Prayers of adoration for all ages together

1. Flower cross

A cross covered in flowers (copyright Ben Clymo)

At times of joy, praise and thanks it is good to be able to express these together as a group where everyone of any age can join in. One way is to encourage everyone to bring a fresh or artificial flower and leaves and during an extended time of praise/singing/instrumental music, people can come when they feel ready (not when they are told!) to offer their flower/leaf as a symbol of their thanks, praise and adoration. They should thread them onto a cross with a sturdy base that has been covered with chicken wire or something similar to hold the flowers/leaves – the effect is usually stunning!

Take it further

Adapt the theme of symbolic or representative items for thanksgiving that could be stuck with Blu-Tack to a wooden cross - eg, photos of friends and family, or anything else people would want to offer to God in praise, thanksgiving and adoration.

2. Reflective praise and adoration

Duggie Dug Dug's Action Songs Vol 1 & 2 is a DVD that is brilliant for teaching action songs using British Sign Language (BSL) signing for the deaf. Doug Horley (known as 'Duggie Dug Dug') teaches the actions for each stanza of each song. You can learn the songs yourself or you can play the DVD, with him teaching everyone as the signs and the words appear on the screen. A particularly gentle song of praise and adoration with BSL signing is 'King of Love'.

Take it further

In the 10-15 second instrumental sections you can encourage folks of all ages to add their own personal prayers of praise, thanks and adoration.

3. Parachute prayers

A multi-coloured parachute

Everyone should be equally spaced around - and holding on to - the edge of a parachute (or very large piece of circular strong material). Place a foam ball in the centre and raise the parachute as one, launching the ball into the air. Whilst it's in the air, take it in turns around the circle to say/shout/sing short prayers of praise and thanks to God by the time the ball lands back on top of the parachute. When each one says a prayer, everyone agrees together: 'We thank you, Lord'. Make this a fun prayer time.

The physical movement of air provided by the parachute can be quite exhilarating and helps to show that praying does not just involve closing eyes and sitting still.

Examples could be genuinely anything! Encourage all to be creative and free in their thanks and praise:

For the air we breathe and for the life you give
All: We thank you, Lord.
For the people we love
All: We thank you, Lord.
For my favourite teddy bear/iPod/game
All: We thank you, Lord.
For trips to the seaside
All: We thank you, Lord.

You could also lead into the Lord's Prayer by launching the ball up in the air with the parachute for each stanza/line. This allows the prayer not just to be rattled off but gives space and thinking time for each stanza/line.