The Children’s Ministry team at my church tries to think outside the “usual” box as often as it can. Last year, they joined the Prayer Ministry team to plan, prepare for and oversee an intergenerational Lenten experience, something they called Generations of Prayer. Each Wednesday evening, all were invited to begin the event with a soup supper, during which one of the pastors would share a scriptural passage and study on prayer that included a table-top activity to match their study, usually aimed at children. Various activities were lined up each evening to appeal to different ages, though most people despite their age wanted to do everything offered!
The idea was for people to experience prayer in a wide variety of ways: creating something to take home to help in personal devotions, leaving something to share with the gathered faith community throughout the week and especially on Sunday mornings, and growing in their relationship with God. Weekly activities included designing individual prayer bracelets, making a personal Lenten prayer center to take home and use (candle, devotional, journal), weaving a fabric wall hanging for the congregation to tuck in personal prayer offerings/requests (which the Prayer Team used to pray with each week), cutting out fabric and writing on prayer flags to hang over the entrance to the church’s sanctuary, designing and writing prayers to shut ins. We offered persons the opportunity to write a prayer in sand, writing prayers to share on posters, dropping pebbles into a shell bowl of water, taking away a prayer they most needed that day, creating prayer books of images to use in meditation, sitting in a quiet nook with a prayer shawl, lighting a candle for someone/something, creating icons using various faces of Christ.
Our mission project for the season of Lent was the challenge from our senior pastor to take a small, ceramic piggy bank (available in the foyer of the church) and decorate it. Then use it throughout the season of Lent and return it on Easter, decorated and filled with “change” going to No More Malaria. They were our Pigs on a Mission and never did a congregation have more fun! (They continue to this day, inspiring their owners to remember and pray for others, and collecting offerings for whatever the present challenge.)