1. Psalm consequences
The game of consequences is an old favourite. Using the consequences structure gives everyone a chance to write prayers of praise and worship to God. The more poetic people could help the less confident writers produce wonderful pieces of poetry and prayer. This idea can be done with a group of people of any size.
You will need: a piece of A4 paper, a pen and Bible for each person, perhaps a CD player and some music.
Choose a couple of praise psalms to inspire you in your prayers as a group. Good examples are Psalm 92, Psalm 95.1-7 or Psalm 148. Share in the reading by going around the group and reading two verses of the psalm each.
Give out the paper and pens and explain that you are going to create your own psalm of praise to God in a similar manner to the consequences game. Ask everyone to fold their pieces of paper into eight vertical sections, then unfold them so that the creases can be seen. Ask the group to:
- Write at the top a line of praise to God - eg, 'Lord, I worship you'.
- Ask everyone to fold this first line backwards so the words can't be seen, then pass their piece of paper to the person on their left.
- On the next section write an aspect of God's character starting with 'because' – eg, 'because you are good'. Fold your paper backwards and pass once more.
- Then write another aspect of God's character starting with 'and'. Fold and pass again.
- Now write two things about how wonderful God's creation is, such as 'Your mountains are big, your rivers shine in the sun'. Fold and pass on again.
- Write something God does for you personally. It could be something like 'You guide me'. Fold and pass on.
- Write a personal message to Jesus with 'because' in the middle - eg, 'I thank you, Jesus, because you died for me'. Fold and pass again.
- Write a resolution, such as 'Therefore, I will be glad and share your love with others'. Fold and pass one more time.
- Finally, open the pieces of paper and read the results out loud, perhaps over some instrumental music. To encourage you about how creative the results can be, here is an example that our home group came up with:
God, you are more powerful than the wicked men of earth.
You are the source of all our joy and wonder and beauty;
And love is your middle name.
Your mountains rise to greet the dawn, the seas roar at your sunrise;
You reveal yourself in ways that surprise us.
Jesus, you are cool, because you didn't just tell us the way, you showed us!
Therefore, I will praise and worship you forever!
Adapted from an idea by Paul Millard, taken from Sue Wallace, Multi-Sensory Scripture, Scripture Union, 2005, p. 19.
2. Premier Youthwork resources
This is a brilliant site to visit, with stacks of youth resources.
An example would be:
Read the two New Testament commandments of Jesus (Matthew 22.37-40) and discuss how, as a group and as individuals, you can follow these commandments this week.
Make a 'body word' - get the group to lie on the floor and spell out the word LOVE or GIVE, for example. Stand on a chair or ladder and take photos of their word, then stick the image in a prominent place to remind the group of their commitment to work together and love each other.
Gather some facts about the world's population from the internet: How many billion people live on the earth? How many islands are there? How many religions? How many rich? Share these with your group, then make a massive collage with pictures and a Bible verse from 'hundreds and thousands', Rice Krispies, sesame seeds, rice, etc. Make the point that when put together, these individual parts can produce a beautiful image.
If you know an engineer-type person who loves taking things apart, ask him/her to dismantle an old radio or a similar item from a junk shop. Wrap each part in paper, and hand them out one at a time as gifts. Each should receive an odd spring or a screw (not a great present!). Gradually, as they each receive a part, ask them what 'gift' you are giving them. Finally, show them a picture of the 'radio'. Make the point that, as separate part, your gift is useless to them. All the parts need to work together to be of any use. Pray with thanks together about the gift of God's love in Jesus and the gift of each other.
3. Party popper prayers
It's not only youth who can have a good time! It's good to be able to give thanks and celebrate God and one another, so why not play some appropriate uptempo party music and get excited about God?
Give each person a party popper (after safety reminders, etc) and go round the group giving thanks to God or praising him. Then, either each individual fires their party popper at the end of their own prayer, or go round the whole group praying, then let off all the party poppers together at the end with one great big 'Amen!'
4. Dice prayers
In Blaby Methodist Church, Leicester, among other methods of prayer we have started Dice Prayer. When we gather for prayer, there is usually a piece of soft music playing and then a reading from the Bible. Dice Prayer is like playing the dice game but people with a certain number get to pray for things that are already on the list. For example, a person shakes the dice, throws it and if it shows 1 then that person offers prayers for everyone in the group.
So, if you throw:
- offer prayers for everyone in the group.
- offer prayers for something special.
- offer prayers of thanks.
- offer prayers for families, friends and the church.
- offer prayers for the world.
- offer prayers for peace wherever there is war, trouble or strife.