Monday, 23 February 2015

Making our own labyrinth

So I (Red) have been thinking for a while about creating our own labyrinth. Prayer labyrinths have been used for centuries for quiet contemplation, walking slowly along the paths, in meditative prayer. Well, it's unlikely my kids will do anything slowly but I thought we could do our own version and give it a go. So with a roll of lining paper (£1 each, bargain!) and some sellotape, we made a path round the downstairs of the house! 
I got them doing this as I thought it would be fun but they did need a bit of assistance and it took a bit longer than we thought... But with our tempers intact (almost..) we managed it and then we created a few key spots to stop along the way.
As I said 'slow' doesn't really come into their vocabulary so by creating a few spots to stop, it encouraged them to stop and be quiet for a while. I let them choose freely what to write for these spots and they came up with some good ones like 'say sorry', pray for your best friends and what are you thankful for. Plus I put in some scriptural things to look up (which also slowed them down!!)

There's a short video at the bottom showing the whole thing, but I apologise for the quality as it was shot on my mobile in one take with kids interruptions, hiccups and an appearance of my hideous slippers!

It's funny how praying with them I have noticed how some things really appeal to each of them. Actually 'the seagull' as he has chosen to be known on here, my son, is always racing round at 100 miles an hour but he seemed to really embrace the slowed down pace of the labyrinth and the time to just sit and be. But Bluebell really just wanted to get to the end and draw, which was the spot she had designed! That's ok though because I think I just want to teach them about prayer and faith, and then they have the tools when they need them. And I guess we all have ways in which we feel most comfortable approaching God or praying so I want to allow them to do that too.

I think we might try this again when its warmer, in the garden, perhaps using chalk on the patio, or even grass clippings to create paths... we'll see!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Minecraft Prayer Space

This post originally appeared here last year but I'm trying to pool some of these prayer posts in the same place....

The 'God Building'
Inside on the Mezzanine Landing of the Chapel

I've been inspired by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes 'Teenage Prayer Experiment' due out as a book shortly which included her recent post, in which she encouraged her son to build a place of prayer on Minecraft (a digital game which enables kids to build worlds and creations using square blocks). Minecraft sounds basic but it actually has no end of possibilities! My youngest two are big fans of the game and so today (first day of the hols!) I set them to work creating their own Minecraft Prayer Spaces.

They actually loved the idea and took it on with great enthusiasm. I've got to admit I wondered whether they would just end up playing on the game, but no, they both took it seriously, we prayed first and they spent about 2 hours building their spaces. I basically just left them to get on with it and it's been interesting to see the ideas they have come up with. They had a Prayer space in their school recently and I think they were inspired by that as they both chose to have different areas with different themes in their spaces. It's also interesting how they have used the dynamics of the game to come up with different ideas. My daughter just came in and showed me how she had Jesus both walking on water and ascending to heaven!

Space to pray for animals and living things

My son has really gone to town and the pictures here are from his space. I don't think the pics really do it justice, it's really an amazing building and I think it would be great as a real building (although the cross on top might be a tad oversized! see pic above). It has two levels, glass walls, a chapel inside it, mezzanine level, underground room to pray for friends and family, and lots more. In fact it reminded me of the early temples, with an inner space and lots of different areas, including animals!

Once they had built their spaces I encouraged them to actually pray and imagine themselves praying in the space. My son said he liked the idea of having different areas to pray for different things and that he found this helpful when praying. He also liked the idea of having a prayer space within Minecraft, which is his favourite game. He really enjoyed building it and said that it made him think about why and how he prays.

This is a great idea and I am very glad Miranda highlighted it. It's so important to get our kids thinking about prayer, what it is, and what it can mean for them and their relationship with God. I really love new and interesting ways of thinking about prayer especially for kids and this one is a definite hit in our house! I'm hoping we can use this again in our family prayer time.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

What is Prayer?

We have been discovering what prayer is.


If you do pray, have you ever thought what its like, and have you ever thought what prayer actually is?

Well if you haven't thought about that, you're in luck! Because we have!


What do we think about prayer?

  • we use the things God created (our ears and mouth)
  • asking (politely) for things
  • talking to God
  • communicating with God
  • saying sorry 
  • saying thank you 

What does the bible say about prayer?

  • John 15:7 - Abide in me
  • Mark 11:24 - Praying in Faith
  • Luke 11:9 - Ask, Seek, Knock
  • 1 Timothy 2:1-5 - Intercession
  • Matthew 6:5-14 - The Lord's Prayer
(by Bluebell)
By Red:
For this activity I wanted to focus on bible study. We pray often with our kids but it's good to remind them and ourselves why we pray. So this was a session spent largely in our bibles, but to maintain their interest we used ipads too! So we started by looking at the question:
What do you think prayer is?
we wrote down on pieces of paper what we thought prayer was. Then we looked at:
What does the bible say about prayer?

Using ipads and bibles we searched for scriptures on prayer. (We happen to have ipads but you can do this on anything that can access google or (I recommend)

I allowed 5-10 miniutes for this and then we share some of the scriptures they highlighted (some of them Blue has posted above)

We then looked at:
What can we pray about?
and again wrote down our answers.

Finally the kids chose one scripture that had particularly spoken to them and made a sign to stick up in their rooms. We did this with paper and pens but if your kids are particularly adept on an ipad etc you can do this digitally!
It's great to have scripture around our house to remind us of God's promises to us. Plus for them particularly it is a reminder of something they have discovered for themselves, it means so much more to them then.

What I loved about this time was that it really helped my kids to see the bible as real, as something that they can use every day. Especially in this digital age when you can access the whole of the bible at the click of a button, what a great tool to have at our finger tips. Plus using google it was a bit like a treasure hunt and they loved that, with comments like 'oh I've got one', 'found another one', 'this ones good!' etc Also it engaged them on their level but enabled me to share some deeper things with them about prayer and faith.

So often when we spend time together  in prayer or looking at the bible, conversations just open up really naturally, it's giving them the time to think about stuff that often we don't, even as adults, which is really valuable. This time one of them drew a picture of 'God's Kingdom' and explained exactly what it was and the light of God, the glory shining out of it.  This was a real encourgament for her when I explained what the bible says about the Kingdom of God and how we can shine God's glory to those around us.