Mothering Sunday Button Thank You Prayers

Next Sunday is the day when we celebrate Mothering Sunday. It was traditionally a day in the middle of Lent when people who worked were able to have time off to visit their mothers and their ‘mother’ church, where they might have been baptised. One of the most popular readings to use on this day is John 19: 25- 27, when Jesus creates a new community of support for his grieving mother when he connects her with the disciple John, who takes her into his home as his mother. Just as John becomes a support for Mary and vice versa, in life it’s not necessarily just our mothers who give us ‘motherly’ or parental care. There are so many people, especially in church families, who form a community around us to help support us and give us strength. To help celebrate and give thanks for mothers and other caring figures in our lives, here are some prayers using an item you can easily find at home. Find a button and hold on to it when you pray.

Buttons hold things together

Who do you look to to help you when things are busy and stressful? Who can help you to figure out what to do when you are confused about how to keep going? Who helps when it feels as if your world is falling apart? Think of them and say thank you to God for them.

Buttons are strong

Think about the times when you have felt sad, upset or afraid. Who has helped you to be strong. Who is the strongest person you know? Thank God for those people.

Buttons come in different shapes and sizes

Those who care for us and keep us safe might be mothers, but they also might be other people in our lives. Try and count in your head how many different people have helped you during the past week. Thank God for each one of them.

When buttons are missing we notice and things don’t hold together as well as they did before

Some of the caring figures in our lives may have died and we miss the fact that they are no longer here. Take a moment to remember them and the love they shared with you. Thank God for them.

Prayers for peace

Here is a very visual and watchable way to help children to pray for peace and the bringing together of communities. You can also use things you are very likely to have a home, which is always a welcome bonus!

You will need: Kitchen roll, water, 2 cups, food colouring

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Take 2 cups and fill them about 2/3 full with water. Into each cup, mix a different food colouring so that each cup’s water is a different colour. Try to get as strong a colour as possible.

Cut a strip of kitchen roll as long as a sheet of the roll and about 5cm wide.

Talk about divisions in communities we know or live in. What causes such divisions? Who or what helps to heal divisions and bring people together. Think about one of the names for Jesus which is ‘Prince of Peace.’ What does that mean? How can we help to bring about peace?

Think of a situation where there is division e.g. in a war. Put the paper towel as a bridge between the two cups, with each end of the towel in on of the cups. Pray that God will help to heal the divisions and bring people together in peace, as you watch the coloured water ‘climb’ up the towel, meet in the middle of the towel and combine to form a new colour (e.g. red in one cup and yellow in the other will lead to an eventual combination of orange in the middle). Try different colours for different situations and watch your peace prayers bring about new colours!

Rainbow Prayers

Rainbows have been such an important symbol during the Coronavirus crisis of how we are coming together as a community and supporting each other. Here is a prayer activity that children can easily do with their families at home.

You will need: items in the different colours of the rainbow- red, yellow, orange, green, blue, indigo and violet. You might want to make it a challenge to find one or two items of each colour inside or outside the house or you might use a product that has lots of the same things in all colours e.g. Lego

Ue the items to pray:

  • Choose a colour, hold that colour item and thank God for as many things as you can think of that are that colour too.
  • pray for people that each colour reminds you of
  • Allocate types of prayer to different colours- choose a colour and pray that prayer e.g.

red- people who are ill

orange- people who need to be brave

yellow-thanks for things that make us happy

green- the environment

blue- people who are sad

indigo- people who take care of us

violet- questions you would like to ask God

  • draw rainbows and ask God to bless people in your community. Give the pictures to neighbours or hang then in your windows

Take Home Prayer Activity: Coin Prayers

Its often really useful to have a prayer activity to send home with children so that they can spend time during the week connecting with God.  This is an easy activity to put together and send out and works really well if prayed with someone else, taking it in turns to toss the coin.  It might help to practice the activity with the children before they take it home, so that they can get right on with praying!

You will need: Enough real or plastic coins for each child, a print out of the prayer activity for each child (click here to print out a sheet with the activity x6 per page).

Using playdough to pray and respond

Play dough is a well beloved, cheap and easily accessible material and can probably be found in most church children’s areas. There’s so much that can be done with it: praying, playing and responding to stories and teaching. Here are some ideas to get you started…IMG_3519

Praying with Playdough: 

Responding to stories:

  • Play dough faces
  • Play Dough Mats
  • Play dough mark making– roll the playdough out flat and use a variety of mark making items- lolly sticks, lego blocks, buttons, bottle tops, plastic knives, to make pictures of the story you have just heard. Children might want to make a picture of a key event or a key character, or write some words that relate to the story. Leave some time at the end  of the activity so that they can share what they have done!
  • Play dough models: provide a collection of collage and construction items such lolly sticks, pipe cleaners, buttons, feathers, card and ask children to use play dough along with these items to  make models of a character or event from the story. Again. leave time to share!

Play dough recipes:

Beeswax Prayer Candles

Lighting candles is a popular way of signalling a prayer and can be a very moving experience. This craft is an easy way to let children make their own candles and to think about situations they’d like to pray for. The activity also lends itself really well to any activities you might be doing that are light related.

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You will need: Beeswax sheets, scissors, candle wick (this will usually be supplied with the beeswax sheets), sharpies or permanent markers

Cut the beeswax sheets into strips. I used strips roughly 30cm x 5 cm. Cut wicks about 7 cm long.

With the marker pens, write names of people or situations you want to pray for on the strip.

Place a wick at one end of the strip and roll the strip up like a scroll. The wick should be right in the middle now. Gently press the end of the strip against the body of the scroll so that it stays put.

Light the candle and pray for the situations and people you have written on the inside. The honey like smell of the beeswax will come through as an extra sign of lifting up prayers to God!