I’ve been reading Mark Yaconelli’s book, Downtime – Helping Teenagers Pray, the last week or so and I’m really loving what he has to say on the topic. One of Yaconelli’s passions is helping teens slow down and actually focus on God. It’s no secret that kids are surrounded with media, entertainment, sound, images, bombarded with a plethora of devices and voices. It’s become so ingrained that it’s typical for a teen to be doing a host of things at once; computer, texting, watching tv, talking on the phone, listening to the iPod, etc. Part of Yaconelli’s premise, and I certainly think he’s on target, is that kids are hungry for intimate, quiet moments with God but don’t know it or don’t know how to make it happen. The first few chapters are all about the basic need in kids for these practices, but the real gold mine is the other seventeen chapters. Each one talks about a contemplative style of prayer and ways to incorporate it and create an environment for it to happen.
Personally, I’m loving it. He’s got a great writing syle so it’s an easy read. On top of that he’s giving some really solid, yet simple ways to bring kids to a deeper prayer time. Living where I do now, with kids absolutely surrounded and overwhelmed with activities, committments, cell phones, and other devices and demands, I’m excited to try out some of these ideas in the coming months and years. Definitely a must read. Check out Youth Specialties website for other books by Yaconelli.