Another Blog Post by our Guest Blogger Ashland’s Summer Intern Katie Jasa!
Prayer Station #1: Breath Prayer
A breath prayer is a type of prayer that allows us to connect with God no matter where we are or what we’re doing. In a breath prayer, we pray to the rhythm of our own breathing, which we intentionally slow down. The breath prayer can be a prayer in itself, or it can lead into further prayer. By practicing breath prayers regularly, you allow a “spirit break” that becomes as natural as breathing.
Here’s how you do it: Close your eyes. Breathe in slowly; then breathe out slowly. Repeat this several times. Say the first line of the breath prayer (while breathing in). For example: Lord. Then, breathe out slowly, give the second line of the breath prayer, have mercy. Repeat the prayer several times (it could be a four or five or several minutes worth, allowing other thoughts to disappear and concentrating on your breathing, essentially, you are not “saying” the word but “breathing” it) and then allow time for silence. Close this time of breath prayer with a simple prayer maybe “thank you Jesus for your love, Amen.” You may use one of the following breath prayers or create one of your own using a line of music, a poem, another Bible verse, and so on.
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.
Be still, and know God.
Create in me, a clean heart.
This is the day, the Lord has made.
Fear not, I am with thee.
Peace, be still.
God, is here.
(Shannon wrote up the instructions for this station, and transformed one of our preschool classrooms into a quiet meditation space. There were beanbag and rocking chairs, as well as soft music playing. We put burlap over the preschool toys and added posters to the walls as well)
Prayer Station #2: Journaling
· When has your faith felt dry, or dead? When have you hoped for more? What dried you out? Write about these times.
Think about the times you longed for help from God.
· What did you thirst for? How did you ask for new life? Write about those hopes.
Think about how you transitioned out of that dry valley, if you have already done so.
· Was it a sudden change, or gradual? Was your faith renewed or enriched in some way? Write about these moments of change.
For this station we put pictures of desserts around the sanctuary with the questions, so that people could sit in their pews and write. This station worked well for people who were less mobile.
Prayer Station #3: Bare Bones
Location: Back of Sanctuary
“As I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling,
and the bones came together, bone to its bone.” – Ezekiel 37:7
Think about the things that have made you who you are. Who are the important people in your life? What places matter the most to you? Which events changed you? Consider the good and the bad things in your past. As you think about what defines you, trace the bones of your hand with paint. Look at the shape, and reflect on who you are in the present.
Press your hand on a piece of paper, and see how your hand hides the marks of your bones. Remember that God sees every part of you, down to your bones, even the parts of you that nobody else can see. God loves you for exactly who you are, both inside and out. Reflect on God’s love for your entire self.
We couldn’t really do prayer stations based on Ezekiel without doing something about bones. I got the idea for this station from http://almostunschoolers.blogspot.com/2010/10/ezekiel-and-dry-bones-x-ray-craft.html, and then wrote questions to turn the craft into a prayer.
Prayer Station #4: Community Blanket
Location: Communion Table
“Thus says the Lord God to these bones:
I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.
I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you,
and cover you with skin,
and put breath in you, and you shall live;
and you shall know that I am the LORD.’” – Ezekiel 37:5-6
God’s love has covered us with many blessings, and each one makes up part of who we are as a church. How does God build you up? What gives your life and hope? Draw or write something that you are thankful for on the fabric, making a blanket that reflects our community.
For this prayer station we wanted to focus on how God covers each one of us. I’ll finish sewing the felt squares together soon so that we can use the blanket as a covering on the communion table in the upcoming weeks.
Prayer Station #5: Seeds of New Life
Location: Courtyard (out door of Sanctuary)
“We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:7
Pour water into your pot, blurring your words and drenching the vessel. As the clay fills up with water, picture yourself being filled with the Holy Spirit. Just as these words are washed by the water, your sins have been washed away in the waters of baptism. Remember your own baptism, and know that you have been forever changed and claimed as one of God’s beloved children.
Once the water has drained from your pot, fill it with soil. Think about the ways that you are ready for God’s call to flourish in your life. Open yourself to new life, and plant a seed into your pot. As the seedling grows in the next few days, remember that faith can transform our lives.
This was a much longer prayer station than the others, and unfortunately was also outside in the hot sun. We had been thinking about doing a confessional station as well as one that reminded people of their baptisms, and somehow ended up combining these ideas into a multi-part station.
The idea for the confessional writing and washing came from a prayer station at UNCO, which used stones and a bowl of water. I also incorporated some of the overflowing Spirit language from http://www.creativeprayer.com/water-and-spirit/. I got the idea for the seed from http://www.creativeprayer.com/planting-hope/, although our version was a bit simpler. I liked the symbolism that the vessel which was first marked with sins was eventually filled with the potential for new growth, and it was nice for the congregants to take away something tangible.