Praying with children
Praying with children can be a very exciting thing to undertake within the church. This can be especially so when done in a creative and fun way. It can also appeal to people of all ages, drawing the church together.
Here are some simple examples:
Sit the children in a circle and start by praying for something beginning with the letter 'A', then ask each child, in turn, to pray for something beginning with the next letter of the alphabet. This can be used for prayers of thanks or prayers for others.
Pray a short prayer or line of a prayer out loud. Pause and ask the children to repeat that prayer or phrase. The children can work as a group to write these prayers before they are used.
Prepare large sheets of paper and coloured paints. Each person places a hand print on the paper, then encourage the group to pray for individuals and their concerns as you move around the sheet.
If you wait for the prints to dry, you could have the children place another hand print over the dry prints as you pray for one another.
The letters of SPOON can be used as a framework for prayer:
S - saying sorry
P - praise
O - others
O - ourselves
N - needs
Children can be encouraged to use the Spoon Prayer for their prayers at home too.
Praying with young people
What influences do young people have on their lives? There are many, with the importance of music, image, instant communication demonstrated in the popularity of iPods, X-box, mp3 players, Playstation, camera phones etc. When thinking about praying with young people we do so in this context.
CD Prayer Wall
On a wall or piece of wood, stick a number of empty CD cases or wallets. Provide pieces of paper that fit these cases and encourage people to write prayers and put them on the wall. Make this a regular part of your activity and you will soon get into the habit of using it.
You need a large red card heart and clear medical plasters. Ask each person to think about someone they know who needs God's healing touch, then they write the name on the plaster before sticking it onto the heart. Once all the plasters are in place, pray a general prayer, lifting them all to God.
Mobile Phone Prayers
Print a picture of a mobile phone on card, big enough for people to write a message on the screen. Invite people to write their prayers on a card phone. Huddle the group together and ask everyone to throw their phones in the air and catch someone else's - these can be taken home for future prayer.
Have lots of directions written on card and placed on the floor around a room. Play some youth friendly worship music and when the music stops, each person goes to a card and does what is written on it. For example: thank God for our family; ask God to be with the person closest to you now; be still; thank God for the best thing that has happened this week; ask God to be with anyone you know who is ill.
Adapted from a Pray Without Ceasing Resource Booklet produced by the Oxford and Leicester District