Downtime: Helping Teenagers Pray Mark Yaconelli
I finished reading this book while having some downtime at a dear friend’s home. And as I finished the book, I reflected on how busy life is. When I asked my youth about their lives, I am overwhelmed by all that they fit into a day and week. Sometimes when I look at my calendar, I wonder how I can get everything done. This book is a gift to those who work with youth and anyone who longs for some prayer time in their lives.
“Downtime is repentance-a returning to our natural dependance on and need for God” (25). This book encourages us to look at our time differently. By encouraging us to “withdraw, keep silence, read, go outside, rest, imagine, create, travel”, and many more things that should be part of our lives, we are given the tools to pray through the things we already do and create space to pray by taking time away. More than fifty prayers and exercises are shared in these pages.
The theme that runs through the book is seeking space apart from our busy-ness and the noise of life to seek God. In reflecting on 1 Kings 19:11-13, “God speaks to Elijah not through the overwhelming spectacles of wind, earthquake, and fire, but through a “sheer silence.” Teenagers live within a culture enamored by power and pomp, a culture that has lost its ability to hear the quiet sacrifices, the hidden creativity, and the humble acts of love that continue to sustain our world. Our young people need the silence of God so that they too might hear God say to the, “Who are you? What are you doing here? What is it you desire in this life?” (107).
With just that snippet of what you’ll find in this book, I would recommend this book to anyone looking to do youth ministry differently. This book offers an opportunity to include quiet prayer time in regular youth ministry nights and retreats. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to include more prayer time in your own life. Although the book is written for youth ministers, there is plenty to be gleaned by anyone who reads it.