I wish someone would have hammered it into me that prayer needed to be the first foundation I laid in my youth ministry.
As I started youth ministry prayer was something that started meetings and ended meetings. It was something that started a teaching time and ended a teaching time. It was something that started a small group and ended a small group. It was something that started a leaders meeting and ended a leaders meeting.
Prayer wasn't a part of my ministry plan. I had parents to contact. I had students to meet with. I had programs to run. I had trips to plan. I had to create a disciplemaking pathway. I had to prepare lessons. I had to find relevant movie clips. I had to create PowerPoint slide shows to make my messages more relevant. I had to fill out room set up requests. I had to answer email (well, not when I first started :)). I had to answer voice messages. I had to keep the parents informed. I had to report to my boss. I had to attend trainings in the city. I had train my volunteers. I had to build relationships with other paid staff members. I had to build a relationship with my administrative assistant. I had to make sure the lights were turned out when I left the building. I had to make sure all the doors were locked. I had to make sure every student got picked up. I had to make sure that the rooms were ready for the meeting the next morning.
And that's not even 1/20th of what I had to do.
Sure I had to do all that and more...but as I began to "do" my job I realized that there was a big...BIG difference between saying prayers as I did my ministry and making prayer part of my ministry.