Prayers

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Some ideas for creative prayer for children and also adults!

Thank you, sorry, please - teaspoon prayers

Perhaps the most simple way of structuring a prayer is to use the three words thank you, sorry, please. Have a short time of chat and discussion focusing on what the group might want to say to God using these three words. Finally have a short time of open prayer or ask a leader to weave together all the topics mentioned, in a closing prayer. TSP, the first letters of Thank you, Sorry, Please, remind us of the recipe book abbreviation for teaspoon. It can be helpful to give younger children a plastic teaspoon to take home to remind them of these three basic categories for prayer.

 

Three envelopes

Some groups start out by being rather shy about praying out loud.  In this case why not pin up three envelopes labelled   “Thank you"  “Sorry" and “Please" and let group members write their prayers on slips of paper and put them in the appropriate envelope. Don’t forget to check the envelopes from time to time to let everyone share in the joy of the thank you prayers and to find out how the please prayers have been answered.

 

An opening prayer

 

As we gather together

Lord, help us to concentrate on you

As we put aside the things that distract us

Lord, help us to concentrate on you

As we leave behind the things that worry us

Lord, help us to concentrate on you

As we forget about ourselves

Lord, help us to concentrate on you

As we worship you with songs of praise

Lord, help us to concentrate on you

As we listen to stories from your Word

Lord, help us to concentrate on you

As we hear your teaching

Lord, help us to concentrate on you

Amen

 

Prayer Pauses

Many people find it helpful when prayers that are led from the front include short pauses for private prayer.

Father God, we thank you for our church/group and we ask that you will help us to grow closer to each other and closer to you.

Let’s think of the people sitting on either side of us and ask that God will be especially close to them.

PAUSE

We also remember those people who are not with us today, perhaps through illness or because they are on holiday. Let’s remember them in our own prayers now.

PAUSE

Father God, we thank you for the town where we live and we ask that you will help us to spread your love to our friends and neighbours. Let’s think of one or two particular friends and ask that God will help us tell them the Good News. PAUSE

 

Father God, we thank you for the time we have spent together and we ask that you will be with us throughout the rest of the day. Let’s think of the things that we are going to do later today and bring them before God now.

PAUSE

Lord, thank you that you listen to all our prayers spoken and unspoken. Amen.

 

Prayer paper chain

Give each member of the group a strip of coloured paper and encourage them to write a one-line thank you prayer.

Fasten all the strips together to make a festive paper chain that you can hang across your meeting room. If you have a small group you might want to give each person two or three strips of paper or add to the chain week by week. The prayer paper chain is particularly effective on special occasions like Christmas, Easter and church anniversaries when a long chain can be made during an All-Age service.

 

Stars

Cut out enough stars for everyone to have one, or make some star templates and let every member of the group make their own star. Invite everyone to write a prayer on their star. These can be stuck on to a large piece of card as a “sky" background or punch a hole in the top of each star, attach a piece of ribbon and hang them up.

Hand prayers

Give each member of your group a piece of paper and ask them to draw around  and cut out the shape of their own hand. On the four fingers they should write:

  • something to praise God for
  • something to thank God for
  • something for which they would like to ask God’s help
  • something they would like to say sorry about

 

Group members can fold down the fingers on their paper hand if they wish to keep their prayers secret.  This leaves the hand in the thumbs up shape, a reminder that God has heard our prayers. A leader should conclude by praying for the group, leaving pauses for people to bring their own prayers to God silently.

 

Praise poster

In small groups read St Luke 1:26-55 (the Magnificat) and pick out the phrases that describe God. Give each person a sheet of paper and ask them to write out one of the phrases in large, colourful lettering. Paste all the finished phrases on to backing paper under the caption, “We can praise God because."

 

Balloon prayers

Have ready a number of inflated balloons and a selection of permanent marker Invite everyone to suggest one-line thank you prayers and write two or three prayers on each balloon. Hang the balloons in clusters around your church or meeting room.

These could be made as part of a special celebration service.

 

Pop the balloon ( H and S - mind your eyes when popping the balloons.)

Have ready a number of inflated balloons and a selection of permanent marker pens. Invite everyone to name some of the reasons for which we might need to say sorry to God. Write these on the balloons. Then have a few moments of prayer asking God’s forgiveness for all the things we do wrong and including the suggestions written on the balloons. Finally pop the balloons and explain that when we say sorry to God, he not only forgives us, but he also forgets the wrong things we have done and gives us the chance to make a fresh start.

 

Fold a prayer/prayer consequences!

Give everyone a piece of paper and ask them to write a one-line prayer request at the top of the page, when they have done this they should fold over the paper. Then pass the paper to the left. Each person should now have a different piece of paper on which they can write another one-line prayer and fold it over again.  If they wish, they can write the same prayer again. The paper should be passed on several more times until five or six prayers are on the page. Then everyone should stop, unfold and read their paper.  Invite everyone to spend a few moments silently offering these prayers to God.  If there is time,  the prayers can be put  in a pile and everyone offered  the opportunity to take and read a new set of prayers.

