Click for print-friendly version""Ideas

prayer places and sacred spaces
prayer props
house of prayer

venerable beads
go global

fast and active
24/7 style prayer
more ideas

 

 

The 14 months of Pray Without Ceasing really caught people's imaginations and has inspired all sorts of interesting approaches to prayer.

Prayer is God's initiative, a gift which enables us to be attentive to the presence of God in our lives and in the world. It is also a means of expressing what we believe about God and can prompt us to act to change the world as we respond to God's love.

Here are some ideas from Districts, Circuits and individuals that might inspire you to get involved and to try something new. Feel free to print out this resource (click here for a print-friendly version of this page) and distribute it to those who you think would like to get involved.

Keep In Touch!

We would love to hear your stories and ideas. Tell us your news of events that you have held or want to advertise by:

sending an email to
[email protected]

writing to Revd Michaela Youngson,
Methodist Church House,
25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR

Don't forget to advertise your events in your local press and media. Click here for a sample press release that you can adapt to your local situation.

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DICE PRAYER

In Blaby Methodist Church, Leicester, among other methods of prayer we have started 'Dice Prayer'.  When we gather for prayer, there is usually a piece of soft music playing and then a reading from the Bible.  'Dice Prayer' is like playing the dice game but people with a certain number get to pray for things that are already on the list.  For example, a person shakes the dice, throws it and if it shows 1 then that person prays for everyone in the group.

Dice Prayer

1  Prayer for everyone in the group.

2  Prayer for something special.

3  Prayer of thanks.

4  Prayer for our friends/church.

5  Prayer for the world

6  Prayer for peace

 

 

PRAYER PLACES, SACRED SPACES,

Set up a prayer room in your church, school or in a 'tabernacle' in your local market square.

Offer a variety of stations of prayer, e.g:

•  Have a pile of stones that people can place in the bowl of water as an act of confession, or of letting go of hurts and anxieties.

•  Have gummed paper strips available on which people can write prayers for peace and justice in the world and then link them together to form a chain.

•  Set up a 'Thanksgiving' board where people can pin up notes of things they wish to thank God for.

•  Use candles (safely!) as a focus for
silent prayer.

•  Have Bible passages on pieces of card for people to reflect on and then take away.

•  Use music - either to create an atmosphere for the whole prayer space, or through headphones for individual
contemplation.

Organise a labyrinth in a public place, such as a shopping mall, local park or school and encourage people to enter into a journey of prayer.

For inspiration about labyrinths visit www.yfc.co.uk/labyrinth/online.html

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Prayer Props!

There are many ways of using resources and modern technology to pray in new ways. Here are just a few:

•  Text prayer groups . People commit themselves to pray at a particular time and text each other as a reminder; or one of the group texts the others with a prayer or Bible text for reflection.

•  Set up an e-mail group and send each other prayer ideas and requests.

•  Use images to stimulate prayer, e.g. postcards, or images from magazines can be scattered around a room and people can choose one that inspires or moves them. Have a time of quiet to pray about issues that the images bring up and then invite those who feel able to talk about the experience.

•  Magnet magazine is an excellent source of striking images that can stimulate reflection and prayer.

•  Create presentations use Power Point or OHPs to combine music and images that might lead people into prayer. This is a great way of offering intercessions in worship. Use images that reflect the news and the world around us.

•  Set up a Prayer Board at church, low enough for children to reach. Encourage people to pin prayers onto the board. Why not have a different theme each week? Shape your note paper to reflect your theme, e.g. hand shapes for thanksgiving; fish shapes for prayers about mission; leaf shapes for creation. Have plenty of pens and pencils available for people to use.

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A House of Prayer

Here are some ideas for prayers at home.

Graces

Say a short prayer of thanksgiving before meals. Each person in the household can take turns in saying a prayer.

Some examples are:

For what we are about to receive may God help us to be truly thankful. Amen.

Creator God, we give thanks for the food we will share, always mindful of those who will not eat their fill today. Help us to work hard to make the world a fairer place. Amen

Ta, Pa. Amen OR Ta, Ma. Amen

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him all creatures here below,
Praise him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Amen

For this food for our journey,
we thank you, loving God.
For this time of friendship,
we thank you, loving God.
For all the blessings of this life,
We thank you, loving God.
Amen

Visitors' Prayers

If you have visitors to stay, put a handwritten or printed out prayer on their bedside table.
Have a visitors' book in which, rather than 'comments' you ask them to write a prayer before they leave.

