Invited to prepare stations of prayer for fifth graders attending the North Georgia United Methodist Conference retreat at Camp Glisson, we set the following challenges to be met: (1) Stations must be interactive, (2) Stations must be easy to reproduce at home, (3) Stations must involve movement. My amazing friend and colleague Kate Morris and I shared the prayer time for the retreat of a total of almost 90 minutes. We split the large group into two smaller groups and rotated in 45-50 minutes. Kate Morris prepared physical prayers using yoga moves making the yoga mat a sacred space and involved lots of movement and in community. Some of her resources included Yoga For Children and Yoga Pretzels. I presented the individual prayer component using God’s gifts of our five senses.
Psalm 141:2 May my prayer be set before you (O God) like incense; may the lifting of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Citrus smells bring joy, particularly lemon, orange and grapefruit can help reduce stress and nervous tension. Research, conducted by Brazilian scientists in 2013, found that people who smelled citrus scents before a stressful test or stressful situation reported lower anxiety levels.
Smelling is the one scent which never decreases as we get older which is why you will be able to recall a memorable scent from childhood into your old age.
Repeat Psalm 141:2 ten times.
Write down ten things that bring you joy. One on each piece of paper. Fold paper in half, then place the ten pieces of paper into the bowl.
Application: A simple smell can change how you feel. Recording joys on paper can change how you feel like counting your blessings. Inviting God into your feelings can change how you feel.
I diffused a good bit of orange essential oil in a smaller room throughout the day. The overflowing bowl of joys were used as a visual element of the worship tablescape on Sunday morning in our worship space.
Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge (safety and security) in Him.
Choose a lollipop. Unwrap and toss your wrapper in the trashcan. Find Psalm 34 in your Bible. Find a place to sit and just read. No biting, chewing, or crunching your lollipop, but read Psalm 34 over and over until you’ve eaten your lollipop until you are to the stick. Throw your stick away in the trashcan.
Application: Quick reads of the Bible are helpful, but long reads help us to enjoy reading the Bible and hearing God’s voice. Reading the Bible regularly help us to know God’s voice among the other voices in our world.
The smallest dumdums possible will still provide a lengthy time of reading Psalm 34 and plenty of selection for kids to make a personal choice.
2 Timothy 1:6 Let me remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
Sit in a chair. Don’t get up, no matter how long it takes.
Wait for someone to come behind you, lay a hand on your shoulder and speak one of the blessings tied to the back of the chair.
After you’ve received a blessing, go to another who is sitting in a chair. Lay a hand on their shoulder and speak one of the blessings tied to the back of the chair.
Application: The hunger for genuine acceptance is common. A blessing provides that much-needed sense of personal acceptance. Jacob in the Bible waited until the Lord blessed Him. Wait for the blessing. Then speak a blessing over someone else.
Various prayers from the Psalms and Aaron’s blessing from Numbers 6 were printed on cards and hung to the back of each chair for the ‘blesser’ to choose. The waiting to be blessed and the voice of someone speaking over someone required patience and indeed ended in delight.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Pick up a copy of the scripture.
Carry it to the stairwell.
Read the personalized scripture aloud as you walk up and down the stairs 3 times…slowly.
Lord, But as for me, I will continue in what I have learned and have become convinced of, because I know those from whom I learned it., and how from infancy I have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make me wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, SO THAT the servant of God (I) may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Application: Prayer is a way to serve God (Luke 2:36-38). Through prayer, we have the opportunity to glorify and praise Him for all He is, all He has done, and all He is doing (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Praying scripture helps us grow to become overcomers.
The echo of the children as they spoke the scripture aloud was to help us focus when our mind tends to wander. And it sounded awesome!
Psalm 101:3 Don’t put any vile thing before your eyes.
Vile = extremely unpleasant; morally bad; wicked; of little worth or value.
Which of these images are you drawn to?
How might you enter into this picture?
How might God enter into this picture for you?
Once you have chosen an image, take the card to the station leader for a picture of you with the image.
Pick up a hand-mirror and find a place to stand/sit. Pray through your face.
Lord, about my eyes….
Lord, about my mouth….
Lord, about my ….
Application: Visual images can prompt us to pray, to think, to feel something, and to respond. Can you choose what you set before your eyes?
Using images from the children’s pack of the The Visual Faith Project was the perfect resource.
Debrief: Ask, “Did you sense a theme with the prayer stations?” Our great God has generously given us all the gifts we need to follow Him and reset our hearts and minds to do and even feel what will please Him which will please us. What was your favorite station? Fingers pointed to all five stations.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mathew 26:41