With the first month of 2021 already coming to an end, we transition not only into the beginning school, but also into the beginning of youth group and Lenten season.
As we are still in the midst of COVID and consequently the rollercoaster of restrictions, preparing for youth group can still be difficult. In light of this and to help ease some of the stress on preparing a youth program for Lent, here is a Lenten Journey resource that provides prayer practices, rituals and activities for faith formation, wherever you may be.
5 Finger Prayer
Using the handout as a guide, pray for different groups of people as you touch each finger:
- Thumb: pray for those closest to you, your family and friends.
- Index finger: pray for people who give direction like teachers, coaches, health care workers, therapists, first responders, etc.
- Middle finger: pray for leaders in governments, businesses, the church, etc.
- Ring finger: pray for those who are sick, vulnerable, and most in need
- Pinky finger: pray for yourself and your own needs
Using the handout as a guide, print the finger labyrinth. If you want to make it more tactile, print it on heavy paper or cardstock. Glue yarn or string or use puffy paint and allow it to dry. Use your finger to trace the path slowly and pray quietly or out loud as you go. You can pray for others or yourself. You can pray with words or without words.
Warm up by drawing some doodles, squiggles, lines, circles, dots, etc. on a piece of blank paper
When ready follow these instructions:
- Take a deep breath and slowly exhale. Repeat a few times. You may want to light a candle (or turn on a battery candle) as a visual reminder to be quiet and in prayer.
- Write God or a favourite name for God (i.e. Gracious God, Loving God, Creator, etc) somewhere on the paper and doodle around the name.
- Take turns sharing a prayer request or praise. Set a timer for about 3 minutes (you can adjust the amount of time depending on age or attention span).
- Write down the praise/prayer either with words or a picture and then doodle around it while praying or praising God for the request.
- Repeat step 3 as many times as desired.
- When you are ready to end, write Amen or your favourite prayer closing somewhere on your paper.
- Learn more about Praying in Colour here
Praying with Photo’s
View the Photos and choose one to look at while you listen to Psalm 23. Wonder together:
- I wonder what part of the Psalm you can relate with.
- How does your image relate to the scripture?
- How do you see God in your image?
- If you could choose a different image, what would it be?
- What do you learn about yourself in this scripture?
- What do you learn about God in this scripture?
To make a meditation jar: Pour an entire 6 oz container of glitter glue into a clear jar. Add any additional glitter, confetti, beads, or other waterproof craft supplies. Fill jar with hot water (not boiling, just hot). Twist the lid on tight (you might consider adding hot glue around the perimeter). While water is still hot, shake the jar vigorously until glue is dissolved.
To use the meditation jar: Shake it up! You can do this for as long as you need to shake out any extra energy, anxiety, frustration, or jitters. When you’re ready, set the jar down and breathe deeply as you watch the glitter settle. Imagine that the glitter represents your thoughts, words, and actions, and remember that, just like Jesus calmed the storm, Jesus can calm our hearts
Choose a word or brief phrase to repeat in one breath. If it is a phrase, say one part as you inhale and the rest as you exhale. You can say breath prayers out loud, in a whisper, or silently. Breath prayers are wonderful as a calming, meditative practice. See the prayer practice page for breath prayer cards that you can cut out and use
There are many ways you can go on a nature prayer walk – choose one that works for you. As you begin your walk, say a prayer. Ask God to show you the unique and ordinary in creation.
Quiet Walk – ask everyone to walk in silence, saying their own quiet prayer as they walk.
Pray As You Go – Walk together, when you come to something that catches your eye, say a prayer. It could be as simple as “Thank you God for this thing” or “Thank you God for this thing because it reminds me of _____.”
Finding Objects – Use the Prayer Walk Handout to pray for specific things upon finding objects in nature.
Can’t go outside? Check out one of these virtual hikes in nature
We often associate prayer with being quiet, but we can use our big voices too! You can Shout for Joy! You can Shout a Praise! You can Shout a Sadness. You may want to use instruments like a tambourine or shakers or drum.
Example: Thank you, God! I love you, God! You could shout a Psalm: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth” Psalm 98:4
Make pretzels (or purchase the frozen pre-made ones that you just bake). Refer to the handout for recipe.
To learn more about the connection between Lent and pretzels, read Pretzels by the Dozen by Angela Elwell Hunt!
Building Block Prayer
Use building blocks (like Lego or wood blocks) to build a prayer. Each brick or block represents a prayer request or praise
Take 3 deep breaths. God, you are above (reach toward the sky), below (touch your toes), inside (hands to heart), and all around (big arm circles). I worship you (reach toward the sky), and give my life to you (touch your toes). And I love you (hands to heart) with all that I am (big arm circles). Take 3 deep breaths
For the full resource with included handouts, just click here.
Ofa Foiakau is the Field Officer (Central/West), and responsible for youth/high school ministry as a part of the PULSE team.