Monday, March 2, 2015

Get creative with your prayer by Jill Kayser

My reading some years ago of the inspiring book “Red Moon Rising” by Greig and Roberts of the “24/7 Prayer Movement” affirmed my belief that prayer can take many forms.  It challenged and encouraged me to think more intentionally and creatively about how I pray with children.
So often when I ask children’s leaders whether they include prayer in their time with children, I discover it is either omitted or the adults pray while the children close their eyes.
Confuscious’ wisdom:  “Tell them and they’ll forget, demonstrate and they’ll remember, involve them and they’ll understand” is worth heeding when praying with children.  Prayer is now always central to any lesson I plan with children and takes all forms: rowdy, interactive, active, quiet, contemplative, creative and more.
Our Christian tradition is rich in written and spoken prayer, but this can sometimes involve too much head and too little heart. Physical actions can really capture the essence of a prayer.
 In her blog “Tactile Prayer – using your body and senses to connect with God”, Lisa Brown suggests that lighting candles, holding prayer beads, or stones, help focus the mind and give substance to our prayers.
Praying through art (see Sybil Macbeth's Praying in Color or Roger Hutchinson's The Painting Table,) offer the artist in all of us a way to put the range of our feelings to paper,” says Lisa.
Kaila Pettigrove, children’s ministry leader at Somervell Presbyterian is involved in creating an all-age prayer room during Lent. “The room will include  multisensory prayer stations, quotes on the wall, candles to light, Post it Notes for intercessory prayer and devotional material (of all reading levels) available.  It’s hoped that eventually we can develop a “prayer gym” with resources and exercises to build up one’s prayer stamina.  The room will be open whenever the church office is open for people to come and spend time in conversation with God,” says Kaila.  
Lisa Brown shares a multi-age activity for creating prayer stones. “We discussed types of prayer: thanksgiving, forgiveness, and petitions. We considered who we might pray for - ourselves, those we love, and the broader world. Then we created our own prayer stones, drawing images on small craft store pebbles. I gave each child a little drawstring bag in which to store their stones.”
Years ago I created a prayer wheel for the kids of our church.  They suggested what types of prayer to list around the wheel and took great delight in spinning the wheel and then responding with the appropriate prayer.
“Tactile, artistic prayers can create meaningful community prayer and focal points. I was particularly inspired by one church's prayers for peace manifested in hundreds of origami cranes, each one lovingly created and then hung in a cascading mobile. At a holiday programme, we created a giant prayer cross, cut from a 7 foot sheet of corrugated cardboard and covered with children's hand prints, each one a prayer,” says Lisa.
Blake with his special prayer blanket
And tactile and creative prayers aren’t only for children.  Adults also respond enthusiastically to the many physical forms of prayer. Members of Waikanae Presbyterian pray as they knit to create beautiful prayer shawls for those in need.  And women of the Karori community of churches create prayer quilts.  My son Blake was a recipient of one of these beautiful creations when he underwent brain surgery.  Each member of the congregation tied Amish knots in strings hanging from the quilt as they prayed for his recovery.
For more ideas on tactile prayer for all God’s children see stories of Lenten prayer stations and prayer journeys on our Kids Friendly website, download our “Kids Friendly Prayer” resource, explore the wonderful world of Pinterest and borrow these books from the Kids Friendly library:  “New ideas for creative prayer” and “Multi-sensory prayer”.
Jill Kayser is the Kids Friendly Coach for the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

No comments:

Post a Comment