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The Practice of Prayer

The Practice of Prayer The third Sunday of the month is Family Sunday at First Presbyterian Church.  This sermon was a hands-on, interactive sermon in conversation with the young people of the congregation, and intended for everybody.

Lessons: Psalm 139:1-12; Philippians 4:4-7

Today is the first Sunday in Lent, and during Lent we are talking about ways to practice our faith – ways to practice loving God, our neighbors, our selves and the earth. Remember the hearts we made a few weeks ago? SHOW HEART (A construction paper heart with the words, “God loves everybody, including me, and including _____.”  The children were asked to fill in the blank with the name of someone they do not like.)That was a practice. The heart helped us to remember that God loves everybody.Today we are going to talk about the practice of prayer.

On the cover of your bulletin, it says that prayer is paying attention to God. And in the passage Isaac read,[i] the apostle Paul says we are to pray to God about everything. Absolutely everything. Bring everything, every part of our lives to God.

First, let’s talk about prayers.

We say prayers in church: Prayer of confession, the Lord’s Prayer, silent prayer, Prayer of Dedication, and so on.

I’ll bet many of you say prayers at home. INVITE RESPONSEI brought some books of prayers that were written for children and families …INVITE THE CHILDREN TO READ ONE FROM EACH BOOK …

Do you have favorite prayers you say at home?When my daughters were little, this book[ii] sat near our table, and we all took turns choosing a prayer before every meal. That’s why the cover looks as though it’s had things spill on it.

SHOW PRAYER CUBE – AND SAY WE WILL COME BACK TO THE PRAYER CUBE.The psalm we read together, Psalm 139, tells us that God is with us no matter where we go or what we do, so that means prayer can happen

  • at anytime

  • and in pretty much any way that we pay attention to God.

So besides prayers with words, there are ways to pray that don’t use words.We have done a lot of praying without words here in our church:SHOW EXAMPLES AND EXPLAIN/REMEMBER:

  • Paper cranes (last Advent)

  • Election prayer net, fall 2016 (photo)

  • Prayer stones from 2015

  • Glass pebbles 2012 and 2016

  • Candle from Blue Christmas

  • Post-its – 2016 (photo)

  • Labyrinth (photo)

ALSO OTHER CULTURES:

  • Bulletin cover (photo: Nepalese prayer flags)

  • Prayer bells (photo)

Today after worship, Royce Truex is going to teach us about a kind of prayer that is silent. You sit silently for about 20 minutes and you gently try to clear your thoughts. It’s called “centering prayer.”

There are even ways to pray with our bodies. This morning I’m going to teach everybody a body prayer.

Stand if you can; if you cannot, do the parts that you can do.

We begin with a gathering thought about the day:

Because we read the psalm, let’s start with thought from the psalm: No matter where we go, God, “even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.”

Now talk us through the prayer movements, but then we’ll do it without words.

  • Stand straight and imagine yourself with deep roots extending down to the ground.