A collection of physical ways for groups to pray for people to come to know Jesus.
You might organise these ideas as a session of active prayer fun for families at your church or in the park, maybe bringing in a bouncy castle to collapse on at the end and with lots of healthy snacks to keep everyone going.
Alternatively, you might pick out one or two activities to use in groups or services during the week.
Prayer ropes are not uncommon as an aid to intercession in Orthodox Christianity, and of course prayer beads are well known in the Catholic tradition.
A prayer rope is basically a way to focus our prayers for others or to become still before God. Here the tying and untying of the prayer knots makes concrete an opportunity to pray for different people and situations.
You will need a long, fairly thick three-stranded piece of rope—enough to create a circle on to which each person in the group can hold. You will also need a number of shorter pieces of rope of different colours, at least one for everyone in the group.
• Sit in a circle and then pass around the large, thick rope. The leader should then tie the two ends together firmly.
• Explain that many Christians around the world use a rope with knots to help them pray. The central knot is often in the shape of a cross.
• The circle is a symbol of God’s love that goes on for ever and ever and which holds all things together.
• The cross is the guarantee of that love and the way we know that God’s love is for each one of us.
The rope is made of three cords intertwined and this is symbolic of the Trinity—Father, Son and Holy
Spirit—the three ways in which we experience God who is nevertheless One.
• Now hand out the smaller, coloured pieces of rope.
Invite everyone to knot these on to the larger rope.
These represent prayers for someone they know to come to know Jesus for themselves.
• Once all the coloured ropes have been tied on, invite everyone to talk about why they’ve chosen to pray for this person. Explain that you are all now going to pass the rope around so that everyone holds on to a different knot for a very short time. The time spent with each knot will depend on the size of the group, but this should be no more than half a minute. As people hold on to the different knots, invite them to pray for the people who have been mentioned, either silently or out loud. Assure them it doesn’t mean they have to remember exactly who said what about each knot.
• It will help to have some simple words to say as a signal for the knots to be passed on for the next pause for prayer, for example: Thank you God that you love us all.
• Once all the knots been passed around, or when you think the time has been long enough, invite everyone to untie the knot in front of them—apart from the knot in the larger rope—as a way of showing that you trust that God has heard your prayer.
• You could make the prayer rope available in subsequent sessions at church and encourage people to go up and tie on a piece of rope whenever they want to, as an expression of committing a particular person to God’s love.
The cross is central to our Christian faith and it is the way we can come close to God in prayer. In this active prayer exercise, a group can explore a range of ways that a cross can be made and expressed with the body.
Practise them together, then, for the actual prayer, the leader can invite everyone to make the cross shape and pray for a different person to know Jesus until the next shape is called. Keep it fast-moving.
• Cross arms out in front of the body in an X shape.
• Cross fingers in front of the face in an X shape.
• Cross over the right hand to touch the left elbow and then the left hand to touch the right elbow.
• Cross over the right hand to the left hip and then the left hand to the right hip.
• Cross over the left hand to the right knee and then the right hand to the left knee.
• Touch the left earlobe with the right hand and then cross the left hand to the right ear lobe.
• Repeat these movements fairly briskly.
• Repeat them in a sitting position, including a new one of crossing over the right elbow to touch the left knee and then the left elbow to touch the right knee.
• Repeat some of these movements sitting crosslegged on the floor.
• Repeat some of these movements lying on your back with your hands crossed behind your head and from this position touch different parts of the body with your elbows, making sure it is always opposite-toopposite.
• Repeat with your eyes closed!