Here is a free youth group lesson on quiet time, based on James 4: 8-10.
The lesson helps students learn that spending time with God can be the best part of your day – so be creative!
-Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
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Youth Group Lesson on Quiet Time
Bible: James 4: 8-10
Bottom Line: Spending time with God can be the best part of your day – so be creative!
Paper plate for each student
Pen for each student
Set up a table in the room with Post-it notes (broken into small stacks) and pens.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
I want you to pick out the most stressful day over the past few weeks that you’ve had.
Can you think of one? Yup, I can too.
Now, here is what I want you to do: (Give each person a paper plate and a pencil/pen).
On this paper plate, draw a clock face, and no, not a digital one.
Then, once you’ve drawn the clock, I want you to fill in what you did for each minute of that most stressful day that you thought of just a minute ago.
(Give students 5-10 minutes to complete the activity)
Now, get in groups of 2-3 people and choose one of your clocks to act out in less than 25 seconds – being sure to act out every single activity that was listed.
I will give you 5 minutes to work on your stressful day reenactment.
(Gather the groups together and tell the group to be sure to try to guess as many activities in each groups’ day as possible.)
This should lead to everyone being stressed out!
TEACH – QUIET TIME
Raise your hand if you are now officially stressed out.
Let’s face it: The stress that you face each day is real, isn’t it?
(Tell a personal story from when you were a teenager – how the stress, pace and technology (or lack thereof) made life very different.)
But, things today are different.
The pace is different.
How many times this week have you felt stressed, overloaded, or overwhelmed?
Your schedules are crazy.
The stress is real.
How in the world could you add one more thing to your schedule?
And yet, how many of you listed time alone with God as one of the activities on your calendar?
Here’s the thing: God doesn’t want you to feel guilty if he wasn’t on your schedule.
He wants to offer you rest and peace.
And believe it or not, spending time with God, or as some people call it, a ‘quiet time’ is probably the only thing in this life that can help with the stress and pressure that we all feel.
Read James 4: 8-10.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
First, God cares about what is going on in your life.
God cares about those things that you felt were too small or even dumb to list on your clock.
He is with you in every single thing that you do.
God is there in the midst of the stress.
What were some of the emotions that this scripture lists?
Weeping, grieving, joy, and laughter: God WANTS to be there with you in it.
And his request is simple: Draw near to Him, and he will draw near to you.
It really is as simple as that: Take a step to God, and he will take a step to you.
You may think: “I don’t know how to spend time with God”.
Hopefully today, you will see that it isn’t fancy or difficult.
Spending time with God is not meant to be another stress in your life.
He wants to help you live with joy and freedom.
Today, we are going to do a very simple ‘drawing near to God’ activity.
(Point out the Post-it notes and pens on the table.)
We are going to do a ‘Stress Dump’ and here is how this works:
You will take a stack of Post-it notes and a pen.
Find a quiet place and sit in this room – free of distractions.
Write out all of the things that you brought with you today that are stressing you out.
I will guide you with some ‘stressors’ that you can also reflect on in your quiet time.
As you write these stresses down, just talk to God about how these things are weighing on you.
He really does want to hear.
Please write one thing per Post-it and feel free to get up and get more if needed.
Leader: Give students about 5 minutes in silence or play some quiet music. (Suggestion: “Rest Easy” by Audio Adrenaline).
Then, begin with prompts of things to write down such as:
Decisions to make
Worries about my faith
(Give students about 10-15 minutes to write their worries and offer more Post-its.)
Now, look at your stack of Post-its.
Even in this simple act, you drew near to God.
You poured your heart and worries out to him.
And here is the amazing thing: God doesn’t want you to bear all of this without him.
And he certainly doesn’t want you to leave this room with a stack full of worries and stress.
Now, go and put your Post-its around the room, wherever you want.
As you place your Post-it, let this be a physical act of drawing near to God and giving him your worries.
Does it mean that these things will magically go away?
But, what it does mean is that God is with you and you are drawing near to him.
Sometimes the sheer act of voicing how we are feeling to God can make all of the difference.
So, get your stack and take some more prayerful time of giving these worries to God.
Put the Post-it there and leave, knowing that God is with you in all of these things, but also look around the room and know that you are not alone in your stress.
(Give students a few minutes to post their Post-its, and then, direct them to walk around the room and pray for one another.)
Ask God to be with the person who wrote each worry.
Resist the urge to try to guess who wrote what, because you will miss the joy of praying for one another.
(Give students 5 minutes before they go to their small groups to read the Post-its on the walls prayerfully.)
We just spent time with God.
Quiet time with God as a group.
For some of you, this might be mind-blowing: YOU JUST SPENT TIME WITH GOD!!
Let that sink in for a minute.
The God of the universe wants to hear from you.
He can handle every single worry and stressor on this wall.
And, He can give you His strength to face them and even grow closer to Him in the process.
There are amazing things that happen when you spend time with God.
And there is no ‘one’ or ‘right’ way for you to spend time with God.
It will and should look different for every single one of us.
There are so many other ways that you can spend time with God doing things that you enjoy.
(Share a personal way that you spend time with God that is creative or one that you have heard from others such as listening to music, journaling, singing, or even taking photos.
Close the teaching in a time of prayer, thanking God for drawing near to us, and praying for the prayers on the wall.)
Before you leave, walk around the room once more and choose 4 or 5 of the Post-its from the wall and commit to pray for these worries this week.
Put this Post-it somewhere in your room or your locker: somewhere it can remind you to pray.
Sometimes, having a quiet time is as simple as reminding ourselves to pray.
This will give you a visual reminder to pray not only for your worries, but for others.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Were you surprised at how many worries and stresses there were in this group and how did that make you feel?
Reflect on this statement: Spending time with God is not meant to be a burden.
How could you take the time this week to spend time with God?
What are the things that get in the way of spending time with God and how can we encourage each other with these?
How might spending time with God affect your life in a positive way?
Create a list together of ways that you could creatively spend time with God.
How can we help one another to keep this time with God?
Commit to pray for one another and remind one another to spend time with God.
Give each student a stack of Post-it notes to take home and try this activity in their room.
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