I used these prayer stations with young people (aged 10-13). They could also be used with adults, younger children, or a mixed-age group.
Each prayer station had a phrase from the Lord’s Prayer and brief instructions, which are reproduced below, together with a list of the equipment I used for each prayer station and some brief reflections on each one, including quotes from the young people.
I briefly introduced the session, led the young people around the prayer stations, pointing out what was available at each one. They then had time to explore the prayer stations (in any order) for around 40 minutes and we came back together to discuss and reflect on the experience for around 20 minutes. The time for exploration felt about right, but the discussion could have been substantially longer if time had allowed.
Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name
I wonder what God is like? I wonder what heaven is like? Draw or write your ideas.
- large piece of paper with “God” written in the centre
- large piece of paper with “heaven” written in the centre
- box of pens
This station provoked a lot of discussion, both around the table during the exploration time, and in the discussion afterwards.
“Heaven is where all are always already forgiven.”
“I don’t think heaven is a place, but it is real.”
“God is bigger than anything.”
“God is everywhere, but I don’t know how.”
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven
Add markers to the map to pray for places in the world to become more like God’s kingdom.
- large world map
- small post-it notes or other sticky markers
The young people prayed for a very wide range of situations: events that have been in the news, places they have been learning about at school, friends and family around the world, etc.
“I want to pray for people who don’t have enough to eat, but I don’t know where to stick it – it could be lots of places.”
“I’m praying for my Dad who’s working in a dangerous country. And for the people who make it dangerous, so they can stop.”
“I wanted to pray for someone who is in heaven, but heaven isn’t on the map… so I stuck the marker on my head.”
Give us today our daily bread
Take a piece of bread and chew it slowly. Thank God for giving us things we need. Pray for people who don’t have things they need.
- a loaf of bread
This was a prayer station which many of the young people returned to several times. When we discussed it, many of them said this was because they kept thinking of something else to pray about. Several of them sat for a long time chewing the bread, and it was a station where people largely chose to be silent.
“I like that it was doing, not just writing.”
“The taste made me think about good things, but also the times I’ve been hungry.”
[After a young person asked how much bread they could take, and I said “As much as you want.”] “Some people never get to have as much as they want. I’m praying for them.”
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us
Take a stone. As you hold it, think of something you need to ask forgiveness for. Place the stone in the water. Take another stone. Think of something you need to forgive someone else for. Ask God to help you forgive. Place that stone in the water too.
- bowl of water
The young people engaged slowly and thoughtfully with this activity. Many of them said it was the one that had most impact on them. It was hard for most to articulate what was going on, but they sensed it was something significant.
“I didn’t exactly like it… but I think it was the most important because it made something change.”
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
We all face choices. How do you choose which path to take? If you have a choice to make at the moment, or a question to ask, put it in the box and ask God to help you see the way ahead.
- picture(s) of junctions in roads, paths, etc
- box with a slot
It was very important to some young people that what they put in the box would not be read by anybody – it was just between them and God. Others wanted to share the questions and choices that are on their minds. There were some interesting conversations when young people discovered that they were facing similar choices to each other.
“I asked how I can know if I’m choosing the right thing.”
“I asked about what I can do to help people. There are lots of things I could do, but what is the right one that God wants me to do?”
For the kingdom the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.
What words can we use to praise God? How can we describe God? Add a word to the board to create a prayer of praise.
- display board [or other large surface]
- post-it notes
This station generated a wide range of ideas about God and, in the discussion time afterwards, led to some deep conversations about the nature of God and of belief. It also generated our topic for our next session as, right at the end of the discussion, one young person asked “What is God?”
“I like that everyone put different things. It shows how many different things there are about God.”
“I didn’t understand all the words people put. But I don’t understand everything about God either, so that’s ok.”
“It’s good that we did praising God together. It’s better than on my own.”
We used a circle of floor cushions as our “Amen” area, but any comfortable seating would be fine. It was where everyone returned to at the end of the exploration time, and also provided a quiet space for young people to take time out to reflect during their exploration of the prayer stations.