It’s been awhile since I’ve written about prayer spaces.
Maybe because I feel like our lives have been a little schizophrenic since our last vacation (the one where we almost didn’t go on vacation because I forgot to check the expiration dates on our children’s passports, the one where I had to look my little girl in her precious eyes and tell her that I’m sorry and that I was disappointed in myself and that we wouldn’t leave her there in Miami alone…thank God for miracles and for grace and for that one lady who saw the grief in my eyes and made an exception for us to continue our magical cruise vacation, even though there was no reason we should have stepped one foot on that ship without birth certificates and valid passports).
And, we’ve had a lot going on at our church.
Incredibly good things.
Wonderful seasons of “aha” this is making a lot of sense.
Junior high ministry is exploding in healthy ways.
Saturday night church is on fire.
Weekend ministry is beautifully chaotic and relational.
I could stay busy all night and all day–thankfully I’m rescued by our volunteer leaders who would never let me do that in a million years.
And at home, Coy is on a mission to fix all that is broken…
He painted the entire house over our Christmas vacation and last night we painted exactly one half of each daughters room.
Some days I get to write or speak or think on different things.
I’m learning how to manage that well. But it takes some time to figure out what that balance looks like for me.
And then there’s the unexpected funeral, the need for a doctor’s appointment, a birthday that needs planning, and an overwhelming desire to organize my house and my office via the “I don’t care where it goes but it can’t stay here” method.
There are days, when I feel like it would be easier to give everything away.
One cup for me.
One cup for you.
Repeat with clothes, things, books, everything.
So yeah, prayer.
Necessary at this frenetic pace.
It’s the easiest thing to throw out unintentionally.
And the thing that we can’t afford to live without.
It’s why I try not to forget our teenagers to pray, or at least to consider how it
might look and feel different than their presumptions.
Here’s what we’re doing this Wednesday in our junior high ministry.
I’ve come up with a few new ones to add to the mix.
One based on this video that literally brought me to tears.
I couldn’t help but think about how this could be translated
in a ministry context with both guys and girls. I was
really thankful that one of our leaders forwarded it to me.
It’s the inspiration for the “selfie” space described below.
Each space (just click the title) is linked to a PDF poster that we print as instructions.
We also add in some art spaces each month. I’ll post those when we figure out what
we are doing in that department (we’ve got a whole day to prepare!).
Prepare a background with good lighting for selfies
Some students may not have cell phones (get a few leaders with phones to take care of the ones who need a camera)
Pick a hashtag (we are going to use #wonderfullymade
Ask the students to take a selfie capturing the thing that makes them unique (instead of trying to capture the pressures of our society). Have them post it to social media with a caption that talks about being thankful for what makes them unique.
*In the future, I’d like to do this as an experience with parents and teenagers. We can print them, hang them, and write sticky notes of encouragement around the room. So many great options here!
Space To Rest
Pillows on the floor.
A box or container
Index Cards or scrap paper
Students can write down prayers and symboliccally give
them to Jesus by putting letting them go from their hands
into a safe place. They are then invited to rest for
as long as they want to. Laying down, sitting up,
curled up. Some students never leave this spot. And that’s ok.
Butcher Paper (or other colored paper)
Students can make confessions on the wall with markers,
participate in communion led by a volunteer leader (I like for the students to have name tags on during this station so the leader can say the teenagers name as they receive the elements.)
Then they can go back to their confession and use white-out to cover up what they wrote symbolizing God’s grace and forgiveness.
String yarn or lightweight rope in an area of your space.
Provide clothes pins.
Small Paper Bags
Battery Operated Tea Lights (1 per student)- This is optional
Scrapbook paper cut up into small sections big enough to write a few words.
Everyone is given some paper and a pen. They can speak up to God on behalf of those who need prayer, writing specific requests, names, and heart cries down. Once they have written their prayers they can place them in a bag with a battery operated tea-light and hang it on the line.
It makes a beautiful scene with or without the lights.
Pitchers of Water
Pour a drink of water. Think about how God can satisfy the hungers of your soul. Before you take your first sip, whisper for God to help you with whatever it is that’s holding you back.
Sea Shells (real or fake, try Hobby Lobby or Oriental Trading)
Students give thanks by writing what they are thankful for on the shells. You can put a noise machine on the ocean setting in the space or use an ocean white noise track on someone’s phone.
Large rocks (you can get a bag at a home improvement store for less than $10)
A few backpacks full of rocks (make them heavy but not too heavy, some 6th graders weigh less than 60 lbs)
We usually don’t do this space on the same night that we do the “confess” space but if you have a large group it’s nice to have another minimal prep option for the students to be able to spread out better. Everyone starts by picking up a heavy bag and carrying it around the room for a little while. When they return, they pick up a rock from the table and write the things that they’d like to give to Jesus.
A piano (baby grand is idea for writing space)
Butcher Paper or Bulletin Board paper
Students write their own worship psalms as a pianist plays and/or sings.