Prayer and prayer activities

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1 Prayer and prayer activities

2 Christingle Prayers and Prayer Activities Introduction The prayers and prayer activities in this document have been written for use in all contexts and for all ages, which you can include in your Christingle celebrations. Use them as exactly as written, or as inspiration for your own prayers or prayer activities. You may wish to include some of the prayers in the order of service for your Christingle celebration. Simply copy and paste the prayers you would like to use into the Order of Service template, available online at Contents Gathering prayers 2 Prayers of penitence...4 A prayer of thanksgiving...5 Prayers of intercession...6 A prayer for the offering... 8 A prayer for the lighting of the Christingles 8 A prayer of blessing...8 Children s prayers...8 A prayer of thanks for The Children s Society A prayer for neglected children.10 Other prayer activities General prayer points

3 Gathering Prayer You might like to invite the congregation to link arms with the person either side of them, including across any row or pew divides where possible, so that everyone is physically linked together as you all say this prayer opening prayer. Leader: Jesus, who left behind unimaginable riches and came to find us, All: Jesus, you are here. We share in God s love. Leader: Jesus, who came and walked alongside us to demonstrate God s love for us, All: Jesus, you are here. We never have to walk alone. Leader: Jesus, who showed us how to love all your children, especially those with no one else to turn to, All: Jesus you are here. Together, we can reach out and care for one another so all are included. Leader: We make this prayer, in your name. All: Amen. Invite the congregation to accompany their response line with a simple action. When they say the first part, they should put one hand in front of their eyes to symbolise people being in darkness. In the second half, they should remove it to symbolise the coming of the light. Leader: [cover eyes] Today we recall the time before Jesus came, a time when the world was in darkness because it didn t know the fullness of God s love. [uncover eyes] Jesus saw our need and gave up everything, so that we might be included in the perfect family of love with God. Inspired by his glorious light, each of us can seek to be a small reflection of it, a candle flame, as we choose to reach out to those who are lost and lonely, that they may be included in the light of God s love. Leader: Jesus Christ, light of the world, [cross hands across chest then open wide and up] 2

4 All: Lead us out of darkness, to be children of your light [hands pointing forward, slide one hand forward and the other follows]. Leader: Jesus Christ, who shines the light of love into our lives, [cross hands across chest then open wide and up] All: Lead us out of darkness, to be children of your light [hands pointing forward, slide one hand forward and the other follows]. Leader: Jesus Christ, who calls us to follow the way of light, [cross hands across chest then open wide and up] All: Lead us out of darkness, to be children of your light [hands pointing forward, slide one hand forward and the other follows]. Leader: Jesus Christ, who calls us to lay down our lives to help bring light to children in dark situations [cross hands across chest then open wide and up] All: Lead us out of darkness, to be children of your light [hands pointing forward, slide one hand forward and the other follows]. Leader: Loving Jesus, who led us out of darkness so we can become children of light, give us the brightness to shine in the world, the commitment to follow your light and the courage to face dark situations so that all can become children of your light. We make this prayer in your name. All: Amen. 3

5 Prayers of penitence You might use simple actions alongside each stage of the worship in order to symbolise independence/selfishness, repentance and surrender to God and a willingness to come alongside others in our community. Invite people to put their hands on their hips. Leader: Loving Lord, who gave up everything for us, we are sorry for the times when we think mostly about ourselves, our own needs, our own wants, our own comfort, our own independence, our own personal interests. We are sorry that we often seek to do very little for you, for those closest to us and for those immediately visible to us, for those who are on the edge of our society, hidden behind closed doors trapped by the fear, loneliness and hurt. Loving Lord, as we celebrate you giving up everything for us, we are sorry that we so often end up thinking of ourselves even more than ever, our own wants, our own comfort; our own way of doing things, our own special traditions. We are sorry that we often end up excluding you from a central place in our celebrations and don t do everything we can to share what we have so others can enjoy celebrating too. Invite people to open their hands up and out in front of themselves. Loving Lord, we are truly sorry and we want to be different. Help us to open our hearts to you, each other, and to all your children again. Help us to open our eyes to the work of The Children s Society, who can help us reach behind closed doors, into the lives of our bothers and sisters who need someone to show them love and care. Help us to open our hands in willingness to care more about you and your children, than ourselves. Challenge us and change us to generously share what we have so that all children can be helped and cared for in the way you desire, in a way that reflects your love. We make this prayer, in your name. Amen. May the Father s overwhelming love, Jesus sacrificial generosity and the Spirit s gentle hunger for change come and fill us again. 4