Fridge Prayers

Stick a favourite prayer up on the fridge door, then each time you visit the fridge, you can say that prayer. (It need not be 'Please help me to choose the slimline yoghurt, not the cream cake' !)


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Venerable Beads!

Many Christians use rosaries or prayer beads to help their personal devotions. Each bead represents a particular prayer, often with a larger bead or a cross as the starting point representing the 'Jesus Prayer', "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." This is an example of a 'breath prayer' a prayer that can be said on one breath, so that prayer is seen to be as essential to life as breathing.

Why not make your own prayer bracelet using elastic and some different coloured beads? You can find some beautiful beads in craft and hobby shops. Get a big bag of beads to use with your Junior Church or young peoples group.

Here are suggestions of prayers that you might say with each bead. Why not devise your own set of prayers and send them to [email protected] and we can put them up on our website.

The following colours are based on the 'Pony Bead' range from The Beadery, available at Hobbycraft Stores. Use a different kind of bead (e.g. wooden) as a spacer between each section, a large bead for the Lord's Prayer and a round bead to represent yourself.

PRAYER BRACELET

Large Bead

The Lord's Prayer
Loving God, hear my prayer

Violet Bead

I pray for oppressed people everywhere, help me to work for justice.

Indigo Bead

I pray for people who suffer because of their religious or political beliefs.

Mauve Bead

I pray for people who are trapped within abusive relationships.
Loving God, hear my prayer

Dark Blue Bead

I pray for those who feel sad today, help me to comfort the downhearted.

Medium Blue Bead

I pray for those who face an uncertain future because of health or work worries.

Light Blue Bead

I pray with thanks for those people I love and those who love me.
Loving God, hear my prayer

Dark Green Bead

Thank you for this beautiful world, help me to care for it.

Light Green Bead

Thank you for the diversity of plants and animals, help me to use resources wisely.

Turquoise

Thank you for the oceans, seas and rivers, teeming with life.
Loving God, hear my prayer

White (or pale yellow) Bead

I pray for the Make Poverty History campaign, that all your people can know abundant life.

Yellow Bead

I pray for those caught up in conflict and violence, help me to bring peace into the world.

Dark Yellow Bead

I pray for relief and development charities and those working for fair trade.
Loving God, hear my prayer

Bright Orange Bead

Thank you for children, help me to see your face in each child.

Dark Orange Bead

Thank you for older people, help me to value the stories of others.

Salmon Bead

I pray for...
Loving God, hear my prayer

Dark Pink Bead

Thank you for all people of faith, help us to work together for good.

Medium Pink Bead

Thank you for my church, help us to be a sign of your love in our community.

Light Pink Bead

Thank you for fun and friendship.
Loving God, hear my prayer

Round Bead

Giggling, laughing and dancing God, thank you for me! Help me to love others as myself and to live always in the knowledge of your eternal love. Amen.

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Go Global!

 

 

Prayer Map

Put up a huge map of the world and surround it with pictures of people from parts of the world appearing in the news.

Pin or stick prayers onto the countries that are in your prayers.

Prayer Twin

If you have contacts, mission partners, family links with a church overseas, arrange an international prayer 'twin'. Agree to pray for each other every week and keep in touch with subjects for prayer - remembering to swap good news stories for thanksgiving, as well as prayers that are about needs.

'From Our Correspondent'

People at church, in your youth group or junior church, take it in turns to report on a particular situation in the world.

Within worship or at your meeting, the 'Correspondent' talks about the story and then invites people to pray for the situation and those involved.

Learning Curve

Ask people in your fellowship group or church to each research the way that people pray in different parts of the world and in different denominations and faiths. Make a display of the things you find out and invite local schools to come and have a look - the teachers are likely to be thrilled to be involved!

Keep Informed

JMA's Rainbow magazine, World Church pages on the Methodist Church website, and MRDF newsletters are all great ways to stay informed about what is going on in the world. Use these and the invaluable Prayer Handbook to pray regularly for mission partners and for situations around the world and in Britain and Ireland.

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fast and activeFAST

One traditional approach to prayer is to spend time fasting. This is normally a period without food, in which the time spent not eating is spent in prayer. Fasting is about adopting a less 'cluttered' approach to life, when time to think about where God's call is leading us becomes our focus. Lent is a time when some Christians choose to fast, not always giving up food - but finding special ways to spend more time consciously in God's presence. What about giving up watching television for a week and using the time to pray?

