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!

Shining Light Pictures

This craft is a very satisfying and visual way of exploring the concept of bringing light to darkness and revealing what is hidden. It’s a great activity to do if you are thinking about Jesus as the light of the world and our job to bring that light and hope too.

You will need: plastic wallets (I used ones that are open on the top and one side, like these), Sharpies or permanent markers, black card or paper, white card or paper, scissors.

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Using Sharpies, decorate the front of a plastic wallet with pictures and words about light and Jesus the light of the world. If you put a sheet of white paper into the folder while you do this, it gives a clear background to help you when you are drawing and colouring your design.

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When you have finished, take the white paper out of the folder and replace it with black paper. It will now be much harder to see your design.

Cut a piece of white paper to look a little bit like a torch beam or a ray of light and place it inside the folder, between the folder and the black paper.

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As you move the paper ‘beam’ it will highlight parts of your design as if you are shining light on it in the darkness.

Talk about:

  • the comparison between the darkness and the ability to see more clearly and in colour
  • What does it mean to be light in darkness?
  • What things help to make the world a brighter, happier and better place?
  • Where could we shine light and help to make our communities and homes brighter places?

Have fun!

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!

Noah’s Ark Exploration Session

We’ve been experimenting with an after school club for adults and children together and it’s been going very well!

Our structure is very simple so there is minimal preparation needed, but we have been really pleased at the level of engagement from both children and parents.  Every week we tell a story, ask some wondering questions and then let everyone choose what they want to do. At the end of the session we come back together and share what we have been getting up to.

Choices include:

  • a simple prayer activity (with Noah’s ark we chose an animal to say thank you to God for)
  • a book corner with Bible stories
  • drawing
  • Lego
  • play dough
  • playing with the story sets
  • cake and drinks to help yourself to

You can see from the photos above what people got up to in our Noah’s ark session!

Light Peg Prayers

This is a really simple but effective idea to help children to think and pray about Jesus bringing light and hope into situations.

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You will need: A String of peg lights (or fairy lights with paper clips to fasten prayers to the string), paper, pens, photos of people, photos of places from magazines or the internet.

Ask children who they know who they would like to pray for, or which places they think need help and hope at the moment. They can write or draw them on paper or use photos. Turn on the light string and peg the photos and pieces of paper to the string. Pray that these people and places will have the light of Jesus in their lives and will know that he loves them.

Epiphany Star Biscuits

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Even though Christmas day is over, Christmas is not!

This is a great activity to do with children as you celebrate the wise men arriving in Bethlehem at Epiphany after following the star.  If you have access to an oven, you can bake the biscuits with the children during your session. Alternatively, bake the biscuits beforehand and let the children decorate them!

You will need: An oven, greaseproof paper, a baking tray, 200g butter, 250g plain flour, 75g cornflour, 100g icing sugar, a pinch of salt, star cookie cutters, icing and sprinkles to decorate

  1. Set the oven to 180C and preheat.
  2. Beat butter and icing sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Sift in flour, cornflour and salt and mix together to make a dough.
  4. Roll out dough to the thickness of a £1 coin and cut star shapes with the cookie cutter
  5. Put star shapes on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins
  6. Cool on a cooling tray and then decorate with icing and sprinkles!

Talk about:

What is it like to go on a long journey? How do you know where to go? What does it feel like to find something you have been looking for?What do you think the wise men felt and thought when they found Jesus?

Pray: Eat the biscuits and pray that this year we will all come to find out more about Jesus and how much he loves us.