Pray from Isolation to Connection.
Take a minute. Breathe. Think back to your teenage years. What were the most important things in your life? Friends? School? Sports? Band? Show Choir? Dating Relationships? Clubs? Youth Groups? These were what defined you; what breathed life into your stressed lungs; what held constant in the chaos; as long as they were in place, all was well.
The worst times for you were probably the times when you were grounded from those pivotal pieces of your life because parts of your identity were just…gone. You cursed your parents for grounding you; sought out someone to take the blame and frequently questioned when your grounding was up because each day, you could feel your identity shaking more.
That, my friends, is where our students are living each day right now: grounded without committing the crime. With little notice, they lost their teammates, seasons, teachers, youth groups, dances, Senior years, friends, and everything that held their identity all at once. They are spending the majority of their time in their rooms binge-watching the latest show, ignoring hard emotions and sleeping their boredom away.
Yes, we are living in the 21st Century and most students are graced with media that connects them to their peers but with the ending of each call, they are left merely with themselves…without identity and they are isolated once again. We are also finding mere quarters of the students that used to regularly attend youth groups, Campus Life and City Life to be engaging in new online forums: The other majority slipping through the cracks of the few programs that are progressively able to change with the times.
Pray for these students. Pray for the courage to reach out and stay involved in programs that still exist. Pray for the energy to get up and move. Pray for connection with parents and siblings. Pray healthy coping mechanisms over their grief, stress and isolation. Pray for God to be the anchor of their identity — steady in an ever chaotic storm.