I was only 17 years old, a junior in high school and my youth pastor asked me to help with the middle school youth group during the week. We met on Tuesday nights in a local elementary school gym. I still remember my first night as a leader.
I was scared. Will they like me? What if I’m not cool enough? What do I have to offer middle schoolers?
I prayed a lot that day.
It was a rainy September evening, so most of the 80 students were in the gym. Everyone was playing games as the music blared in the background. I had met a group of 6th grade boys and we were playing basketball. For some reason (still to this day I’m not sure why) I thought it would be a good idea to pick the kid up by his ankles and hold him upside down. I grabbed him, lifted him up and flipped the little 6th grader over, attempting to grab his ankles.
But instead of his ankles, I only caught hold of the pant leg of his unusually baggy pants. You guessed it. Next thing I know, I’m holding the pants of a 6th grade boy while he laid on the ground. Despite the shrieks of some 7th grade girls, I’m pretty sure no one else noticed.
Needless to say, it was not one of my proudest moments as a youth leader.
I learned two things that night.
1. Don’t pick kids up by their ankles.
2. Prayer works: I could never pray too much.
It turns out that I spent a lot of time hanging out and investing in that little 6th grader. I prayed a lot for him. He is grown up now and thankfully has invested in a good belt. He got married last summer, we still joke about that night, but I spend more time thinking about how God allowed me to be a part of his life. He loves Jesus, serves Jesus and I am confident will continue to do great things for Jesus.
Prayer works. Not just that night when I first stepped into the gym, but every day.
Are you praying? What are you praying for?