Today at St Nicolas Earley we had the annual prayer walk around the parish. A large group walk around all aspects of the community praying for the people, the businesses, the schools and everything that goes on in normal life. It is an amazing undertaking and one I am passionate about.
This year I ran prayer activities inside the church itself for the kids who were too young to walk and anyone else who couldn't walk the whole five mile route. I planned prayer stations to mirror those being walked which allowed the kids to engage with the prayers and the issues being prayed for. Here are my planning notes and a montage of the posters we created.
Praying and walking
Lead everyone on a walk around the church to see the activities. If the weather permits them also go round the church ground praying for the hall and its sessions.
Praying for travellers
Write prayers for travellers and their journeys on: - cars - buses - trains - planes - boats. Pray for safety for everyone as they travel. Pray for the people who work on the roads and railways and trains and airports and on ships.
Praying for schools
Draw a classroom and all the amazing things our schools have inside them eg desks, chairs, teachers, white boards, pens, books, computers, musical instruments and every child. What prayer could we pray for our schools? For our teachers? For friendships? What about schools in other places in the world?
Praying for nature
Choose a leaf or a conker or a petal and lay it into the piece of paper. Thank God for creation and the world and how it all works perfectly together. How can we look after the world? : Recycle : Plant animal friendly gardens : Use environmentally friendly products. Write a promise of something you can do at home to keep our nature in Earley safe. Put these on circles which together will make a nature prayer caterpillar.
Praying for shops and food producers
Where does cake come from? What ingredients are needed? Where do they come from? How do they get to the cake? : flour = wheat = farming UK = lorry to factory to supermarket : eggs = chicken = farming UK = lorry to supermarket : butter = cow = farming UK = tanker to factory to supermarket : sugar = sugar beet = Jamaican field to factory then plane to UK then lorry to supermarket. There are hundreds of people involved in the production of the ingredients for cakes and biscuits. Lots of people to pray for. Let's decorate these cakes and think about all these people and the walkers, they will be pleased to eat one when they get back to church.
Praying for doctors and nurses and emergency services
Have you ever been to see a doctor? Or a nurse? How many times do you think you've been to see them? Did you ever think no one would be able to help you feel better? Have you ever needed an ambulance or the police or the fire brigade? Do you think their jobs are easy? Would you like to do one of these jobs? Let's pray for the doctors and nurses in the doctor surgery and for all the people who work with them. And pray for the emergency services and hospitals. Let's make a prayer paper chain for all the people who help us.
Praying for homes and the homeless
Draw a picture of your home. What's your favorite place in your home? The garden or your bedroom? Let's put all the houses together to make a street. Do you know your neighbours? Do you play with them? Have you ever seen anyone who doesn't have anywhere to live? How would you feel if you didn't have a home? Next week is harvest and we will gather up food for the homeless and those that can't afford to feed their families. Can we do anything else to help? Pray? Visit a shelter? Give some food every week?
Praying for churches and community groups There are churches all around our area all worshipping God on Sunday and trying to do as Jesus wants. There are also other faiths like Muslims and Hindus. There are sports groups and choirs and exercise classes and support groups; they all give friendship and fun in the community. What groups do we belong to? Let's put them all on a poster so we can see how different we all are. We can pray for the churches and groups in Earley that they reach out to everyone who might be lonely or needing care and love. Bouncy ball prayers to pray for all these places.