Arnold's creative prayers

When we think about Remembrance Day, and particularly Remembrance Day prayers, we can often think that they have to be solemn and silent and super-reflective, in order to be respectful of the serious nature of this day. But I don’t think we need to limit our prayers in order to be respectful of Remembrance Day.

Remembrance Day is such an important time. A time of thankfulness and remembering the immense sacrifice that so many people have made. Looking back at history is important, learning from history is important. Remembering our armed forces today is important. Striving for peace is important. And one really important part of Remembrance Day is passing on these stories and these important lessons to future generations. We won’t be around forever, and particularly the people who were alive during previous wars won’t be around forever to share their stories first-hand – we need to pass these stories on.

To me, this also means that we need to pass on a passion and commitment for praying for peace. A big way that we can do this, is by praying with children from a young age, demonstrating and modelling prayer to them, engaging them in prayer and encouraging them to pray themselves. Creative prayer is a brilliant way to do this, using a mixture of learning styles to illustrate prayer and help us to explore how we communicate with God, and leave time to hear his voice. So, today I want to share 4 different creative prayer ideas focused upon peace – creative ways to pray for peace.

All of these ideas could be used by individuals, families, small groups or within church services (and even perhaps in online services because, lockdown). If you want to see these creative prayer ideas in practice, you can watch our new video here:

Creative ways to pray for peace

Ripple Prayers

What you need: a container of water (or a natural body of water outside!), small stones

Take you small stones and drop them into the water. Watch the ripple that starts where the pebble hits the water and spreads out across the water. Think about the things that you have done, that have caused hurt or conflict with other people. Reflect upon the impact of your own words and actions, and how these can prevent peace.

Then, as the ripples begin to settle, pray and ask God to bring peace to situations in your daily life, particularly in the situations you thought of before where your words or actions led to conflict. Watch as the water stills, and the impact of the stone disappears completely – thank God for the peace and forgiveness that he brings to our lives.

Origami Peace Crane

What you need: a piece of paper

Origami cranes have been a popular symbol of peace since the story of Sadako Sasaki. Sadako was 2 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima (1 mile from her home), and whilst she amazingly survived the blast, she was later diagnosed with leukaemia caused by radiation exposure. She died aged 12, but before she died it’s believed that she folded over 1,000 origami cranes.

Here are some instructions for how to fold an origami peace crane.

This is a very powerful story to reflect upon, or discuss as a family/group, as you fold your crane. Think about the impact of conflict, especially upon innocent bystanders. When you have finished your crane, why not think about current conflicts taking place – whether in your own life, or in the wider world, and write them onto your crane to remind you to pray for peace in those situations.

Poppy Prayers

Poppies are another really important symbol of peace and remembrance, reflecting the poppies that grew in the midst of destroyed fields following WWI – life growing from destruction. We lay wreathes of poppies at memorials, wear our poppies as we approach Remembrance Day, it’s a very well-known symbol.

So, for these prayers, find a poppy – whether a physical paper one, a real poppy flower, or a picture of a poppy, and use this as a visual prompt to focus upon each of the following prayers:

Red Petals – those who have sacrificed so much in times of conflict. Thank God for the sacrifice of many people who have gone before us. Pray for those who continue to serve and make great sacrifices today.

Black Centre – to change and soften the hearts of leaders. Pray for leaders around the world whose actions have led to conflict, destruction, violence and death. Pray that God will change their hearts, bring them to know him, and lead them towards a path of peace.

Green Leaves – hope and new life after conflict. Pray for those who are working for peace, and helping countries to recover from the impact of war.

Stress Ball Prayers

What you need: Flour, balloon, funnel, wool, pen.

This is definitely one that you should watch in my video, because it was kind of entertaining and a bit of a mess… But basically, what you need to do is fill a balloon with flour – it’s harder than you think, I recommend using a funnel and a stick to push the flour in to get the balloon nice and filled.

Then, tie off the top of the balloon and decorate it – I used some wool for hair and drew on a little face, and you have a little stress ball friend!

Stress balls are a wonderful way to help us calm down, allowing us to better live out the direction to be “quick to listen, slow to anger” which can really help us to avoid conflict – I wrote about this more in my blog post all about what the Bible says about peace and conflict which you can read here.

Being able to slow down, instead of reacting in anger, is also a really good way to remind ourselves to pray rather than react out of our own emotions, and to pray over how to respond peacefully.

What situations are you praying for peace in right now? Be sure to let me know if you are trying any of these prayer ideas either in the comments, over on Facebook or on Instagram using the hashtag #PrayingWithArnold

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