Wednesday nights, after work, we spend two hours at church, mostly with middle school students. Most of the time they are like separate piles of uranium-235, situated just far enough apart that the critical mass reaction hasn’t happened yet, but James Bond would know it is time to leave the secret Soviet weapons factory because the explosion is inevitable.
Some of those nights we get through the entire lesson, even through a few discussion questions (“we can’t hear you unless you raise your hand!”), and then they start furtively checking the time on their cell phones (“I’ve gotta meet my mom right after!”).
It is at this point of the dance that the magic happens. We ask them what their prayer requests are. “What did you say?”, they ask. Prayer requests, we adults answer, reminding them that we don’t make fun of anyone, and we try to remember these things during the coming week. ‘We are a family, and we have to take care of each other’- our weekly mantra.
Here is what was on their minds last week (you can guess which ones weren’t told to us publicly):
- her dad and brother got into a fist fight, so she thinks she’ll be moving soon (high school)
- she didn’t have to wear a back brace after all, but they still have to fix something(middle school)
- my friend’s parent has cancer (several)
- I don’t want to trip on the risers at the choir concert; I’m the first one on the stage (middle school)
- I’ve started looking at porn (high school)
- I want to cut myself (high school)
- I love someone who doesn’t know I’m alive (high school)
- we are moving this weekend, and there is lots of work to do (middle school)
- my grandma died (middle school)
- I am getting bad grades, I’m grounded, my phone’s been taken away (middle school)
I’m just sayin’, these kids need SOMEONE, ANYONE to tell them it will all work out fine.