So, about a month ago now, our congregation had an event to replace our fall retreat. Brother Geoffrey Tristam, from the Society of St. John the Evangelist, came to be with the adults to talk about prayer. When the committee came to me and asked me to put together a program for the children to coincide with it, I was beyond thrilled. Prayer practices (or any kind of spiritual practices) for kids is one of those things that makes me totally geek out. When I emailed Sybil Macbeth to find out if I could use one of her drawings in the booklet for kids, and SHE herself actually emailed me back THAT DAY I felt like a preteen girl being invited onstage at a Justin Bieber concert. Groupie. Anyway, all that is to say that I get really excited about kids and spiritual practices, which is why it was even more awesome that this day with the kids went so very well. It was like a little piece of heaven.
Before we get into the day, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the four women (three seminary students and one graduate) who came in and taught. Thank you Andrea, Caryn, Cathy, and Kim. You did marvelous work! It was a special joy to just take pictures and participate knowing that everything was in excellent hands.
So, first things first, I want to give you links to the materials I designed for the event:
I invite you to use them all you want! If you would like Word documents so that you can adapt them, just shoot me an email (email@example.com). Fair warning, I’m really fond of using my own fonts, so they might come out a little funky on your computer.
Now, onto the prayer practices. The younger kids (ages 4 through second grade) did six: Drawing, Music, Centering, Labyrinth, Counting, Dancing, and Rhythm. The older kids also did six: Drawing, Music, Centering, Labyrinth, Walking, and Casting.
Photo Caveat: As you can imagine, older kids have a different kind of holy than younger kids. Because the younger kids holy time was still kind of loud and messy, there are many more photos of them. Most of the time, taking pictures of the older kids would have interrupted the amazing quiet and sacredness that came over their time together. You can’t catch that in an image, anyway….
Drawing prayer can be done in several different ways. We used the previously mentioned Sybil Macbeth’s method for kids. Incidentally, you can buy the book we used here.
This is what it looked like:
In the center block, you can see where they have written a name for God. The outer shapes are all people or things for which they are praying.
We also prayed using Taize music. This went a lot better with the older kids than with the younger ones, but we had one second grader who spent all of her free time in the Taize music room soaking it in:
I didn’t take any pictures during Centering prayer time for either group, but we used this book:
Everyone enjoyed walking the Labyrinth:
The younger kids danced for Jesus:
You can’t tell from this picture, but the older kids have just cast their cares (in the form of a stone) into the woods as a symbol of giving them to God:
And here they are praying for the people who reside in the house in the photo:
While the younger kids were making daisy chains for prayers of intercession and thanksgiving:
Each child was anointed before s/he left.
It was a holy day.
And a happy day.
And all God’s people said Amen!