Flame: God as our Anchor Craft and Prayer Activity

Here is a prayer activity that older children could do independently to help them think about trusting in God for their strength. It could be used especially if you were exploring stories that involve the sea or storms!

Connections 05.24.2020: Let Us Pray

Jesus’ followers had watched him ascend to heaven. Before he ascended, he told them to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. As they gathered to wait, they “were constantly devoting themselves to prayer…” (v. 14a).

Praying During a Pandemic: Out of Our Hands

My hands are clean. I promise that I didn’t do this. I prayed for a slower pace, for the closing down of my private warehouse that manufactures speed.

Trying to Make the Unhappy Happy

Trying to make the unhappy happy. There probably isn’t much future in this, God. We like to be liked, and we love to be loved. At least some of us. Well intentioned psychology has partly vilified some among us as people pleasers. Take away any personal tendencies, and we are left with more practical concerns.

Prayer and Hand Sanitizer Go Together: Praying During a Pandemic

Rub your hands together with me. I don’t doubt the power of prayer or hand sanitizer. I use both and my health is better for it.

About Tomorrow

Tomorrow. The word alone is enough to give pause, for wrapped in its syllables are promise and hope. There is the grace of time, too, which we will surely need now and then. I like the fact, Lord, that we get to start over and make a new one each day.

Brokenness, a Prayer for Lent

God, it takes courage to be the creatures
you made us to be.
Year after year we add to our experiences of the world,
pushing against our limits
to find out what will budge and what will not.

Mystery, a Prayer for Lent

God, thank you for faithful signs
of spring that tell us you love the world.
Give us glimpses of your creation
that are sights for sore eyes…

Talking to God when God is a Part of the Problem

I know, I know. Gasp. “Blasphemy!” “I can’t believe you said that.” “And you call yourself a Christian?” Yes, I do. In fact, I am following in the footsteps of Jesus.

Assume the Position

Put your hands down. You are not under arrest. I am not a police officer and have no training in law enforcement. Perhaps, this wasn’t the best title but it does make my point: prayer is not a position.

Flame: Pipe Cleaner Intercessions

I love the versatility of pipe cleaners and children seem to feel the same! They are great for playing with and they are also great for praying with.

Crossroads: God Hears Us

I had a tough year when I was in the sixth grade. One of the hardest parts, though, was not having any close friends at school. I prayed and I prayed for God to help me. And God heard my prayers.

Unless You Come unto Me as These

This one is going to be a problem for us. You know that most adults have forgotten that they were children once upon a time. In fact, how long has it been since most adults have included “once upon a time” in any sentence?

Flame: Playdough World Map Prayers

This is a very hands on and tactile way of praying! Ask children to choose a country to pray for and give them some playdough.

A Prayer Resolution

This is not an aspiration. It is not something that you reach for and hope you achieve, not one of those cross-your-fingers-and-hope-it-works-out kind of things.

Formations 01.05.2020: Dangerous Prayers

I’ve led a fair number of prayer meetings in my time. We all know the drill: you remind those present of matters of concern to the fellowship. Maybe you ask for updates from folks who have more up-to-date information.

Your Kingdom Come

Founder of the Advent Project, William H. Peterson, wrote, “While there is scant hope of changing the culture around us, the Church need not be a fellow traveler.

Coming, a Prayer for Advent

Come to us, Lord Jesus,
in every purple-patterned life,
every wrap of loving arms
in shivering December.

Flame: Advent Prayer Bags

Lately, I’ve seen a variety of lovely ideas online for helping children and families to get involved with the Advent season. Drawing on some of the ideas I’ve seen, I’ve come up with a little bag of items that will take children through some of the main Advent themes.

Connections 11.24.2019: Prayerful Hopes

Since my daughters were very small, I have written them several letters per year in special journals that I bought for them. The earliest entries detail their milestones (“You crawled toward the remote control today” or “You slept in your big-girl bed all night without waking us up”).

Praying Room

Excuse me. I am going to need some wiggle room, a place to twist and turn, space to squirm under the hands of life’s circumstances. It is a tight squeeze.

Rediscovering Centering Prayer

I went on a run yesterday. I’ve always wanted to be a runner but have never been able to cultivate the strength and endurance and discipline to bring that dream to life.

Connections 10.20.2019: Prayed Up

Have you heard the one about the church member who prayed such long prayers that his fellow members cringed when the pastor called on him to pray? They dreaded hearing his prayers drag on for five minutes or longer, which they always did.

Prayer is the Conversation of a Lifetime

Prayer is a fact of life. Like birth and death, puberty, pimples, and periods, marriage and those mid-life crises, there is prayer. If we are to make it through these moments, then we will need to pray.

Flame: Psalm 23 – Overflowing Cup

Verse 5 of the twenty-third Psalm speaks about the overflowing cup that God gives and this craft is a way of exploring and thanking God for His many gifts. Each creation will be unique!

