Sidewalk Chalk Prayers

29 02 2012

This is one of my favorite creative prayer ideas, which I stole from Steven Case’s book Crash: Prayers from the Collision of Heaven and Earth.  We’ve done this activity twice: once on our high school mission trip last year, and once about a month ago during youth group.  Although the context was different in each situation, it worked really well for us both times and proved to be a great way to get students’ creative juices going! I could see this working really well as a community-building art activity, as well.

1. First, choose your Scripture.  (Case recommends choosing something simple.  We’ve done Ephesians 4:4-6 and Galatians 5:22-23 ).  Before your students arrive, write the verse out in big letters on a parking lot or sidewalk. Use big letters!!

2. Give each student a piece of sidewalk chalk, and spend some time explaining the concept of word associations (i.e. What’s the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word clock? Time.  Okay, what’s the first word that comes into your mind when you hear the word time? Race.  And so on.)  Tell them that they will be brainstorming word associations from the various words in the Scripture passage by drawing a line from the original word and adding their new word.  They can offshoot from any word in the parking lot, not just the original words of Scripture.  And they don’t have to write Sunday School answers…just the first

word that comes into their mind.

3. Remind them before they begin that this is a form of prayer.  (We made our students do this exercise in silence).  Then see what happens!

4. The debriefing is up to you.  The first time, we talked about the words the students had written; the second time, we had our students walk back over their words in silence.

Click on each of the photos for a better look!





Speak Truth in Love!

17 11 2011

This month, I’m encouraging our youth (and adults!) to stop gossipping, stop complaining, and stop talking negatively about other people.  Instead, we have challenged ourselves to speak truth in love, and be the salt and light of our schools and communities by refusing to participate in the drama that surrounds us.

On the first night of youth group this month, we evaluated ourselves based on the criteria given in 1 Corinthians 13, asking ourselves whether we really speak patiently, kindly, selflessly, etc. (Click here to download the evaluation worksheet we used).  And then at the end of the night, I texted them all the above image (which I got from Doulos Clothing) and asked them to set this picture as their phone’s background for the rest of the month, as a reminder of our commitment to speak truth in love.

So far….it seems to be working well.  Several youth who were not at the original meeting asked if I would send them the picture so they could participate.  And one of my youth yesterday said, “This is a lot harder than I thought it would be.  I didn’t realize how much I think negative thoughts and say negative things!”





wrinkles

20 07 2009

I’ll try to keep these silly posts to a minimum (I promise you, I can make a spiritual analogy out of anything), but I thought this was a good one to share:

We were running late for church yesterday.  And as we were walking up the steps to the sanctuary, I was making all of those last-minute adjustments: patting down my hair, making sure my shoes are on the right feet, that my clothes are on right-side-out, etc.  I looked down and noticed a wrinkle in my shirt but told Jordan, “Oh well, I think this shirt is probably representative of my faith anyway.  It’s probably fitting that I’m wearing it to church.”

Although he made fun of me at the time, I got to thinking about it and thought that my description was actually pretty apt.  After all, the Bible is more concerned about clothing than you might think:

“I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness…”

– Isaiah 61:10

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

– Colossians 3:12-14

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

– Ephesians 6:13-17

I don’t know about you, but I certainly have wrinkles in my robe of righteousness! As well as in my compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility, and patience …

Perhaps it is indeed better to come before God just as I am … wrinkles and all!