Every summer we end by doing a prayer chapel. We create 10-15 centers where people rotate around the room and pray. Each center has a different focus and usually something physically that you do in order to help you focus as you pray. It takes the average teen about 45minutes to go through 10 stations. Some however will take longer.
The great thing about this is that in one night our students spend 45 minutes or more in prayer. It is always a moving event and something that our students talk about all year. Many just needed a time and space and focus to talk to God.
If you would like to try a prayer chapel here are some tips I found helpful.
1. Call you local owned appliance store and ask for stove, dishwasher, and other small appliance boxes. You can use these to set up cubical like spaces that provide privacy while students pray. This keeps you from feeling like someone is looking over your shoulder and some of the prayer exercises need privacy.
2. Have everyone take off their shoes. This cuts down on the noise and distractions. Also play some background music. I have a CD called “Massage”. It is what you would listen to when getting a massage and it helps reduce background noice from people moving, crying, and the like.
3. Dim lighting is best. We use lots of candles. The lower light helps you focus only on the center you are at. It also helps you lower your guard because you can’t see others and know they can’t see you.
4. Be intential. Use prayer ideas from the internet and book but then think about things that you want your students to pray about and create your own. You may create a center that helps them pray about a serries you just finished or on areas that you feel need prayer.
Here are the centers we used this time:
Purpose: 1 John 1:7
-Write on the cross all the things you struggle with.
– “While Ezra prayed and made this confession, weeping and lying face down on the ground in front of the Temple of God, a very large crowd of people from Israel—men, women, and children—gathered and wept bitterly with him.” –Ezra 10:1
-We, like Ezra, need to confess our sins to God. Out of reverence and respect for God, lay face down and confess the sins you wrote on the cross, the sins that put Jesus there. Ask for God’s forgiveness from these sins.
– After praying, take the red paint and cover your sins on the cross. This symbolizes Christ’s blood which continues to cover our sins as we seek God’s forgiveness.
Purpose: To ask God to be in the center of our future decisions
-Read verse below.
-Use the pictures on the table to help you meditate on different decisions in your future.
-Pick one decision you want to pray about.
-How are you going to include God in this decision? What about once you have accomplished this decision? God knows His plans for you. Do you know your plans for God?
-Hold the picture in your hand and pray for God’s wisdom and guidance in this future decision.
Verse: –Jeremiah 29:11
Take a some time to enjoy these terrific tasty treats without talking.
When you’ve eaten all that you want, go to the other side of the table.
The Poor and Homeless
Purpose: To realize how blessed we are and that there are people that need your help.
-Look at the empty plate and realize what it would be like to not have a meal tonight, or even today.
-Then look at the pictures and think about how many people in the world go without meals, shelter, clothing, and so many other things we need to live.
-Read verse on next page.
-Then get on your knees, and pray for the poor and homeless and their struggles. Pray that someone may be able to help them, and that you may be that person.
Verse: Matthew 25:37-45
Lay Your Burden Down
Pick up weights and hold them out with your palms up.
Purpose: To see how something small can be a burden to our relationship with God over time.
-Read verse below.
-Think about the things in your life that are holding you back from giving yourself over to God. These could be stress, attitude, your past, an activity, apathy, etc. These weights symbolize the small things in your life that weigh you down.
-Then pray for God to help you lay your burdens down so that you can run the race without being slowed down.
Verse: Hebrews 12:1
Purpose: To identify things that you are allowing to control your life.
-Read verse below.
-Meditate on what you have let control your life and that you hold your decisions against. This idol could be anything from an object like money, to a person like a significant other, to a thing like work or school.
-Using the clay on the table, make a symbol or representation of that Idol in your life.
-Then, ask God to turn away from that Idol and help you place him back as your True God.
-Smash the idol you made. Don’t be afraid to smash away!
Verse: 1 Samuel 12:21
Purpose: To forgive others of the debt the owe us, as we have been forgiven.
-Read verses below.
-Write down someone’s name that you feel like owes you something on the monopoly money.
-Pray that you can truly forgive them of their debt to you and let go of what they did.
-Burn the money and as you do say out loud slowly, “I forgive you of this debt.”
Verses: Matthew 6:12
Purpose: To praise God for the details of the things he created for us to enjoy, for His love, wisdom, comfort, and everything that makes up who He is.
-Take a look at these different parts of nature lying on the table.
-Examine the leaves and the way each are so different,
-Pick up some dirt and feel it in your hands, and how unique the texture is.
-Take in the scent of the flowers.
-Taste the fruit. Do not eat it, but really taste it.
-Pick up the shell and listen to the noise inside of it and how crazy it is you can hear the ocean.
-Then pray to God, lifting up your hands in awe of His greatness. Just pour out your heart to Him for everything He has done for you.
Pray this prayer, but don’t just read the words. Meditate on them and speak the words from your heart and as though you are really saying them. You can even mouth what you are saying.
Prayers from the Psalms:
“Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Restore to me the joy of your salvation. I put my hope in You. You are my help and my shield. In You my heart rejoices, for I trust in Your holy name. Let your unfailing love surround me, Lord, for my hope is in you alone.”
Purpose: To pray and focus on one friendship you have.
-Think about one friend in your life that you want to pray for.
-Meditate on certain qualities about that friend you want to thank God for, struggles in your friend’s life you can pray for, and ways you can improve your friendship.
-Write that friends name on the wall. Place your hand on their name and pray for all the things you thought about. Ask God to give your friend what they need to strengthen their walk with Him, and also ask Him to help you be a better friend to them.
Verse: Psalm 18:24
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Purpose: To think and write out the specific things in life you are thankful for.
–Write on the wall a prayer thanking God for the very specific things in life you are blessed with. Think about the little things you have each day that you may take for granted.
Purpose: To paint the verse John 3:16. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
-Take a piece of paper and read the instructions on the back.
-Paint the images that come to your head when you read this verse in the color scheme given on the back of the paper.
-Be sure to fill up the whole page.
-When you are done, find the number on the back, match that number to the number on the floor.
-Clean off brushes.
When done with all the centers, wait on the next person to be done.
As you walk back to the student center, pray for each other’s walk with God.