Do you ever find that your life is so messy that you just don’t know where to begin, especially when it comes to prayer? You aren’t alone, and there are ways that one can get through these times with a little helping hand from above.
Contrary to popular opinion, church services don’t have to be carefully structured and regimented to be spiritually nourishing. Even perfect things can be messy, and messy things can be just perfect. So says the pastoral staff at First United Methodist Church of Pasadena.
That’s why First United Methodist Church of Pasadena is bringing the concept of Messy Church to the people of Pasadena. A movement that has taken over communities across the world, Messy Church invites people of all ages to participate in religion in a creative and powerful way.
Focusing on hands-on activities, Messy Church also involves (but does not heavily push) the act of prayer. But instead of simply reciting prayers in a group, everyone is encouraged to interact in a new way – and here’s a few ways they will be making this happen:
1. Prayer Cranes
(One of our children will teach us how to make origami cranes.) Origami cranes symbolize prayers and blessings, and especially prayers of health and peace for Japanese people. In the event of a disaster, you’ll find Japanese people hanging origami cranes everywhere, believing that the cranes will carry people away from suffering. Fold a crane, and as you do, pray for health and peace for yourself and your loved one.
2. Arrow Prayers
Make a mini bow and arrow set. “Arrow prayers” are the kind of prayers we shoot up quickly to God at any moment, prayers like, “Help me, God!” “Thanks!” or “Wow!” What are your “arrow prayers”?
3. Dessert – Edible Heart Prayers
Use a cookie cutter to cut two hearts out of a piece of bread. Spread jam on one of the hearts, and then put the other one on top to make a sandwich. Psalm 119:145 says, “I call with all my heart, answer me, Lord, and I will obey your decrees.” As you make your edible heart, think or discuss: What does it mean to pray with all your heart? Why is it important that the person praying promises to be obedient to God? Do you think it makes a difference?
4. 5 Finger Daily Examen
The Daily Examen is an ancient form of prayer taught by Saint Ignatius. Trace your hand on cardstock and cut it out. Then, on each finger, draw images or write words to remind you to breathe, be grateful, feel, pray and look ahead. (We will print the full instructions from this website)
6. The Lord’s Prayer Play Bag (for preschool kids to do with their parent)
Parents, pull one item out of the bag at a time, reading the prayer and the explanation. Then let the child play with the item until they are ready for the next one. More info on items and explanations here.
7. Dots and Squares Prayer Game
(This is a play on the classic game of dots and squares.) Draw some dots in lines and columns on the paper (There will be an example.) Each player takes turns drawing a line between two of the dots. Eventually, you will be able to close up boxes. Whoever draws the line that closes the box can write or draw inside the box…
– Someone’s name- ask God to bless them and help them
– Something that you want to thank God for
– Something you would like to ask God for
The First United Methodist Church of Pasadena is hosting its August Messy Church session on August 4. The two-hour-long event will begin at 4:30 p.m. and end at 6:30 p.m. and will involve stories of prayer and plenty of uplifting activities.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a little unsure about prayer or even religion in general. Messy Church was designed to welcome all.
First United Methodist Church of Pasadena is located at 500 East Colorado Boulevard, in Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 796-0157 or visit http://fumcpasadena.org.