6 Loving God, restore us and renew us so we can reach out beyond ourselves to you, to each other, and to the children in our country who need our help. Inspire us to work together to make things different. Amen. Thanksgiving You might like to encourage the congregation to put their hands together and offer a round of applause alongside their response words each time. Explain that they will have to raise their voices to be heard over this and explain that this is a good thing, because it s right to make a joyful, loud noise to thank God for all He s done directly, and through the work of The Children s Society. Leader: Thank you, Jesus, for leaving heaven s beauty and splendour to come to find us. All: We praise you, Lord Jesus! You came to find us. Leader: Thank you, Jesus, for coming alongside us and drawing us back into the fullness of God s love. All: We thank you, Lord Jesus! You come alongside us. Leader: Thank you, Jesus, for showing us how to seek out and help all who are on the edge. All: We trust you, Lord Jesus! Yours is the perfect way to follow. Leader: Thank you, Jesus, for the work of The Children s Society and for every child they help, especially those who have not received the love and care all children deserve. All: We glorify you, Lord Jesus! You lead us to love like you do. Leader: Thank you, Jesus, that you give us all the chance to join you in reaching out to these children. All: We worship you, Lord Jesus! We want to give like you do. 5

7 Prayers of Intercession Leader: We pray for children growing up in families which are broken and frayed by abuse and neglect. Lord Jesus, it hurts to think about this. Part of us would rather not. We d rather look away. Help us to reach out, and come alongside them. We thank you for the Christingle and the ribbon that represents your loving sacrifice, wrapping itself around the world. We ask you to wrap your loving arms around each child in need today. Be close to each one who has not experienced the feelings of safety, love and companionship we expect from family; who is avoiding telling a parent or carer the things that are hurting them; or who is frightened of what might happen or of people finding out how hard things are at home. We ask you to keep opening our eyes to see them and help them, directly in our communities, and through the work of The Children s Society throughout our country. Come, Lord Jesus, All: hear our prayer. Leader: We pray for the work of The Children s Society. Bless their projects to help children and to champion their rights to our government. Help them to continue to challenge us to care, give and speak up on behalf of others. Bless every area of their work. Uphold their staff in your love and may every child who comes into contact with them continue to receive the love and practical care they need. Come, Lord Jesus, All: hear our prayer. Leader: We pray for the research and campaigning work of The Children s Society striving to raise awareness about those in difficult situations, and encouraging all to see things through the eyes of a child. Help us all continue to speak up for children who don t have a voice. And help those with power to hear what we are saying and prioritise children and their childhoods above power, popularity or money. Come, Lord Jesus, All: hear our prayer. 6

8 Leader: We pray for ourselves. We cannot love like you do in our own strength, we are quick to focus in on ourselves again and slow to remember those we cannot easily see, or whom we would rather not remember. We ask that you would keep filling us up so we can keep reaching out and coming alongside, just as you do. Come, Lord Jesus, All: hear our prayer. 7

