Youth ministry programs

Story Studies

Does Prayer Work?

Read the passage from the letter dated June 4th by scrolling down to the June 4th date in: The Story

Who is demonstrating faith in the passage? What actual request was made of Chihaysu? Note that there are two requests. The first is from the men who brought their ailing friend to Chihaysu. They asked him to assist with praying for their friend. This was a very reasonable request for the people of Caperston. Why? Remember that the people from Caperston have just recently learned about the presence of God in their world and about prayer. Most have never attempted to pray and probably have no idea how to pray. In the world of Caperston there is no Lord’s Prayer recited regularly in church. There are no prayers said before meals or at bedtime with children. This is a very new idea ... praying ... to an all-powerful God that no one can see. Recognizing this, doesn't this make the actions of the friends all the more compelling?

The second request is made by the diseased man himself. He asks Chihaysu, "You are a prophet of prayer. Help me pray for my healing." Note that the man does not ask Chihaysu to pray for him. Rather he asks him to "help me pray?" Chihaysu replies "Your healing has already begun because of the faith of your friends and yourself."

After discussing this story have the youth read Luke chapter 5: 17-28. How is this story similar and how is it different than the story of Chihaysu and the man suffering from AHT disease. Note that the actions of the men bringing the paralyzed man to Jesus are similar. However, the request of Jesus is different from the request to Chihaysu. The men who brought him to Jesus said nothing. Their actions depicted their intentions.

In the first story Chihaysu teaches the diseased man how to pray and states "Your healing has begun" but in the fifth chapter of Luke Jesus responds by saying, "Your sins are forgiven." Discuss with youth why this was Jesus' response (see verses 22 though 26).

Lastly ask youth about times they have prayed. Do they pray just when they are in need? Do they pray for others? Do any of the youth know of a time when prayer worked and there was a clear positive outcome? One suggestion: when we pray for guidance and strength we often receive the peace of mind that allows us to make wise decisions. Of course there are many more suggestions.

Youth leaders may want to combine this activity with the activity "Trust and Prayer" described at: Trust and Prayer

Read the activity that teaches youth how to pray.

Teachings from the Story: Temptations - Not an Easy Topic

For ministers and Bible students there are many references to temptation in the Bible. It all starts with Adam and Eve and their fall to temptation. One of the last references is in Revelation 3:10 where the writer, speaking to the church of Philadelphia, states, that God will keep them "from the hour of temptation" due to their faithfulness. In between these Biblical passages are many references from Paul and other writers.

For young people we suggest the following. Have them read Matthew 4:1-11. Discuss the three temptations Christ faced. If Jesus can be tempted certainly any of us can. Temptation is part of being human. Break down Christ's three temptations:

  • Change a stone to bread: what would this be like for a youth? For Christ, it was taking an easy way out - just use his powers to abate his hunger. What easy ways out do young people take? Having a friend write a school paper for them? Borrowing money with no intention of repaying?
  • Jump off a rooftop ... the angels will catch you and everyone will know how great you are. Christ replies: "Thou shall not tempt the Lord, thy God". This can lead to an interesting discussion. When do youth tempt others to do something wrong that appears advantageous?
  • Satan says to Jesus: worship me and I will give you everything - the world. This is like the gangs existent amongst some teenagers. The gangs promise - join and follow us and you will have friends and everything you could ever want. So tempting. Christ's response to Satan is: "Leave me Satan" ... I will no longer discuss any matters with you.

  • Click: Temptation Activity and then scroll down to the letters dated February 4th, 5th and 10th . How are the temptations of Chihaysu similar to those brought to Jesus? One easy answer is: both Jesus and Chihaysu are in a desert wilderness praying and meditating alone. Now ask: how are they different? The temptations of Chihaysu ... are they temptations or is this simply human nature? Chihaysu, like Christ, has three temptations. Do our youth have similar thoughts and challenges?

    Teachings from the Story: Are you up to it?

    Read the story of Dustin recorded on May 5th. Dustin tries to persuade his fellow Mountain Youth that there is a better way to go about change than to seek revenge. He calls out, "God, protect Caperston and its people and forgive my fellow mountain brothers..." Dustin pays for this expression of faith with his life. Where does he get the strength to do so?

    Now read Acts Chapter Seven. A young man named Steven is speaking not with young people but with the high priest of Jerusalem. Steven speaks knowledgeably and wisely. He acknowledges the presence and guidance of God over history and for himself. Like Dustin he pays for his faithfulness with his life. A man Saul, later to be known as Paul observes the scene taking place.

    How are these events reported about Dustin's life and Steven's life different and how are they similar? One difference is the audience. A second difference is the message shared. A similarity is the God-given courage they each demonstrate.

    To what degree do you, youth, have such courage?

    Please remember that the world of Earth and the world of Caperston are parallel universes and it is expected that there will be similarities in events taking place.

    Click: Are You Up to It? and scroll down to May 5th to read the story of Dustin.

    More teachings from the story to come soon. Please click:

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