On Toby Mac, Prayer, and Youth Ministry

My husband created a workout-song mix on the computer in the garage. We let it play randomly when we’re out there attempting to get fit. Last time I was working out, the song Irene by Toby Mac came on. I’m not a big Toby Mac fan, but I’ve always kinda liked that song. It’s about a teenage girl who feels abandoned when she has to drop out of school to raise her baby on her own. If I remember correctly, the song was inspired by an actual young lady in similar circumstances who turned to God to be the Father that both she and her little baby desperately needed.

For some reason, when the song came on this time, my heart broke. I dropped my barbell on the floor, fell to my knees and began to pray.

My husband is going into youth ministry. How many Irenes are there in the neighborhood around the church? How many teenage girls are looking to everything but God to find their value? How many feel confused, abandoned, hurt, and lost? How many are carrying the crushing weight of their mistakes, with no hope of escape?

In my garage that day I prayed that God would help us find those girls—that He would use me to show them who He is—that they would find themselves safe in His arms—that they would know how precious and beautiful they are in His eyes.

I don’t mean to downplay the ministry to the amazing group of kids already in the church. Finding out who they are and investing in them is the first order of business. Still, for me, prayer is typically either conversational or intentional and disciplined. It is pretty rare that I spontaneously burst into passionate prayer (song or no song) for people I don’t know. I can’t help but think that God may be doing something in my heart…

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2 thoughts on “On Toby Mac, Prayer, and Youth Ministry”

  1. It does sound like God is continuing to do something of a preparation work in your heart for those you will be encountering! Keep up the workout, the praying, and yes, even the estactic dancing!!

    1. Marla – May it never be! 🙂 It would take an audible voice and lightning bolt experience for me to ever participate in any kind of expressive dance. I’ll be friends with ecstatic dancers, but that is so not anything I could pull off naturally, even as an expression of joy before God.
      The more awestruck, in love, or impressed I am, the more likely I am to get quiet and still. It just ain’t in me!

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