Archive for Creative Prayer
– A4 Paper & pens
– A flowing river
What to do
People write down things they want to let go of. This could be a number of things such as regrets they are holding onto, people or situations they overly worried about, or a goodbye to someone who has died.
Once this has been written, make a boat out of the paper (click here for instructions).
Take it to a river, and voilà – a simple but potentially powerful act to symbolise letting these things go. For a Christian audience, the focus could be on letting them go and trusting God with them. Or the letters could be written to ask for forgiveness from God for things.
Perhaps you could read a poem or Bible verses, or say a prayer as the boats float away.
The story behind this lil idea
I recently heard some sad news about a friend of mine. I found it difficult to let go of worrying about the situation and to not carry it. This idea suddenly popped into my head on the way back from church after I had asked for prayer for the situation and that I would be able to let it go. In my job as a youth worker in schools I listen to a lot of young people who have difficult and chaotic lives. So I used this idea as an individual act of worship by writing a letter and making a boat out of it for my friend, but also for each of the young people that I need to make sure I don’t carry. I think I will do this from time to time to make sure I let these things go and trust God with them.
Some of what I wrote in the letters the young people had told me in confidence. So I did not write any names in it, or anything that they would be able to be identified from. Perhaps being overly cautious, I stuck another piece of plain paper over each letter before I made it into a boat so no writing was visible – just in case!
I’m not sure it’s very eco friendly to be putting paper in rivers! I should look this up sometime and perhaps use eco friendly bio degradable paper. You may want to consider this if you are making more than a few boats.
My final consideration is that the swans thought that I was bringing them some lunch. In future I hope not to disappoint by providing them with something a bit more nutritious as a side order for the paper boats.
Things needed: blank jigsaw, or jigsaw with picture of Jesus on, pens.
Buy a blank jigsaw, or make your own from a thick piece of card using a jigsaw template. If using the blank one you could ask people to write or draw prayers on a piece, and then pray for others requests as the jigsaw is constructed by the group.
Or alternatively you could print a picture of Jesus or the cross on the jigsaw, people could draw or write confessions on the back of a piece, and add it the jigsaw.
One of the pitfalls of alternative worship is it often more individually focussed. Putting the jigsaw together as a group brings in a lovely communal aspect to the activity. When God made the world he remarked at the end of most days that ‘it was good’. However, after the whole of creation was finished, it was only in this completeness that God thought it was ‘very good’. As human beings made in the image of a trinitarian God it is good for us to worship in community with others (Smail 2005). When we are all together, playing our part in the jigsaw that is church – I feel sure that God would see it as ‘very good’.
If you haven’t heard of Pip Wilson’s Blob drawings, then you’re in for a treat. The most famous one is probably the blob tree which features a scene of different blobs all doing different things:
People can look at the picture and find a blob which represents their answers to questions such as ‘how do you feel today?’. For example someone may answer that they feel great, on top of the world and are therefore the blob at the top. This kind of thing is great for the beginning of a weekend away. Pip has produced a number of different books with different pictures in (I think they are quite expensive to buy though – you could always have a go at drawing your own!).
I recently took part in a youth festival called SOLID, where I spent time at the prayer tent. I took with me a giant version of the blob tree:
I had some really great conversations based on the blob scenes. I explained the tree to them, and generally asked people three questions:
– How are you feeling today?
– How are you feeling in relation to God?
– Where would you like to be with God?
Then if people wanted to they could write on a piece of paper shaped like a speech bubble their answer to the last 2 questions, and stick this on the scene. If they were still keen they could draw their own blob and add it to the ‘Blob SOLID’ scene.
It seemed to go down really well. Apart from the fact that I sat outside in the sun all day on the hottest day of the year which resulted in me getting heat stroke! It was all worth it though.
I haven’t used this idea, and it’s not totally formed yet, but thought I’d share it with you anyway!
Who doesn’t remember making one of these oragami quiz/game things in boring lessons at school? I seem to remember them being particularly good for predicting who you would end up marrying, whilst at the same time being exceptionally excellent at getting that particular fact so very wrong…
Anyway, how about a bit of reclaiming of this old school time filler, as a creative prayer resource (click here for instructions on making/using it). You could either make them beforehand with prayer requests already inside them, or you could get people to make them during a session and fill in their own, or the groups prayer requests. People then play the game in twos and pray for the request they end up landing on. They then take it home with them and continue to use it for prayer during the following week.
Alternatively you could be used in a response time where people write their thoughts, or commitments to actions in the spaces e.g. people could write in things like: ask a random person if you can pray for them today, bless someone financially today, make someone laugh. Then each day they play the game and try to do the thing it lands on.
Or you could write Bible verses in them e.g. verses relating to our identity in God and do something with that.
Basically, you can use it however you like really in a variety of different setting. Let me know how you get on with it if you do use it, I’d be interested to know.
Things Needed: Card/thick paper, projector if you want to use the video clip.
This is pretty cheesetastic, but you’ve gota have a bit of cheese once in a while. So Faithbook, basically it’s like Facebook, but on it’s on paper and can be used as a prayer tool.
I used this at a youth group one evening when we were talking about prayer. I got them to fill in their name, and draw on their profile picture. They then filled in the ‘mutual friends’ column as they prayed for their Christian friends, followed by the ‘friend’ section for other people who aren’t Christians. I then asked them to take this home and use the status update boxes to chat to God about whatever is on their heart for that day.
We also watched the clip from my previous post ‘videos’ which is about praying in all circumstances.
To download Faithbook, click here.
Thanks to Viz-a-viz Innovation team for the original Faithbook idea.