Take a Prayer Walk
by Colonel Marianne Adams, Norway, Iceland and The Faeroes Territory
Some years ago I attended a Sunday school teacher training course. The course stressed that students retain more information when teachers apply multi-sensory teaching methods rather than solely relying on traditional, teacher-directed lectures. Learning is enhanced when teachers make use of interactive, visual aids and invite students to take part in motor activities.
Colonel Marianne Adams, Norway, Iceland and The Faeroes Territory
For years I had applied these principles with children, but I never thought of trying them with adults. In recent decades, visual stimulation via multimedia presentation has become increasingly popular in worship services, but creating opportunities for movement within the worship context can be challenging.
One particular worship event I enjoy is prayer walking. The first time I went on a prayer walk I felt very much out of my comfort zone. However, the same prayer walk proved itself a real blessing to the first-time guests in the meeting. And I was really surprised that days later I still remembered the words I had read, the music I had heard, the pictures I had seen and the prayers that had been prayed. The prayer walk made a lasting impression.
The following is a prayer walk with an Easter theme
- Form a group of creative people to prepare the stations.
- Set the location of the prayer walk (a Salvation Army hall, a park or open space).
- Create a visually stimulating scene for each station. Select colourful material, wood, rocks, plants, flowers, pictures and posters to set the scene.
- Make use of multimedia, if available.
- Each station should have a particular focus. Choose Bible verses, songs, poems and subjects for prayer that go with the theme. Print the chosen activity and necessary text on pieces of paper for each station.
- You may wish to choose a group leader to read the selected text at each station to the group.
- Use quiet background music and fragrance to set the mood.
- The prayer walk may be taken in a large group with a leader, or individuals may choose to walk independently through the stations. Place chairs at each station for the physically disabled.
Set the scene in the hall so it may be utilised during the week ahead of Easter. Extend the invitation to take the prayer walk at set times during Passion week.
Here are some ideas for seven prayer stations. Suggested songs have been taken from The Song Book of The Salvation Army.
Theme: Worship the King
Scene: Purple cloth and branches
Bible verses: John 12: 12-15
Song theme: Majesty
Prayer subject: Praise and thanksgiving
Theme: Focus on Christ
Scene: 30 silver coins on dark material; pictures of material possessions (money, houses, work, cars, etc); picture of Christ
Bible Verses: Luke 22: 1-6
Song theme: Our Father's world ('This is my Father's world', verse 3)
Prayer subject: Materialism in the world
Theme: The servant King
Scene: Cloth on table; towel and basin, or broken bread
Bible verses: John 13:1-17
Song theme: Service ('My life must be Christ's broken bread')
Prayer subject: Strength to serve others
Theme: The suffering world
Scene: A table covered with red material; crown of thorns; whip, sticks and stones; a picture of Christ on the cross; pictures of war and suffering; a broken globe
Bible verses: John 19:1-6
Song theme: Sacred hands of Jesus
Prayer subject: Fragmented world, war, famine, persecution, broken lives
Scene: A wooden cross; three long nails and a hammer; pieces of paper, pens and drawing pins; a loud hammering sound
Bible verses: Isaiah 53:1-9 or Luke 23:27-43
Song theme: The Cross
Prayer subject: Our sins. The participants should gather around the cross. They write their name on a piece of paper. While one member of the group nails the pieces of paper to the cross, the other participants confess their individual sins in silent prayer.
Theme: The garden of loss
Scene: Make a small garden out of plants, flowers and green material. Create a rock scene that resembles the tomb with a round stone covering the entrance. Print the following words on pieces of paper: loss of hope, loss of work, loss of future, loss of a close friend or family member, loss of faith in the Saviour.
Bible verses: Matthew 27:57-61
Song theme: Purpose in life
Prayer subject: People who have experienced loss, or are searching for purpose in life
Theme: Celebrate the risen Lord
Scene: On white cloth and gold-coloured cloth, place an empty cross by an empty tomb
Bible Verses: John 20:11-18. As the first words of the verses are being read, light a large candle
Song theme: The risen Lord
Prayer subject: Expressions of thanks to the risen Saviour