Crossroads: Pray for Everyone

When I was a kid, I wanted to pray for everyone. Every night as we said prayers at bedtime, I always added “God bless the whole world.” Every time we had prayer request time at GAs, one of my requests was for “the whole world.” Looking back, I realize that it may have been a little silly.

Flame: Boxes Prayer Game

Children love this game and may well be familiar with it, but here’s a twist that adds prayer to the mix. Draw some dots in lines and columns on the paper (see below). I used 10 rows of 7 dots.

Take a Step Back

Prayer is not a question and answer session, an exchange of whys for how this is all going to work out. Prayer is not God’s tell-all. It is not the time to corner God in our prayer closet and demand an explanation.

Say What?

When God knows it all and none of it makes sense to you, what do you pray? How do you respond when the posture of prayer doesn’t feel right?

Crossroads: Prayer

When I was ten, my father asked me where I wanted to go on vacation for my 13th birthday. Turning 13 was a big deal, and so I got to pick our vacation spot. So I thought of the craziest place I could think of, sure that we wouldn’t get to go.

What to Say When You Don’t Want to Open Your Mouth

At one time or another, I’ve said all of these things or some naïve but well-meaning version of them to family members and friends, church members and complete strangers. Forgive me.

The Spirituality of Fatherhood: Prayer

When I enter the hospital one cold January morning after a frantic drive up a North Dallas freeway, I found my dad unresponsive due to complications from surgery.

May I Have Your Attention, Please?

The late poet Mary Oliver in an essay titled Upstream wrote, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.” She’s right. It begins, not on Sunday mornings, but before we get out of bed each day.

Pray Tell

American philosopher William James said of prayer, “Many reasons have been given why we should not pray, whilst others are given why we should. But in all this very little is said of the reason why we do pray.

The Praying Type

“I’m not the praying type.” This is what it boils down to when I ask some people about talking to God. These persons talk about prayer as if it is not for them.

Pray Like God Is Listening

“I don’t know what to say or where to begin.” This is a frequent response when I ask persons about their prayer life. This seems to settle the matter for them. They figure, “I can’t pray so I won’t.”

Flame: Sensory Prayer Path

I was inspired by a photo I saw on Pinterest recently of a sensory pathway and it got me thinking about how we could use the idea to help children to connect with God.

Speak Up

No, I am not losing my hearing. This is not about my hearing at all. But, often times, we talk about prayer as if we are talking to each other. We think our prayers are bouncing off the walls, that the words just bounce around in our heads, that they have no place to land.

Have a Little Talk with Jesus

Talking to God can seem like a daunting task. Our prayer list can become a mounting to-do list as we try to write down everything we need to say to God. It can become a shopping list as we look around for the right words to make this a good prayer meal.

Seeking, a Prayer for Epiphany

God of all times and places, we move into this new year as travelers seeking the shelter of your presence in all our comings and goings. Like the magi we move from familiar surroundings, crossing borders to enter unknown times and places.

A Silent Treatment

This post is not a call to punish anyone, to withhold communication for the purpose of driving home the message. No one messed up. No one needs to come to their senses and apologize. I am not asking you to take my side and refuse to speak to him or her. I won’t ask you to swear to a code of silence.

Flame: Advent Wreath Craft

We’ve now entered Advent and I was thinking of how families could use the tradition of the Advent wreath at home in a craft and prayer activity. Of course it’s great to have the real candles to light, but here’s an alternative to make and do.

Pray or Stay the Same

Prayer and change go together. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. We say, “Prayer changes things.” First line of defense or last resort, we believe that prayer is the answer. Expecting a heavenly thumbs up or when our back is up against the wall, we bow our heads, put our hands together, or close our eyes and pray.

Undivided Attention

Now, what was I saying? My attention span is not very long these days. I say these days because I don’t remember which day it was that I began to forget when I stopped being able to catch up, to keep up with one day after another. Like these sentences, they all run together.

Crossroads: The Answer Is Prayer

I’m a worrier. It’s who I am. I worry about test results, about family members and close friends, about the future, etc. Sometimes my worry feels overwhelming. And so I pray.

Connections 09.30.2018: A Community of Prayer

For a long time, I thought and taught that prayer is an important part of the Christian life. Somewhere along the way, I decided that in fact the Christian life is a life of prayer. How did I arrive at that conclusion? Like many realizations, it came over time.

Our Prayer Language

We trust God. Of course, we do. We fold our hands and we don’t ever try to raise them to interject our point of view. “Listen God, I’ve been thinking and….” We dare not say a prayer and then intercept. No, God is in control.

When We Have to Choose: The Indecisiveness Roadblock

God’s word is packed with informative insights for Christians who want to move around the roadblock of indecisiveness. In addition, many characters introduced to us in Scripture flesh out these insights in their lives.