Are you involved in running a light event this Halloween? As many of you know by now, I really love light events as a fun, Christ-centred alternative to trick-or-treating, whether it’s a Light Party, a small family gathering, or Light Beacons outside serving your community.
These events can come in all shapes and sizes, and include games, creative activities (see my blog full of ideas here), food, whatever you want really. But have you thought about leaving space for prayer in your event? Whether its church families attending, or people you’ve never met before, light events are a great opportunity to encourage prayer, and to give people the chance to try praying, maybe even for the first time.
So, here are a few creative prayer ideas for light events!
Light a Candle
The classic. A super simple way to represent something that you want to pray for. Leave a collection of tealights in a quiet area (supervised depending on the age of the people attending), and a small sign encouraging people to say a short prayer and light a candle. This could be more specific, for example candles could be lit in memory of someone who has passed away, to pray for someone you know in need, or in response to a specific event such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack.
A great idea to have going on in the background for people to try if and when they would like. Set up a big noticeboard and leave pieces of paper, pens and pencils by the board. Encourage people to write or draw their prayers and pin them to the noticeboard. This can encourage a huge array of different prayers, from thank yous, to prayer requests.
Glow Stick Chains
This prayer activity could be done individually, or together as a big group. Give each person a glow stick and, as they are cracking the stick to make it start glowing, encourage them to pray for God’s light either in their own life or in the life of someone they know. Get them to use connectors to turn each glow stick into a circle and attach them all together like a paper chain!
Invisible Ink Labyrinths
Labyrinths, or mazes, are a great way to reflect upon and quietly pray about the journeys that God takes us on. Leave some mazes in a quiet space and allow visitors to use their finger to trace their way through the maze, thinking about the twists, turns and wrong directions they have taken in their own lives. Before the event, draw on the route to the centre with invisible ink, and leave some UV lights with the mazes for people to use to see this route, representing the light and direction that God brings into our lives.
If you’re eating together as part of your light event, why not say grace before you eat? You could use grace’s you already know, try using a prayer dice and encourage a guest to say the grace, or use this super simple one we use at Messy Church: “1, 2, 3. 3, 2, 1. Thank you God for all my food.”
This is a great activity especially if you have people attending who wouldn’t usually come to church. Hang up a series of washing lines and rip up bits of cardboard. Encourage people to write the questions that they would like to ask God onto the bits of cardboard and peg them onto the washing line. This can be a really interesting way to learn about the needs of your community.
Create yourself a post box (this could a large box with a slot for letters, or you can buy and decorate cardboard postboxes from craft shops) and leave postcards and pens by it. Encourage people to write their prayer requests onto the postcards and post them into your post box. Then, get the church ministry team, or those who attend morning prayer, to pray over these prayers in the coming weeks.
A creative prayer idea to reflect the idea that God brings joy and light into our lives. Find some scratch art (the pieces of black card where when you scratch off the black top layer, you reveal a colourful layer underneath) and some toothpicks. Allow visitors to use the toothpicks to write or draw their prayers, revealing the colours below. Either display these around the church or encourage them to take the prayers home to remind them of what they have prayed for.
This is a great, reflective but exciting activity to do all together, especially if you have a outdoor space that you can use. Create a small fire in a bucket (or a big fire if you have supervision and plenty of water available) and get each person to write something they are worried about on a slip of paper before bringing it forward and placing it in the fire (carefully). Talk about this representing how we are to hand our worries over to God through prayer.
Which of these prayer ideas for light events could you try? Do you have any other creative prayer ideas for light parties, light beacons or other Halloween alternatives?
Dear God, thank you for everyone who is involved in planning or running a light event this Halloween. We pray that these will all be a wonderful opportunity to bring your light into the darkness, and that all who attend will see and know your presence with them. Amen.