9 The Offering of Gifts This interactive idea could be used during the offering to include everyone present in a symbolic act of generous response where people offer themselves, as well as their money to God and others. Using the flame template on page x Before the service, cut out enough flame shapes out of paper for everyone present to have one. Put these out with a pen and pencil on or under every seat or pew place. Before the offering is taken, invite people to write their name on their flame shape and to put this in the offering basket as it comes around, as a symbol of offering themselves to come alongside children and The Children s Society, whether in prayer, giving or action. Explain that when each of us commits to keeping our own flame alight, we can come together to form a great fire. Once the offering has been taken and presented in prayer, a couple of volunteers could take the flames to form a fire, perhaps up a wall or pillar or on a large sheet of card. Leader: Lord Jesus, who gave up untold riches for us, we offer you back today this small reflection of your love. We ask you to bless this money and the practical care and genuine love that it will help resource. We pray that every child helped through The Children s Society as a result of this generosity will receive a rich demonstration of your love. All: Amen. A prayer for the Lighting/Presentation of Christingles At this point in the service, the Christingles are lit and/or presented. Hymns, songs or carols may be sung, and the Lord s Prayer may be said, and/or the special Christingle prayer. Lord Jesus, I stretch out my hands and receive this gift, and I hold it tight because it is mine. My Christingle. Light, fruit, sweets, colour, but so much more precious than this. I hold in my hands a picture of your love. Lord Jesus, help me to remember those who have not known your love, and do not have anyone to turn to. 8

10 Today, as I hold my Christingle and remember you, I pray that you would make me someone, like you, who will reach out my opened hands to give and love like you do. Amen. A prayer of Blessing Invite the congregation to turn and face a neighbour on one side of them so that everyone is looking at someone else as you say this blessing. Encourage them to smile their biggest smile at each other as they do so. May the light that is Jesus lead you always. May your heart be more for the people around you than yourself. May your resolve be to reach out in love and come alongside those in need with God s generous compassion. And may your life be a witness of the blessing that comes with giving, for the sake of all God s children, and for the glory of God s name. Amen. Children s prayers Leader: Loving God, for the people who help us every day, All: Thank you, Lord. Leader: For the freedom we have to help others, All:Thank you, Lord. Leader: For the work of The Children s Society to help parents and their children, All: Thank you, Lord. Amen. 9

11 Leader: Loving Lord, we pray for children who have been harmed, or who have no one to take care of them, who need help to change their lives. All: Help us to change the world. Leader: We pray for the people we know, those we might be able to help. All: Help us to change the world. Leader: We pray for the work of The Children s Society, that they might change lives. All: Help us to change the world. Amen. A prayer of thanks for The Children s Society Lord Jesus, you came from heaven as a child and kings and shepherds saw your infinite worth. You came because you loved us, your children, and you gave everything for us because you valued us. Thank you for all those people, including The Children s Society, who work to follow your loving example. Give them everything they need to keep representing your heart to all the children they serve, children who face harm and abuse and have no one to turn to. Give them the courage to keep championing every child s infinite worth to governments, churches, social services and communities. Give us the strength to support their work to make your love known to all your children. We make this prayer, in your name. Amen. A prayer for neglected children Leader: All the children we might be able to help, through noticing among our neighbours, friends and family, any mums, dads or carers who are struggling and need our support. All: Lord Jesus, today, please help us to see. Leader: The good work of The Children s Society to support children, and the power that we have to help make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children. All: Lord Jesus, today, please help us to see. Amen. 10

12 Prayer activities Sharing our good gifts You will need: lolly sticks, a bowl of sweets and two containers containing wet sand. Before the session, write as many good gifts as you can think of on the lolly sticks and stick these in one container. (These might include food, home, friends and family.) Explain that these sticks symbolise all the good things we enjoy. Invite people to take one, thank God for the good thing then stick it into the other container, praying for children who don t currently have it/enough of it. Pass around the sweets. Lead a short prayer for The Children s Society s work and for us all that we will share what we have with these children. General Prayer Points Thank God for the visual symbol and reminder the Christingle provides of Jesus amazing love and how he calls us to follow him in laying down our lives for others. Thank God for the opportunity Christingle events provide to reach out to our communities, sharing the message of light and hope with many children and families, and helping thousands more by raising vital funds for The Children s Society. Pray a blessing on all the Christingle services happening this year that they will spread the message of Jesus love and raise vital awareness and money for The Children s Society s work with children. Thank God for the work of The Children s Society (founded by The Church of England) and all the work they do to support children through their projects helping children facing abuse and neglect. Intercede for the thousands of children and teenagers who are being abused and exploited. Thank God for the difference made by individuals, local churches and organisations such as The Children s Society. Pray for the heart of the nation and its leaders to change so children are prioritised. Pray also for the church that it would fully own its calling and responsibility to support families. 11

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