1. Reflective DVDs and music
Using reflective instrumental music, lead prayers of adoration from one of the many anthologies and books of prayers which are appropriate for your group and season of the year.
This is Volume 3 in a series of DVDs of excellent worship resources, with music from the Northumbria Community, Dave Fitzgerald and the Celtic tradition. It features prayers, meditations and reflections, free screensavers from Lindisfarne Scriptorium and PowerPoint compatible video files (that could also act as background videos for your own prayers or songs).
Also included is artist Mary Fleeson from the Lindisfarne Scriptorium sharing her thoughts on prayer and how prayer shapes her work, Ray Simpson of the International Community of Aidan and Hilda sharing his thoughts on Celtic spirituality and Canon Kate Tristram providing insights from the first Irish monks who evangelised Northern England from Lindisfarne. With approximately 55 minutes of film clips, Just Worship is an ideal resource for those churches who are using video projectors.
2. Psalm consequences
The game of consequences is an old favourite. Using the consequences structure gives everyone a chance to write prayers of praise and worship to God. The more poetic people could help the less confident writers produce wonderful pieces of poetry and prayer. This idea can be done with a group of people of any size.
You will need: a piece of A4 paper, a pen and Bible for each person, perhaps a CD player and some music.
Choose a couple of praise psalms to inspire you in your prayers as a group. Good examples are Psalm 92, Psalm 95.1-7 or Psalm 148. Share in the reading by going around the group and reading two verses of the psalm each.
Give out the paper and pens and explain that you are going to create your own psalm of praise to God in a similar manner to the consequences game. Ask everyone to fold their pieces of paper into eight vertical sections, then unfold them so that the creases can be seen. Ask the group to:
- Write at the top a line of praise to God – eg, ‘Lord, I worship you’.
- Ask everyone to fold this first line backwards so the words can’t be seen, then pass their piece of paper to the person on their left.
- On the next section write an aspect of God’s character starting with ‘because’ – eg, ‘because you are good’. Fold your paper backwards and pass once more.
- Then write another aspect of God’s character starting with ‘and’. Fold and pass again.
- Now write two things about how wonderful God’s creation is, such as ‘Your mountains are big, your rivers shine in the sun’. Fold and pass on again.
- Write something God does for you personally. It could be something like ‘You guide me’. Fold and pass on.
- Write a personal message to Jesus with ‘because’ in the middle – eg, ‘I thank you, Jesus, because you died for me’. Fold and pass again.
- Write a resolution, such as ‘Therefore, I will be glad and share your love with others’. Fold and pass one more time.
- Finally, open the pieces of paper and read the results out loud, perhaps over some instrumental music. To encourage you about how creative the results can be, here is an example that our home group came up with:
God, you are more powerful than the wicked men of earth.
You are the source of all our joy and wonder and beauty;
And love is your middle name.
Your mountains rise to greet the dawn, the seas roar at your sunrise;
You reveal yourself in ways that surprise us.
Jesus, you are cool, because you didn’t just tell us the way, you showed us!
Therefore, I will praise and worship you for ever!
Adapted from an idea by Paul Millard, taken from Sue Wallace, Multi-Sensory Scripture, Scripture Union, 2005, p. 19.
3. Vox pop adoration and thanksgiving for non-extroverts!
You will need: camcorder with a microphone (preferably separate rather than an on-board mic) or other recording device; for playback (depending on whether this is audio only or video): computer/screen/projector/good speakers.
Not everyone is an extrovert and can pray out loud or lead prayers from the front – nor should everyone be expected to. But with a little bit of preparation and forethought everyone can still participate in this particular activity without embarrassment. Technology plays a major part in this activity, which shouldn’t put most people under 30 off. However, if in doubt, ask a teenager!
The following can be done as an audio only activity, or as video with close-ups of people’s faces as they talk. After recording your own or someone else’s voice saying: ‘Lord, today we especially want to thank you for…’, go around your group one at a time and record one word/one phrase/one sentence with a camcorder or CD/phone/tape recorder device. Lining up lots of people to say just one thing can be quite effective. Have a person with clipboard and pen writing down what each person prays, then you will know what the previous folk have said without repeating old things. When played at the appropriate moment, end the vox pop prayers with a communal ‘Amen!’
Take it further
This style of prayer/preparation will also work well with prayers of intercession and could be useful in a teaching/sharing time.