Author Archives: Shannon Kelly

The Book is Being Released in March!

God of My HeartA deep thank you to the youth who contributed to this amazing book.  It is your words, your feelings, your art, your gift to the world that has made this book what it is.  It is our hope that this book will be used by youth, youth leaders, young adults, church leaders, and beyond.

From the back of the book…
“This is an honest book, a book of prayers written by youth, for youth.  In their own words, young people give voice not only to their faith, but also to their fear, hope, failings, regret, longing, joy and passion.

“Even better, in this new version of God of My Heart, compilers and authors Connie Wlaschin and The Rev. Shannon Kelly offer helps on the road to prayer: the nuts and bolts of prayer, suggested ways to pray, how to incorporate prayer into the church year, how to pray in all the places that life takes us…and all of it in a down-to-earth, practical language.

“Whether you are a teenager longing to draw closer to God, a young adult struggling with prayer, an adult wanting to understand young people’s needs and hopes, or a youth leader looking for creative ways to engage your group members in prayer, this book is an invaluable resource.”

You can find it at Church Publishing and at Amazon.

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Expression, not Perfection

Over the last few months, as I have been working on this project, I’ve heard from a number of youth and youth leaders who express concern that their prayers and artwork won’t be “good enough.” That they didn’t know if their grammar or form or drawings would be what we are looking for in this project.

We don’t want a “perfect” prayer or artwork. We’re not looking for correct grammar or punctuation.  We’re not looking for the perfect piece of art.  We’re not looking for profound insights or completely formed theology.

We are looking for honest expression.  We are looking for your words and images that express who you are and who God is for you in your life right now.

Ten Minute Challenge
Take 10 minutes during your day, or at the end of your next youth group, or at the beginning of your next meeting and create a prayer. Right now, in the next 10 minutes, write a prayer.  Don’t think about what you are writing or drawing.

If you want to give structure to your 10 minutes, you can do something like this.

  • Take one minute to be silent.
  • After one minute, write for five minutes. Write anything and everything that comes to mind. Direct your writing to God and see what happens.
  • After five minutes of writing stop and read what you read.
  • Take the next few minutes to finish up in whatever way you need to.

Offer up your prayer either silently or out loud.

We would love to see your prayers!


What Should I Write, What Should I Pray?

Over the last few days, I’ve gotten many comments and questions from people who are interested in writing or drawing a prayer for the submission.  “What should I write about,” or “I’m not sure what kind of prayer it should be.”  I totally get that.  Where do you start? What should be your focus? How do you choose which direction to go?

Here are a few things to think about and some ideas that might help you discern.

Write what is on your heart. Notice what is joyful in your life. Notice what is weighing you down.  Pay attention to what is going on in your heart, and write from your heart.  Your heart is a great guide to where your passions, cares, worries, and concerns are in your life.  Pay attention to that.  Are you thanking God for the joys? Are you asking God to be present and care for you?  Are you worried and concerned and need to know that God is near?

Listen for the still, small voice. Sit in silence and let it wash over you.  You could be in a park, in the middle of lunch, or in the quiet of your room.  It does not matter what is around you, it only matters that you, yourself, are silent.  Sit in that silence and notice the things that come to mind.  They may be distractions, and if they are, simply acknowledge that they are there, and put them aside.  Those things that come to mind may also be where God is leading you (only you would know the difference.) If that is where God is leading you, pay attention and stay in the moment. Listen to that still, small voice.

Conversation with God. Imagine you were having a conversation with God. Go for a walk, sit in your favorite place, be somewhere you feel comfortable – and then have a conversation with God and see what comes up for you.  You can do this by really talking to God, you can do this by writing a letter or in a journal, you can do this through meditation.  However you picture talking with God, go do it and see where your conversation goes.

There is no right or wrong way to write a prayer.  There is no right or wrong way to talk to God.  Prayer is a conversation, it is listening for that still, small voice, and it is paying attention to what your heart is saying. Be yourself, for that is who God created you to be. AND God made you in God’s own image.


New Resource and Submissions Deadline Extended

We have had many inquiries about possibly extending the deadline for submitting prayers and artwork since it is summer.  You will be pleased to know that the deadline has been extended to September 30, 2012!  Please submit your prayers and artwork no later than this date.

We would love to hear from a wide representation of the church.  We would love to hear from a whole youth group! We would love to hear from a group of friends who get together and write or draw a prayer for the book. We would love to hear prayers written in Spanish!

To help, we have created a session titled Writing Prayers with Youth which you can easily lead with your small group, youth group, or use yourself as a guide to writing prayer.  It outlines the various forms of prayer and gives some pointers, ideas, and instructions.  You can download Writing Prayers with Youth and if you have any questions, please contact The Rev. Shannon Kelly at shannon@episcoformation.org.


Share Your Prayer and Artwork with the World!

God of My Heart: A Prayer Book for Youth is a book of prayers and artwork for youth, by youth. Church Publishing Incorporated is pleased to announce that it will be revising and expanding God of My Heart and is calling for prayer and artwork submissions by high school youth in the Episcopal Church.

God of My Heart is a wonderful resource for use throughout the liturgical year.  Each prayer is categorized seasonally with scripture verses and includes a call to action or change in your life.

We invite youth to submit artwork or prayers for consideration by no later than Tuesday, July 31, 2012 . Check out the Submissions Page for more information and guidelines.