As a bird without wings, as a soldier without arms, so is a Christian without prayer (St Tikhon of
In youth ministry, there is a temptation to
operate solely on a pragmatic level, focusing all of one's time and energy in the
implementation and planning of various programs and activities. While such activities and programs are key
components, they must never be regarded as the sum and substance of our ministry.
St. Seraphim of Sarov, an 18th
century monastic saint, in his famous conversation with Nicholas
Motovilov observed that, "...the goal of the Christian life is the acquisition of
the Holy Spirit." He also taught that we do so through prayer, fasting, almsgiving and the practice
of the virtues, concentrating most
especially on those things that help us to be open to the workings of the Holy
Spirit. Applied to youth ministry, we understand our goal, then, is to help our youth to repent, so
that they may acquire the fruits of the Holy Spirit, for as St. Paul writes:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
And those who are Christ's have
crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:22-24).
In ministering to our youth, we are in a real
sense engaging them and ourselves in spiritual warfare against the powers and
principalities of this world. As St.
Tikhon of Zadonsk reminds us, our most powerful weapon is prayer. If we do not
actively pray for our youth and their physical and spiritual needs, and teach them to do the same, our ministry
will have no heart and soul and will be of
little or no value.
Desiring to firmly establish our diocesan
youth ministry on the rock of prayer,
Metropolitan Nicholas has blessed the use of a prayer service for the intention of our
diocesan youth, The Akathist to the
Theotokos (Mother of God) the Nourisher
of Children in our diocesan parishes.
This service will be celebrated throughout the
Diocese on a rotating basis in each deanery. During this service, a special
prayer for the intention of our diocesan youth has been included. Our diocesan faithful are invited and
encouraged to submit names of any youth they would like to be prayed for during the service. A master list
of the first names (to respect the privacy of our youth and their families)
of all submitted youth will be forwarded to each deanery prior to
their scheduled celebration of the
Akathist service . His Eminence,
Metropolitan Nicholas has placed Fr. Stephen Loposky in charge of the youth
prayer list. Names to be included on the list, along with the name, phone number
and email address of the person submitting them, should be sent to:
Fr. Stephen Loposky
7 East Chatfield Place
Painted Post, NY 14870