Like many people, I am a visual learner. Seeing something helps me understand and gain perspective on things in a way hearing or reading about it doesn’t. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy interactive prayer stations. The hands on visual experience of it really helps me to engage and appreciate what I am learning about. It allows for a different kind of worship experience and for our student leaders to exercise some of their creative abilities. We have an experiential prayer night in our ministry every month or two and is typically a highlight for our students and adult volunteers.
One of the most impactful prayer stations we have done was a night focused on brokenness. It is a topic we can all relate to at some level. We realize we are not perfect and there are places in our lives that are cracked and imperfect, sometimes even painful. However, we are reminded through the prayer stations that in our brokenness is where we see God often working the most. Here is how to set up this prayer station night.
Set the mood with some quiet and reflective worship songs. Start the experience by talking about brokenness in Scripture and how God works within that brokenness to show His glory and love. If you are comfortable, share some personal stories of your own personal brokenness and/or brokenness you have witnessed in others’ lives. If you don’t have someone to share live, you can also find lots of short video clips that illustrate the idea of brokenness. Either way, follow up your sharing or video with the reminder that we are all broken and in need of God’s grace and love and that God can take something broken and make something beautiful with it.
Room Set Up
Set up room dividers in a curved line. Ideally, this would be done in a space adjacent to the Introduction. Also, if you do not have room dividers, be creative. The object is setting up a space that indicates progression. Post the quotes, songs and verses (provided below) in a line along the room dividers. Participants should be able to know where to start with the first reading and move along the wall reading as they walk. The readings are provided in a specific order for the purpose of bringing people into a certain frame of mind and heart.
Quotes and verses:
Sometimes we must be broken of our own pride and self-importance, before we are truly ready to give our hearts and our lives to Jesus Christ.
And in our brokenness, God finds his great opportunity. In Luke 9:23, Jesus said “He who follows me must take up his cross daily.” It is finally our own egos, our desire to run and control our own lives, which must finally be smashed and broken, so God can assume his rightful place as the ruler of our lives.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, 2 Corinthians 4:7
The Story of the Cracked Pot- https://www.moralstories.org/the-cracked-pot/
After the last reading, at the end of the curved room divider line, there is a bench with tons of pottery (cups, bowls, plates, flower pots, etc… gathered from a thrift store or donations. Try and get a wide variety of colors and patterns).
Post the following questions next to the bench with the pottery:
What in your life needs to be smashed? Pride, desires, attitudes?
What is it that God has asked you to do that you haven’t due to your fears or because you don’t think you are the right person for the job?
What things, weaknesses, physical and emotional, do you need to let go of so that you can live a free life to serve God and others?
Post or give the following instructions after the above questions have been answered:
Choose one of the various dishes on the bench, put on the goggles, stand on the bench where indicated and then smash the dish by throwing it on the ground in the designated area.
As the dish shatters think about what you are asking God to smash in your life so he may use you for greater things. Or perhaps you are letting go of a weakness and becoming obedient to Gods invitation to use you. In either case, as the dish smashes, take joy in the fact that God will use the pieces to create a beautiful mosaic.
Note: During this activity, feel free to have soft music playing in the background.
To end the prayer stations experience, bring the group back together for a time of worship and celebration of what God is doing in their lives. Have a few students share about the experience.
After the activity is over, collect all of the broken pieces of pottery. Find someone in your ministry, ideally a student or two, who is artistic. Have them use the broken pottery pieces to create a piece of artwork. It could be the name of your youth ministry, an image of something in nature, a cross, etc…something that is meaningful to your group. The idea is to have a physical representation of the beauty that brokenness can help create when given over to God. For example my students spelled out the name of our youth group and we have the mosaic hanging in our youth lounge.
When you have your art piece completed, have the group view it and remind them that there is beauty in our brokenness. Review some of the Scripture and quotes they read and contemplated during the prayer station experience. Place the piece in a highly visible area so your students will see it regularly.
I pray that this activity is as impactful and meaningful for your youth ministry as it was for ours.
USED WITH PERMISSION FROM FRANK NEWBURN