Prayer bracelets update

I’ve now done the prayer bracelet activity with the children in my Sunday School group – I used a set of coloured beads from Hobbycraft, and bought some of their cross-shaped beads as well.

We did Psalm 23 for the story part of the session, using this book. The illustrations provided rich material for discussing the psalm, and the children are doing the Old Testament stories of the time of the Kings, so they had some context for when and why the psalm was written.

I then let them loose to make the bracelets, having suggested:

  1. They can assign meaning to the colours themselves (maybe “thank you,” “help,” “wow”) and then hold a particular bead when they feel the need for that prayer.
  2. They could choose a colour for each line of Psalm 23, and then say the psalm as they work their way around the bracelet.
  3. They could rotate between two or three different prayers, like doing a rosary.

I then gave them and their parents the handout (below), to help them learn some of the suggested prayers at home.

Children who wanted to make more than one bracelet were encouraged to make one for a family member or friend.

As our Year 6s were coming up to exams when we did this activity, I suggested wearing the prayer bracelet to their exams and using it if needed to relax them and remind them God was with them.

Prayer bracelets

Tools, not toys

childrenThis is a wonderful article on how to use the new craze for “spinners” productively, to help children focus, accept differences, and “fidget productively.”

It’s very applicable to churches – worship, including in Junior Church, often requires periods of sitting still, listening, and so on, which some children find difficult. Providing ways for children to fidget productively – with pew bags or liturgy boxes or physical prayer objects or just good old-fashioned paper and pens – can help children engage more deeply in worship and feel more at home in church.

(Link will open in a new tab.)

 

Simple Prayer Idea

beads

My Sunday School kids often come in with friendship bracelets or beaded jewellery they’ve made, so I’m thinking I can turn that interest into a prayer activity.

I’m planning to separate the beads by colour and assign each colour to a simple one-line prayer. For example:

RED: Please protect everyone I love.

ORANGE: I have so many questions – help me hear your answers.

YELLOW: Shine your light into the dark places.

GREEN: Protect this beautiful earth you’ve made.

BLUE: Be with me when I’m feeling sad and blue.

PURPLE: Forgive me when I realise I’m sorry.

WHITE: Thank you for all the good things.

BLACK: Help everyone in the world who needs you.

You can either print out the sentences, laminate them, and tie them onto the bracelets when they’re done (print on both sides so the card isn’t huge), or you can provide them as separate cards.

Allow children to make their own patterns with the different colours, then allow them to spend some time using the bracelets to pray. There are two ways to use the bracelets (maybe you or your kids can think of more) – and they’re both appropriate at different times:

  1. Hold each bead in turn and say the sentence that goes with it. Pray your way around the whole bracelet.
  2. When you need a particular prayer, use the beads of just that colour to help you connect with that prayer.

Five-Finger Prayer

There are dozens of versions of this prayer out there – it’s an easy way to involve children physically in prayer, and works with anyone from toddlers to pre-teens (and sometimes even teens).

This is the one I use. I like how each prayer connects in some way to that particular finger – it’s not just random. The Revd. Ally Barrett has added a final piece to this prayer – she draws a circle on her palm as she prays for the whole world. I think that’s a great addition.

five-finger-prayer

Welcoming the Stranger, Part II

20160207_095425Tonight I have the privilege of speaking with some Lay Readers on the topic of Welcoming Children and Families.

I’ve put together a PowerPoint, which I thought I’d share with all of you.

The images of prayer spaces without captions are taken from this blog – you can find more details about them in older posts; just click on the “Pray and Play” tag at the bottom of this post to get all the related ones.

Welcoming Families (PowerPoint – 15 MB, download it on a proper computer over wireless not data!) Please also note – the big black rectangle on the 10th slide is a video – hover over it to see the “PLAY” command appear.