 

Wash away wrongs

Ask the group to make a list of things that we do to make God feel sad. Using a water soluble pen, write the ideas on acetate. Once the list is complete, weave all the suggestions into a responsive prayer something like this:

 

For all the times we make you feel sad.    We want to say sorry, Lord!

For the times when we lie and cheat.    We want to say sorry, Lord!

For the times when we are angry and grumpy.  We want to say sorry, Lord!

For the times when we are rude or naughty.  We want to say sorry, Lord!

For the times when we deliberately disobey.  We want to say sorry, Lord!

For the times when we are selfish or unkind.  We want to say sorry, Lord!

For all the wrong things we do.       We want to say sorry, Lord!  Amen.

 

When the prayer is over, put theprayers into a bowl of water and watch the water dissolve the ink. Next, use a cloth to wipe the whole acetate clean to illustrate that when we say sorry to God he forgives us and wipes away our wrongdoing, giving us the opportunity to make a fresh, clean start.

 

 

 

Flame prayers

Cut simple flame shapes from yellow, orange and red paper. Give each person a shape and explain to them that when God’s Holy Spirit first came, it was as if tongues of fire were reaching out and touching all the people. It wasn’t the kind of flame  that  burnt  people,  but more  like  a  flame  that  filled  people  with  the warmth and  love of God, a  flame which  fired up  their hearts with courage and enthusiasm.

God sent his Holy Spirit to help people live as Christians. Today the Holy Spirit can help people pray and praise. He can help people tell others about Jesus.

God sent us his Holy Spirit to dwell in us and to be our special helper. Encourage

everyone  to  use  their  flame  shapes  to  write  a  prayer  thanking  God  for  his wonderful gift.

Stick  the  finished  prayers  onto  a  dark  background  to  look  like  one  big  flame.

Explain that as the Holy Spirit helps us more and more people can be fired up with the love of God. This can also be done by inviting everyone to draw around their hand on yellow, orange or red paper, cutting them out and writing a short prayer on the hand. Stick the finished prayers onto a dark background to look like one big flame.

 

Happy and sad times

You will need a large face that looks happy one way up and sad the other way up.

Show the happy face first and ask what events have made people happy during the last week and make a list of them. Pray about the list or say a one-line thank you prayer for each one. Then turn the face upside down and ask if anything sad or worrying has happened in the past week and make a list of them too.  Perhaps there are people who are ill who need praying for. Pray for this list.

Finish by thanking God that he always knows how we  feel, whether we are happy or sad, and thanking him for being just as close to us in the good times as in the bad.

Perhaps  everyone  could  have  a  happy/sad  face  to  take  home  as  a memory  jogger during prayer time.

 

Thank you for animals

Give out circles of paper and invite everyone to write a prayer about animals on it. Stick the prayer circles onto a large piece of card to look like a caterpillar and stick a smiley face with antennae on the front. You might want to add feet to the circles.

 

Light triumphs (H and S candle flames)

You will need candles that relight themselves (joke candles).

 Light the candle. Explain that Jesus was the light of the world and when he died, the devil thought that he had put out the light. Blow the candle out. As it relights, explain that Jesus’ power was greater than the darkness, and he came back to life.

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overpowered it" (John 1)

This can also be used at alternative Halloween celebrations.

 

Prayer candles (H and S- candle flames)

You will need a candle and card circle for everyone.

Invite everyone to write or draw on their circle things they want to pray for. You might need to suggest events or someone who is ill etc.  Invite them to write something they want to ask God about for themselves. Then insert the candle in its card circle holder. Then real candles can be lit and a general prayer said. Suggest that these prayer candles might be used regularly during prayer time at home.

 

For those who sow the first seeds

Hold up an apple and ask how many seeds there might be inside it. Cut the apple open and count the seeds to discover who guessed correctly. All of these seeds have the potential to grow into an apple tree and produce fruit

of their own. In the parable of the sower, Luke 8:4-15, Jesus teaches that the seed is like God’s Word. In the right situation it will grow and flourish. Ask everyone who first told them about Jesus, who sowed the first seed. Thank

God for all these people, eg: parents, friends, Sunday school leaders, church leaders.

 

Flowers

Place a vase filled with water centrally.  Scatter flowers on the  table  or  floor  around  the  vase.  Explain that the flowers need to be put back in the container with the water in order to live. We need to be in contact with God to be whole and to know life in its fullness. Ask everyone to pray, in silence, for people and situations they know that need the life-giving Spirit given by Jesus. Invite them to place one of the scattered flowers back in the vase as a token of their prayer in silence, or with a brief explanation of their prayer. When the vase is full it can be placed on the altar.

 

Putting the Pieces Together

Materials: 4 A4 size pictures of a child or children in a range of bad situations of war, sadness or poverty. These can often be founds in newspapers and magazines. Each one should be laminated and then cut up into four or five pieces. 

He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds."( Psalm 147:3)The world is not always a good place. Children are often the victims of war, poverty and suffering. They may go through more pain and hurt than most adults ever experience. 

- Take a pile of pieces and put them together

- Think about God’s promise to heal and rebuild even the most damaged of people

- Silently ask God to bring healing and relief to all children who are suffering

 


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