Multisensory Prayer Stations
The goal of worship/prayer stations are to allow people to experience God in multiple ways, using the ways that they learn best and allowing them to make connections with the world and each other. At least once a quarter, and sometimes more often depending on how they might fit in, instead of a sermon we set up multisensory prayer/worship stations around the sanctuary. At the start of the time we would normally have a sermon, we introduce and explain each station and then allow the congregation to self select which stations they would like to visit. We also play music in the background and more recently we have also provided a short slide show of images for those people who would prefer to stay in their seats and meditate or simply take in what is going on around them.
Usually there are four to five stations for people to explore. Some of these may involve art, use of smells or tastes, a hands on mission project, meditation, prayer, games, and various building materials (legos, clay, building blocks) among other things. It has been my experience that stations are a wonderful way to encourage intergenerational worship as the children love to do the hands on activities. They are also very useful in introducing people to different forms of spiritual disciplines. For instance we use art to create prayers, we introduce different forms of meditation or ways to pray, and we practice using gratitude to change one’s perspective. It is a way for the congregation to be actively engaged in worship and community building.
It is also possible to have a worship/prayer station set up at the back of the sanctuary or somewhere else in the church on a regular basis that would focus on a particular theme or church season. For instance, you could set up an Advent based station that would be the same every week during Advent for people to visit as they wished before or after worship.
Here are a few example of Worship/Prayer Stations:
Station used at the Gratitude Service before Thanksgiving:
Wheat and Chaff: Many of us will eat at least one piece of bread on Thanksgiving. But getting wheat for bread is not an easy job. It requires separating the wheat from the chaff. This process is often referred to in the Bible. The wheat is the solid, good stuff. The chaff is the fluffy bad stuff. Throw the wheat in the air, and the heavier wheat berries fall straight down, while the chaff wafts away with the wind. We want to think of ourselves as the wheat, but actually it isn’t that simple. The chaff is an integral part of the plant, not some sinister fluff stalking the grain. Separating the wheat from the chaff is not about separating good folks from bad. That’s too easy. Instead we are all wheat and chaff together. Separating the wheat from the chaff involves breaking one’s lesser tendencies from the better. At this station you will consider your wheat – things you are thankful for, that feed you, that provide growth – and your chaff – what needs to be blown away to help the wheat fully emerge, what needs separation, what needs to be let go of in order to help you grow. Play with the wheat. Use the rolling pin to crush the stalk and aid in separation. If you wish write your elements of “wheat” down on the “bread” paper and put it in the bread basket. Write down your “chaff” and drop it into the basket on the floor.
Station focused on Images of God:
God is a Fortress
Multiple Bible verses describe God as a fortress that shields us and protects us. Use the blocks on the table to build a fortress that reminds you of God. Build together with others, or by yourself. If you don’t want to build, we invite you to sit inside our ready made fortress on the floor and pray or simply sit in quiet for a few minutes thinking about how God is surrounding you and protecting you right now.
Station focused on Discerning our Gifts:
Narrow and Discern
Look at the list of spiritual gifts posted at this station. Using the paint chips start at the top and write a general gift you have or that you see in the community. Continue to list on the next color sections ways to use that gift. End at the bottom with one small practical commitment of how that gift might be used here at church.