Thursday, 1 August 2019

Praying with Games: Guess Who Prayers, Story Links and Talking Points

Guess Who is a popular and easy game that even younger children can play. Here are some ideas about how you might connect the game with God...

Story link: 

You formed the way I think and feel.
    You put me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because you made me in such a wonderful way.  I know how amazing that was!
Psalm 139: 13-14

Talking Points:

What is special about you?
How are we similar and different to the people around us?
What is your favourite thing about yourself?
What is your favourite thing about someone else?

Use the game to think about the ways in which people are unique. How do we know who we are looking for? Several people in the game have orange hair, but not all of them have curly orange hair or orange hair and blue eyes.

God has made us all differently but he knows every part of us and knows all about us. He knows not just our appearance (like in the game) but our personalities too.

Prayer Idea
Choose a character on the board who has something in common with someone you know e.g. someone with glasses, someone with brown eyes. Ask God to bless and look after that real life person.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Praying with Games: Hungry Hippo Prayers, Story Links and Talking Points

This Summer we are experimenting with a 'board games cafe' once a week at the local community centre. It's probably wrongly named because none of the games need a board, but they are all popular and readily available children's games!

It got me thinking about how we could use the games as a church activity as well, so this is the first instalment of some prayers and activity ideas based on games...

You will need: A Hungry Hippos game (or more than one!)
Play the game and get your hippo to collect as many of the balls as possible.

Prayer Idea 1:Count the number of balls you have and, for each ball, say thank you to God for something or someone.

Prayer Idea 2: Count the number of balls you have and, for each one, say thank you for a food you like

Story Link: The parable of the rich fool (Luke  12: 13-21)

The hippos are greedy and try to get as many balls as they can. What things in life are worth having? What does the story say about storing our riches up?

Story Link: Matthew 25, The parable of the sheep and the goats

The hippos are hungry. What does Jesus say about feeding the hungry in this parable? How could we do that?

Talk about: What does it mean to be greedy?
How does it feel if someone else is greedy?
Where do you see greed around you?
How could we help people who don't have enough?

Pray for those who don't have enough food to eat.

Make a plan to collect items for the local food bank

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Flying Saucer Sweet Prayers

If you grew up in the UK then you are probably very familiar with Flying Saucers- sherbet filled rice paper sweets that do look rather like flying saucers!

I have to admit to being fairly partial to the odd flying saucer and when I last went to the cash and carry I bought an enormous tub of hundreds of the things. It became very clear I was never going to get through all of them, so I took them with me to a great children's ministry residential I was at this week and challenged a group of children's leaders to come up with some creative prayer activities with them. They did not disappoint. 

Here are some of their ideas...

1. Hold the flying saucer in your mouth. Don't bite or chew! Think about something worrying you and offer it to God. Feel your worry 'dissolve' or 'disappear,' then bite into the sweetness released!

2. Flying saucers are out of this world! Think of an amazing experience or encounter. Place the flying saucer in your mouth. Let it dissolve, then chew it. Savour that experience. Offer that time in thankfulness to God. 

3.Each colour could represent something different for prayer. Pray for the colour of your sweet! e.g. yellow- our family, green- our world, 

4. Look at the two sides of the flying saucer. Think about the side you present to the world and the other side which is what is really going on. Break through to the inside and ask the Holy Spirit to come. 

5. Take a bite from the flying saucer- thank God for the good things you have.
Taste the sour sugar inside. Ask God to heal any 'sourness' in you- something you really need to say sorry for.
Eat the flying saucer but replace the circle that it was by holding bothhands with someone else and praying for each other.

We then had to try all of the prayers out!

The next day we used the flying saucers with a different prayer in our closing worship:

 Hold the Flying saucer in your mouth. Don't bite or chew! Ask the Holy Spirit to come and help you or someone you know. Wait as the fizzy sherbet is released and picture the power of the spirit at work.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Pet Blessing Bags

We have a beach in the parish which is always full of dog walkers, so this Sunday we did 'Blessings on the Beach,' giving out printed blessings to humans but also dog blessing bags for the dogs! The blessing bag consisted of a dog treat and a prayer to bless the relationship between the dog and the human.  We blessed about 30 dogs and numerous humans. People really seemed to love it and animals were a great way into faith conversations! 
The prayer could easily be used for any pet, though, and it struck me that it might be a really meaningful activity for children to get involved in- either for their own pets or pets that they know in other homes.  After all, if God made all creatures and saw that they were good, then God must want good things for them!

Thank you God for everything you have created. Bless this pet and the relationship it shares with those who love it. May that love continue to grow. Amen.

You will need: Print outs of the prayer, small bags, dog treats, cat treats and/or treats suitable for other pets (see the selection in your local pet shop!)

Get children think of a pet they know and put a prayer and the relevant treat in a little gift bag. They may even want to write their own prayer of thanks/ blessing for that animal.

Take the bag home or to the pet's home, give the pet the treat and pray the prayer.