At PAYH, we strive to plant God’s Word in the hearts of our young men, which He tells us will not return to Him empty.
Regardless of our other activities, every young man in the PAYH program is exposed to the Scripture on a daily basis. On school days, it is taught in the classroom before academic work; on weekends and during school breaks, we gather for study right after breakfast.
We use a variety of curricula in hopes that we can expose them to a broad array of study tools, including Desiring God by John Piper, Experiencing God Day by Day Journal, and RightNow Media (a streaming library of Bible study videos). One Sunday each month, we hold a worship service for the young men and their families on campus during the parents’ monthly visit. The other Sundays, we visit local churches of various denominations in the hope that when they graduate, they will seek out a God-honoring church whose style of worship is best suited for them.
From the day the PAYH was established in 1961, Paul and Glenda believed that memorizing Scripture is the most effective way to plant God’s Word in a young man’s heart and prepare him to resist temptation. As the Psalmist says in Psalm 119:11, “Your Word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” Each week the young men are given a passage of 3-5 verses to memorize for the following week. Scripture memory is an absolute requirement of the program, and numerous incentives and rewards are offered to those who excel in it, such as special off-campus dinners and day trips in which the young men can enjoy activities like fishing, bike riding, playing paintball, and a multitude of other activities.
Prayer is a part of everything we do. The Apostle Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1st Thessalonians 5:16), and we do our best to live up to that standard. Our mentors pray together for the young men before waking them up and at each shift change, as well as praying with them at bedtime. The office staff starts the work day with prayer. We pray before meals, Bible study, and before we leave campus in one of our vehicles. However, how OFTEN we pray is only part of the equation. HOW we pray makes an important difference as well.
By use of the ACTS acrostic (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication), we teach our young men that prayer begins by giving glory to God and recognizing our status as His creation. From there we are to confess any sin that has stood in the way of our relationship with Him and others, and thank Him for the many blessings He has poured out upon us. Then we can take our requests to Him, knowing we can do so with confidence because Philippians 4:6 tells us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” – Matthew 28:19
Our goal for each young man who comes into our care is that he begins a personal relationship with Christ. A young man may change his behavior, break free from the chains of addiction, excel in all he does, and live a long and happy life, but if he does not know Christ, it amounts to nothing. We want to build young men whose lives are transformed and who go out and make more disciples. In doing so, we seek to build God’s Kingdom. We know that Christ is the only true source of hope in this world.
“If I, Paul Anderson, the world’s strongest man cannot make it through one day without Jesus Christ, how can you?”