An Interactive Prayer Space


Children’s ministry leaders are often busy running ministry for children during much of the adult ministry opportunities at their churches. Many ministry leaders are tired and in need of spiritual nourishment, just as much as they need community, creativity, the latest research, and fresh ideas. In many ways, they need to be refreshed by their Good Shepherd.

At this year’s Children’s Spirituality Summit, the Center for Faith and Children is thrilled to host a Prayer Room with several interactive prayer activities curated by the CFC team. Our vision behind this space is twofold–both to inspire ministry leaders and to offer an opportunity for them to enjoy God’s presence in playful ways.

Can Prayer be Playful?

At first, the words play and prayer may not seem to go together. We may conceive of prayer as a serious and somber time of “every eye closed, every head bowed.” But is stillness and silence the only way to pray? Can we enjoy God’s presence in other ways? Can we bring our feelings to God as we make faces in a mirror, knock down a tower of blocks as a lament, and write letters to God like we would a dear friend? We believe that we can, and even more, that we ought to make room to enjoy being with God in these ways. While there is certainly a time and place for serious prayer in which we pour our hearts out to God with words, there is also a place for just enjoying God’s presence. In our experience, children are much better at this than we are, and they can teach us how.

Interactive Prayer Stations

The prayer stations we chose were simple enough that they could be explained in a few sentences and that a participant could follow directions on their own without guidance or demonstration. Every station involves some materials, though no station is overly complex. We also tried to strike a balance of imaginative, artistic, active, and reflective stations. This list is by no means exhaustive–and we hope it leaves you with a new idea for a station of your own!

The stations we included were:

  • Praying in Color/Writing to God: This station is based on two books: Praying in Color and Writing to God. At this station, participants use colored markers or pencils to write or draw their prayers and add them to a display.
  • Prayer Loom: At this station, colorful yarn is pre-cut to fit a weaving loom and sorted into containers, with each color representing a different person, place, or thing to pray for. Participants select a color and weave it into the loom, adding their prayer to the tapestry.
  • Prayer Hopscotch: At this station, participants hop, skip, and jump their way through the Lord’s Prayer.
    Feeling Prayers: At this station, a feelings poster helps participants identify how they are feeling and a mirror lets them show Jesus how they are feeling. They are then invited to close their eyes and imagine how Jesus looks at them.
  • Good Shepherd Prayer Box: This tool is designed to help participants enter into imaginative prayer with scripture. Materials to retell the Psalm are collected in a box which can be used to play through the story imaginatively.
  • Prayer Labyrinth: The prayer labyrinth offers participants a tactile way to pray, tracing their finger through the smooth grooves of the bamboo maze. A larger walking labyrinth can be made with tape on the floor, rocks on the ground, or by ordering a labyrinth printed sheet.
  • Body Prayers: This station is based on the book Praying with the Body, and it includes poses for several different types of Psalms.
    Lament Prayers: At this station, participants are invited to pray “Why, God?” prayers, and to explore the feelings of things being “all wrong” by building and knocking down a tower. They are invited to end their time, looking at the fallen pieces and asking God to heal, restore and make new.
  • Breath Prayers: This prayer practice that is gaining popularity gets a playful twist when paired with an expanding sphere. Participants are encouraged to open the sphere as they breathe in and to close it as they breathe out, reciting the prayer phrase as they do so.

Each of these prayer practices is designed with a child’s strengths in mind, but can be done by a variety of ages. How could these interactive prayer practices bless your ministry? Perhaps you could create a night of prayer for your children’s ministry volunteers, set up a time when entire families could come try these out together, or invite your staff to try one or two of them with you. What ideas do you have about how interactive prayer activities could help refresh and nourish you and the people you serve?

If you are ready to go, you can find instructions for each station along with a shopping list and photos as a part of our Interactive Prayer Toolkit.

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