I thought I was young until I talked to someone born in 2003 … and realised that I was 30 (but still 29) this year. I remember the days when I was 20 … and when I blinked, I was suddenly teleported to the year 2023.
Anyway, this millennial happened to turn up at Thir.st Youth Nights – a monthly event led by a group of Gen Zs, and found the event to be pretty eye-opening.
It started with some icebreakers, followed by a wonderful worship session before delving into the main course – a panel of young student leaders sharing experiences about how being a Christian in their schools or leading student ministries were like. This was followed by a breakout group session.
To be honest, some of the stories they shared were rough (I’ll get to them more in detail below). But as rough as the were, it also showed the conviction they had to live their lives for God. Truly inspiring.
3 observations when watching youths pray
1. Tough times build tough people
It’s not fun or easy to be a young Christian in this era where – let’s be honest – it’s easier and more entertaining to stand on the side that pokes fun of the holy-moly-Jesus-believers even if they weren’t preaching at me.
One of the panellists shared that her classmates spread rumours about her, simply because she identified as a Christian, and it got so bad that she went to the washroom to cry alone.
Also, the biggest word that popped up on screen for a Slido poll was “judgement” when the event attendees were asked what they struggled with the most when it comes to praying in school.
The fear that others might judge their faith. The fear of being seen as weird. The fear of being mocked. The fear of getting scolded or complained about.
These fears are not unfounded. Perhaps they have already experienced it for themselves. Perhaps they have seen others experiencing it.
But did these students give up on their faith even though they were socially and culturally ostracised or pressured? No. There has to be a reason why anyone would pick a side that looks like it’s going to post-postmodern culture jail.
One thing for sure is that they’ve seen God, Jesus Himself, experience it too – and He said these words that come as an assurance: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
These people still chose the side where bad eggs get thrown at to make a point. Or maybe it’s not so much to make a point, but simply because they truly believe that there’s something more to it – because they did truly experience something for themselves that they couldn’t deny?
2. Something feels different here
The day this event was held was the same day I got to know about what happened in Asbury University that had already been going on for seven days since it started. If you’ve seen the videos going around on TikTok or Instagram, you’d know that perhaps there was something special going on there.
Revival for their schools and community has always been a constant thing on the hearts of these youths. From the Slido poll, the desire to see a revival of God’s love, as well as people coming to repentance and worship, knowing who God is and experiencing Him for themselves, were the most popular responses.
And I thought it was great to see that there’s such a unity in what they were passionate for, a passion that surpassed all denominations and churches. That’s the Kingdom of God right there, isn’t it?
It was a great follow up from the earlier accounts I read about Asbury that day as I heard how these bunch of local youths have also witnessed God moving powerfully in their schools.
And it reminded me that our faith is as supernatural as it is physical, and things are going to get real interesting when the world sees more of that in the days to come.
Can God really do miracles? Does God really speak to you? Will God really show up?
These are questions many people ask, whether you’re a Christian or not. But what I do know is that if we’re brave enough seek God and go where He calls us to, He will move.
3. Wow, so bold, much guts
This meme is probably used more by Millennials than Gen-Zs but it does sum up what I think of this movement. Very daring. From a scale of 1 to 10, how gutsy would I be to walk up to a stranger to strike up a conversation that ended in prayer like they did?
One of the panellists shared that she had a prompting from God to pray for her teacher in front of the classroom. If I was her, I might potentially have gotten cold feet. But for her, despite the fear and awkwardness, she went ahead and did it anyway.
Her teacher broke down in tears because that specific prayer touched her heart. Talk about a God-orchestrated perfect timing.
You’ve probably heard of this pop culture phrase from Spiderman before: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
But in this case, what I saw was: “With great responsibility (to steward that prompting well), comes great power (when God does His thing).”
It is heartening to know this, that there are people who would go all out to love people for their God even if it made them look or feel awkward. Thanks for the inspiration y’all, I’ll remember it the next time I encounter something like this.
I left the event feeling quite pleasantly surprised and inspired, hungry and thirsty for more. (Literally too, as we went for supper after that and continued our conversations.)
As we walked, I realised that what I was staring at was the next generation of people who took God very seriously. And that’s great to know that God’s legacy always continues on whatever time and space or era we may be in.
Sessions like this give those God filled stories a platform to show God’s light and not remain hidden. The next one’s coming up on March 16, so see y’all there if you’re curious about the good stuff going on in this place.
Shine on, friends.
- What does revival mean to you?
- Are people seeing God through your life?
- When was the last time you worshipped and repented before God?