ACTIVE PRAYER

Organise a prayer walk or pilgrimage. Identify points along the way where particular prayers can be said. This could be in an urban or rural setting. Encourage people to talk along the way, but have a silent section - perhaps the last leg of the walk - to allow quiet contemplation and create space to listen to God's prompting as well as talk.

Variations on this theme could include a narrow boat journey, a horse ride, a bike ride, or for those less energetic, a walk around a local park.

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24/7 Style Prayer

We have prepared an article which gives an explanation of some of the background to 24/7 style prayer, and how you might go about organising such an event in your church. This article also includes advice on Safeguarding if you are planning a 24/7 style event.

Read the article here
.

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More ideas

From time to time new ideas will be posted in this space...

 

Praying with Children

Praying with children can be a very exciting thing to undertake within the church.  This can be especially so when done in a creative and fun way. It can also appeal to people of all ages, drawing the church together.  Here are some simple examples:

Alphabet Prayers
Sit the children in a circle and start by praying for something beginning with the letter 'A', then ask each child, in turn, to pray for something beginning with the next letter of the alphabet.  This can be used for prayers of thanks or prayers for others.

Echo Prayer
Pray a short prayer or line of a prayer out loud. Pause and ask the children to repeat that prayer or phrase. The children can work as a group to write these prayers before they are used.

Hand Prints
Prepare large sheets of paper and coloured paints. Each person places a print on the paper, then encourage the group to pray for individuals and concerns as you move around the sheet. If you wait for the prints to dry, you could have the children place another hand print over the dry prints as you pray for one another.

Spoons
The letters of SPOON can be used as a framework for prayer:

S - saying sorry
P - praise
O - others
O - ourselves
N - needs

Children can be encouraged to use the Spoon Prayer for their prayers at home too.

Adapted from a Pray Without Ceasing Resource Booklet prepared by the Oxford and Leicester District.

Prayer Labyrinth

The Great North LabyrinthThe Great North Prayer Labyrinth is to be held at
Brunswick, 14 - 18 June 2006

As visitors walk around a 'labyrinth' laid out in the church, they will stop at various points, where there will be a notice and related materials. These will encourage prayer, meditation and reflection on different themes: 'God's Love', 'Confession and Forgiveness', 'Action for Justice' and so on.

Download the Great North Prayer Labyrinth - a PDF containing all the notices.

Praying through our senses

From Joyce Cundall, Ormskirk

Hear Taize chants or worship songs as you meditate.

Hold stones or glass beads to symbolise a hard problem; place it near a cross. 

Repeat hymns as prayers (without music), spoken or silent.

Scented tea lights placed in front of a newspaper (to pray for those in the news), an empty photo frame (to pray for individual people) and a photo of your church (to pray for concerns).

Drink fruit juices which have been re-labelled joy, peace, love or patience, and as you drink ask God for that gift of the Spirit.

Lectio Divina
Take a reading from scripture; the psalms or parts of the Prophets or Epistles are most useful for this style of prayer.  Read through the text very slowly. When you are struck by a word or a phrase STOP.  Stay with the words that moved you, maybe repeating them slowly, allowing them to sink into your heart.  Only move on when you are quite ready.  Try to have an inner stillness so that you can perceive the gentle action of God.
Examples of texts you might use are:
Psalm 139:1-18; Isaiah 43:1-3; Romans 8:14-17, 28-39; 2 Timothy 1:6-10

On-line prayer programme

From John Lambourne
Kempston Churches Together,

Here in Kempston we have been holding Prayer Meeting and promoting the use of Prayers for our Neighbourhood at home each day for the last five or more years. This year we have put our programme on-line so that other neighbourhoods could use it. The addresss of our web-site is http://uk.geocities.com/kempstonchurchestogether/

Although it might require a little tidying up we feel that as it stands it is a useful tool in the encouragement of daily prayer, and would like to link it to "praywithoutceasing".

A Creative Prayer service

Charles Freebury
South Petherton & Crewkerne Methodist Circuit

As one of several initiatives to mark the start of the year of prayer, I used the following as the main service the other Sunday.

