At the end of the Week for Christian Unity, Here’s an All-Age prayer format that worked well for us (Country parish church at edge of Cambridge) last weekend but could be used at any time to remind a local fellowship of the reach of our faith.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Simple Prayer exploration requiring minimal preparation. Ability to offer extempore prayer by leader or a delegate is necessary. Prayers involve whole congregation / fellowship
· Invite children into the main aisle of the church/ chapel. Explain they are there so everyone can see what is happening.
· Get the children to turn, face and point to the main compass sides to the building. If your church/ chapel has a traditional orientation, the altar/sanctuary will be in the East.
· Then ask the whole congregation to nominate churches or chapels which they would like to pray for.
· Work out with the help of the congregation where the nominated place of worship will be in terms of direction and get all the children to point in that direction.
· Then offer simple prayer for that fellowship/ congregation and move to the next suggestion. Sometimes the person suggesting a place will indicate why they would like somewhere prayed for. When we used this, we very quickly had ‘Where we had our last holiday’ and ‘Where we got married’, so the prayers become quite personal and may give rise to conversation after the service.
· Be careful to limit the number of prayers so you do not lose momentum: we found in a small congregation an enthusiasm to participate by the grown ups that could have easily have prolonged the prayer-time well beyond the normal prayer length - and the younger people’s boredom threshold!
If, of course, anyone wants to pray for a church in Australia it would be fun to have the children all pointing in different directions!