“There are as many ways to pray as there are moments in life. Sometimes we seek out a quiet spot and want to be alone, sometimes we look for a friend and want to be together. Sometimes we like a book, sometimes we prefer music. Sometimes we want to sing out with hundreds, sometimes only a whisper with a few. Sometimes we want to say it with words, sometimes with a deep silence.”
–Henri Nouwen, in With Open Hands
This picture is of my daughter Lillian at age 2 and I. We were at worship with confirmation students at camp. What I remember most is seeing her face light up when she was able to help me hold the candle. When the prayer became not just mine but hers too! I had used many prayer stations with older youth but for some reason I had never thought to use them with children. Now it’s one of my favorite ways to teach children to pray. A prayer station is doing an activity while praying or as your prayer. Children learn by experiences, by doing, and through play. Prayer stations can be done as part of worship or as a stand alone opportunity .
Outside my office I have a table where I offer an invitation to pray for both the young and old. Children and adults, together and separate they stop and pray. This is our Advent prayer station. Here we invite children (and adults) to touch, move, and play with the nativity set and books about Jesus’ birth. We also invite them to say a prayer. Maybe they pray to deepen their faith like Mary and Joseph. Maybe they pray for a new baby like Jesus. Maybe they pray a prayer of thanks by touching, moving, and remembering what Jesus did for us. These prayer stations change every few weeks. I love putting them together and seeing people use them. If you are looking for ideas for these hands on prayer stations check out Pinterest. Here are some that I’ve found.
We also do prayer stations in worship. Below is a picture of the pumpkins we passed around during worship and the congregation wrote what they were thankful for. This was done during our Thanksgiving Eve worship service. The other pictures is of some of our younger youth helping to get the prayer station area ready for All Saints Sunday were the congregation would light a candle for their saint.
I would love to hear about what prayer stations you provide as well!
Reflections from other working group members–