Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful // Colossians 4:2
Theology of Prayer
When we think of prayer, we often think of asking for forgiveness or praying to God to handle a certain situation the way we feel is right. We may ask for comfort, healing, justice, or help for others. Some prefer to pray alone, some prefer to pray as a group. Some ask others to pray for them, some pray in silence. Personally, I believe we are always in prayer. I believe God to be ever-present in our lives, and fully aware of what we are feeling and thinking in each moment. However, there are times of intentional prayer that help us to focus our inner-thoughts, and to help us grow our relationship with God.
We all have our own responses to what prayer is or should be. It perhaps is one of the biggest mysteries of the Christian faith. Does God answer each prayer we give? Is there one right way to pray? Does God intervene in a supernatural way?
Taking the perspective of a lens in process theology, God’s omnipotence and power is not coercive. God does not demand you to be a certain way, God gives free will that allows us to make choices. Prayer can be a practice that one can use to listen to God’s invitation on our lives. God is powerful, but God does not force God’s self on anything. God lures and persuades us into a divine partnership, otherwise termed our “vocation”. This is a partnership between humanity and God, to decipher what God is doing in the world, and respond to God’s call on our lives. God calls and we respond. Prayer allows us to listen to the voice that speaks to us, and helps us discern how to respond in that moment. This develops an open and relational world, not a one-way street, that God and God’s creations can work together to use one’s gifts to better the world.
Prayer is essential to God’s work in the world. Prayer is an invitation to us to be willing partners in the great dance that brings humanity into being a reflection of the nature of God.
Why Prayer Stations?
Sometimes, you need to do something different to engage individuals into moments of prayer. At times we can get into prayer routine – how often do we step back and recognize what we are actually praying when we say the Lord’s Prayer? I have found that Prayer Stations are helpful outlet to meditate through a guided prayer, yet let us focus on what God may be saying to us in the moment.
Prayer Stations are hands-on activities that help you focus on talking to God or listening for God’s voice. They can be very simple, but always purposeful. Having a guided prayer can bring us to meditate over things that we may not always think about. At a particular ministry event, you may have a given theme that you want your group to focus on. On this website, you will find the themes of forgiveness, self-image, peace, service to others, and what it means to be the body of Christ.
I find that creating a different ambiance helps guide the environment to be reflective. Lower the lights, play some music in the background. Be creative with décor and lighting. Whatever works best for your group at the time. Prayer stations are great for large group events, but can also be done with a small group of people or even individually. It would be wonderful if you could have a prayer room in your church, or perhaps even one prayer station available in a Sunday school room at all times for individuals to participate in. These are wonderful to use during times of worship or study. With each Prayer Station, there is an attached supply list with any instructions of what you need to set up.
Why add Scripture?
Throughout my young adult years, I have felt challenged by understanding Scripture in ways that can be applied to our everyday lives. I also feel that prayer and meditation are essential methods of sustaining our personal faith journeys. Prayer stations are a resource that can bring together a guided prayer based on a given Scripture, and allow the individual to experience that Scripture in a way that may allow them to relate a text written long ago to their modern life today. This can bring value to Scripture for those who may not study the Bible often, or help an individual who may struggle with the idea of Scripture having authority when they feel they cannot relate to its context.
As a United Methodist, I have a strong connection to the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. Holding Scripture, Tradition, Experience and Reason as authority means finding ways for those four factors in our faith to interact and bring us to a place of understanding how each of these themes impact one’s theological vocation. I feel that prayer stations can be a resource tool that can combine these four themes into an interactive form of worship for an individual and/or a group to experience.
When to Use Prayer Stations
Prayer stations are a universal tool that can be adapted to any person at any stage of their faith journey. Focusing a prayer station based off of a given Scripture can be a helpful way to experience Scripture and find ways to relate verses to our personal lives. I also feel that prayer stations, or interactive experiences during worship, are a great tool to use for those who may just “go through motions” of worship. In traditional worship services, the bulletin gives a list of order of worship, which typically consists of sitting quietly and taking in the service without moving from your seat (except for getting up to participate in hymns). This can bring forth a new tool for groups and/or congregations to use to change up their order of worship, or simply to use at a separate event to give members a new experience of worship through meditative prayer. The nature of the church in the sense of a communal worship experience can be powerful to an individual’s faith journey. These prayer stations can be a new experience for the congregation or other groups to participate in to help guide a devoted prayer time with God.
I have observed prayer stations typically in a youth ministry setting. Some prayer stations are based off of Scripture, some are based on a guided prayer. This collection contributes a resource that can be used for any age group and for multiple settings. It will help guide prayer and Scripture together that can be used for persons at a variety of stages of faith.
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