Last Sunday at Ashland we did prayer stations for the first time. Overall, I think it went well, kids loved it, most adults were receptive. Some people stayed in their pews, others a little of both. Most walked around telling stories and praying.
We have been working our way through Ephesians in a summer sermon series “A Letter for a Privileged People”. This week’s text Ephesians 2:11-22 focused us on Peace and Reconciliation. The walls that divide us have been torn away, and we are created new in one body of Christ. We spent 20 minutes at the stations, although 15 would probably have been adequate.
Here’s what we did:
Prayer Station #1: One in Christ
Location: Remain in the Pew
For those with mobility concerns or who wish to stay in their seats you are invited to reflect on our scripture Ephesians 2:11-22 using a prayer technique called Lectio Divina.
- Read Ephesians 2:11-22 through twice slowly, be attentive to a word or phrase that is particularly meaningful.
- Read the passage again, this time asking yourself “Where does this reading touch my life today?” Answer with I see…I hear…
- Read the passage a final time, and reflect on this statement– “I believe that God wants me to…”
We also invited them to read through the other prayer station questions and pray or discuss with others around them.
Prayer Station #2: Peacemakers
Location: Sanctuary Doors
Jesus wants us to be peacemakers. What does being a peacemaker mean to you? Can you think of a time when you fought with a friend or a brother or sister? How could you have practiced peace at that time? Choose a peace symbol to color or color symbols, words, or dreams of peace on the sidewalks outside. As you color, think of ways you can spread peace.
This was an idea that came from this blog. We did both the coloring sheets and outside chalk, we lucked out with a nice day and everyone can see the chalk drawings as they drove away.
Prayer Station #3: Built Together
Location: Back of Sanctuary
Ephesians says that the walls that divide have been torn down and now, with Christ as the cornerstone we are built together spiritually. Writing on the sticks, create a structure with others that reflects being reconciled to God. Take a moment and reflect on the Maryland Dream Act and immigration reform just introduced by President Obama (allowing more rights for college and no threat of deportation for children). Offer prayers for those who you know who are alienated. Was there a time when you felt alienated or alone? Did someone help you through that time? How has your church and faith supported you? Write those names and prayers on the sticks, use glue to add them to the structure.
Here I built a structure out of square dowel rods and lad different size Popsicle sticks. Craft glue worked well, they would have to hold it for a few moments but that gave time to pray.
Prayer Station #4: Tree of Peace
Location: Communion Table
Ephesians tells us that Christ is our Peace and hostility between us is gone. How do you live into the Peace of Christ in your everyday life? How do you practice loving those whom you feel opposition for? How do you contribute to a world in order for the Peace in Christ to prevail? Answer these questions silently or with others as you make an ornament for the Tree of Peace.
Prayer Station #5: Tree of Peace (kids version)
Location: Choir Loft
Our hands are the best tools to spread peace. We can hug, touch, and help out using our hands. Have a parent trace your hand on the foil and decorate it to create an ornament for the Tree of Peace. Then using string and beads, hang it on the peace tree. You may pick up your hand as a reminder of peace after worship.
Again, these ideas came from Theresa Cho’s Blog. I used Heavy Duty aluminum foil instead of copper sheets. Seemed to work fine. Also, I used pen tops for the imprints. The only thing that went “wrong” was that I cut 4″ circles for the kids hands and they still seemed too small. Also, I added the book “How does God Make Things Happen?” as it goes really well.
Prayer Station #6: Peace Malas
Location: Courtyard- front Sanctuary Door
Peace malas are bracelets that symbolize friendship, peace, and respect. Wearing the bracelet is a promise to make the world we live in a better place. 1) Choose 14 colored beads for your bracelet. 2) String half of the beads on the string, then a white bead, then the rest of your colored beads. The central white bead represents you. 3) Take both ends of the string and string your final bead. This bead represents unity, harmony, and peace. 4) Knot the bracelet and put it on your wrist with a cross (if you choose) at the end to remind us to share the peace of Christ with all those we meet.
Again from Teresa’s Blog. This was great, especially for the teens. (Although the adults had fun too). They were also easy to make and several people made bracelets for people who remained in the pews.