After an introductory hymn etc, I invited the congregation to visit one or more of 5 prayer tables set-up in the church: news station (newspaper with marker pen, pray by circling articles); quiet space (sheets with action or symbol prayers such as breathing prayers, use of stones and water etc); liturgy station (copies of Worship Book, Meth prayer handbook et al); arts station (drawing materials to draw prayer; drama station (using dramas from the new mph "A word in season").  Also each attender had a prayer sheet with builet-points to write their personal prayers against.  Much to our relief! people immediately started to beetle round to the tables and, after about 20 minutes, the arts were presented and displayed as prayer, the dramas were done including one from the children, and the prayer sheets and marked newspapers presented with the offering.

We tried to make it easier on the more trad people by using older well known hymns, emphasising that they need not leave their seats but could simply use the prayer sheets, and placing the prayer tables in the middle of the chairs, and so more accessible than, say, at the front.

Prayer Booklet

Jeff Walker
Superintendant Minister
Great Harwood Circuit

The following links are to the pages of a booklet of prayers which I have written, together with appropriate Bible passages. Many people have reported back that they have found them helpful.

Monday and Thursday
Sunday and Friday
Tuesday and Wednesday

Telephone Prayer Meetings

www.telephoneprayermeeting.co.uk is a simple to use, non-profit making telephone conferencing service designed for use within and across churches for prayer meetings by telephone. You pay only a 0845 local rate phone call cost.

Details available at www.telephoneprayermeeting.co.uk

 

Portable Prayer List

Use out-of-date business cards to maintain a portable prayer list.

Write a name or topic on each one, fasten the pack with a rubber band, and keep it in your pocket. When walking, waiting, or using public transport, work your way through as many cards as you have time for. The pack will grow over time as you add new people and topics. To keep it manageable, put an "expiry date" on some or all of the cards (you can always add them back in later). To pray for colleagues at work, get a copy of the organisation chart for your team, cut out the boxes with people's names and job titles, and stick them to the cards (clear sticky tape works better than glue).

Prayer Plaits

PlaitCut three equal lengths of wool (approx 9 inches or 22 centimetres) in the colours of your choice. One colour represents yourself, one represents God and one represents other people. Knot them together at one end.

As you reflect on your relationship with God and with others plait the wool. Knot the end when you finish and, as you do so, say a prayer commending yourself and those you have thought about, to God's love.

 

Praying with Young People

What influences do young people have on their lives?  There are many, with the importance of music, image, instant communication demonstrated in the popularity of iPods, X-box, Playstation, camera phones etc.  When thinking about praying with young people we do so in this context.

Cd Prayer Wall CD Prayer Wall
On a wall or piece of wood, stick a number of empty CD cases or wallets. Provide pieces of paper that fit these cases and encourage people to write prayers and put them on the wall. Make this a regular part of your activity and you will soon get into the habit of using it.

Healing Heart
You need a large red card heart and clear medical plasters. Ask each person to think about someone they know who needs God's healing touch, then they write the name on the plaster before sticking it onto the heart. Once all the plasters are in place, pray a general prayer, lifting them all to God.

Mobile Phone Prayers
Print a picture of a mobile phone on card, big enough for people to write a message on the screen. Invite people to write their prayers on a card phone. Huddle the group together and ask everyone to throw their phones in the air and catch someone else's - these can be taken home for future prayer.

Musical Prayers
Have lots of directions written on card and placed on the floor around a room. Play some youth friendly worship music and when the music stops, each person goes to a card and does what is written on it. For example: thank God for your family; ask God to be with the person closest to you now; be still; thank God for the best thing that has happened this week; ask God to be with anyone you know who is ill.

Adapted from a Pray Without Ceasing Resource Booklet produced by the Oxford and Leicester District.

BUILD A PRAYER CAIRN

An idea from the Liverpool (North) Circuit who based their event on the theme of Our Rock of Prayer.  People who signed up to their prayer rota and people attending services were given a palm sized pebble to hold.  The theme offers the potential for individual interpretation but at the end of a Pray Without Ceasing event, all the pebbles (and prayers) can be gathered together to form a Cairn.  Cairns are traditionally built as memorials or waymakers.  Maghull Methodist Church have a Prayer Cairn outside their building as a permanent reminder of how special Pray Without Ceasing is and what prayer can achieve.

Please send in your own ideas to [email protected]

Pray Without Ceasing
Methodist Church House
25 Marylebone Road
London
NW1 5JR

Tel: 020 7467 5117