.

Arms flung wide open above our heads, eyes shut, head raised, praying intensely to God that this time we are serious, this time we’re not going to make the same mistakes, this time we’ll stay on fire.

It’s a challenge that most of us face this time of year. We’ve been to a Bible week, youth camp, Soul Survivor, Keswick, Flames of Fire or some other summer event, and we’ve had a really powerful encounter with God. We’ve promised to live our lives more passionately for Jesus in the future and want to keep the spiritual fire in us burning as intensely as it did when we heard Mike Pilavachi preach, or when we were in a Tim Hughes led worship session, or when we were in the Superhero gig. Yet before too long the fire dims and we’re living back down at the pre-summer spiritual intensity.

The disciples were no strangers to moments of extreme intimacy with Jesus- here’s an incident from Mark’s gospel chapter 9:

Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the top of a mountain. No one else was there. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance changed, and his clothing became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly process could ever make it.

Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus.  “Teacher, this is wonderful!” Peter exclaimed. “We will make three shrines—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

Peter, James and John wanted to stay there and try to live in that ‘mountain top’ moment forever, but Jesus knew they needed to return to ‘real’ life. Likewise, we can’t stay at the place of our great summer experience forever, but we can take some steps to make sure that our new-found fire can continue to burn brightly. Early on in Mark’s gospel Jesus announces that “at last the time has come” and the Greek word for time used here is ‘Kairos’ which means the significant time, the special time. In other words, Jesus is saying -it’s no more business as usual, don’t go back to your default setting.

Here’s some suggestions to make sure that when you’ve returned from your mountain top experience it’s no more business as usual.

     YOUNG PEOPLE

  • If you wrote a journal while you were away then read it through and remind yourself what God was saying to you.
  • If you didn’t write a journal then grab a pen and paper and write down how you felt and what you think God was doing.
  • Talk things through with your friends and your youth leader
  • Pray with them for the strength to stay passionate and on fire in your relationship with Jesus
  • Stay engaged with other Christians- go to church and youth group regularly.
  • Choose one or two specific prayers that will help to keep the fire of God burning in you and commit to pray those prayers regularly.

     YOUTH LEADERS

  • Ask your church to let young people give a report back about your summer trip in a service
  • Pray for each of your young people by name and specifically ask that God will complete the work He has started in them.
  • Organise a summer ‘reunion’ late in the Autumn, to remind young people of the time they enjoyed and how the Holy Spirit moved amongst them.
  • Plan your teaching and devotional programme intentionally to help young people not only maintain their passion for Jesus but to help them take their Christian journey further.

OUR PRAYERS AFTER THE SUMMER…

Flames of Fire is a summer family conference at the Royal Welsh Showground organised by New Wine Cymru. Here is a selection of prayers that young people from the Ignite youth programme took away with them.

  • I’m praying that I’ll be a history maker
  • I’m praying for my Mum and Dad
  • I’m praying that our church will see that young people are important
  • I’m praying for revival in Wales
  • I’m praying for God to show me a country He wants me to go to
  • I’m praying that the fire in me will keep on burning
  • I’m praying for my mates who became Christians
  • I’m praying for opportunities to lead worship
  • I’m praying for my friend who is in a mess
  • I’m praying for peace in the Middle East
  • I’m praying for forgiveness and a new start

THE IGNITE DECLARATION

One great way of staying on fire is to commit to the Ignite Declaration. Over 4,000 young people have boldly declared before God that this is the life they want to lead. Use it as a prayer and as a bold commitment – you can go online at www.igniteme.org and purchase the Ignite Declaration on a laminated card to give you a permanent reminder of your declaration to the Lord.

IGNITE DECLARATION

 I believe that God has a special purpose for my generation and me. I ask God to ignite in me a desire to discover this purpose.

I commit to:

  • Include Jesus in my moral life, my thoughts, words, actions and relationships.
  • Grow closer to Jesus through studying the bible, praying and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me each day.
  • Network with other Christians in my city, my country and throughout the world.
  • Involve myself in a local church and respect its leadership.
  • Take the message of Jesus into my school, college or place of work and the world by praying, living and witnessing so that everyone may have an opportunity to know Jesus.
  • Explore God’s will for myself and my generation and seek to follow it.

 

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