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7th December - Young people and teenagers

Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

1 Timothy 4:12

I don't always feel excluded in church, but it does often feel like it not really my place. It seems to belong to the old people, and although they seem pleased to see me, its like they are welcoming me into their place, rather than it being my place too, if you see what I mean?

When we first moved to the church we're at now, when my mum became the vicar, I was told by two different people in the first few weeks to move because I was sitting in their seat.

And although churches tend to have a nice atmosphere, they can sometimes feel TOO spacious. It can almost feel oppressive, being in such a big space. When we were doing the prayer experiment blog, one of the things I liked best was making a small prayer den out of a pop up tent. That felt really cosy and relaxing, and it was MY space.

I also don't like being told to stand and sit, or being made to join in, at church. I spend all week at school being told where to go and what to do by grown ups. Church shouldn't just be more of the same.

Noah Threlfall-Holmes is co-author of the Teenage Prayer Experiment Notebook (SPCK, to be published in April 2015), and the associated Teenage Prayer Experiment blog

Daily prayer

Dear God, please look after everyone in the world, and help everyone feel welcome in your churches. Please help grown ups to listen to children, and not to be cruel to them. You were a child my age too, once: please help the churches to see that children are just as much a part of them as the old people.

Amen

Lord, in this time of Advent open our hearts to those who feel excluded from Your church.
Help us draw in those on the margins and place them in the centre of our family.

Amen