Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Time With God 2011

For the past few years once or twice a year our church has had a 24 hour prayer event that we call Time With God. There wasn’t one scheduled in this year but my wife and I began to feel that is was time for one. So last weekend we arrange it and again had people praying in our small church building around the clock. We had a number of different prayer stations and multi-sensory activities. For instance one was a multi-sensory meditation on Psalm 51 using horse radish source to remind us of the bitterness of sin, grape juice for God's cleansing and honey for sweetness of God's word.

Simple Beginnings
I think the ethos in Time With God has always similar to 24-7 prayer. But when we started we just opened up the rooms in our little church building for people to shut themselves away in and seek God. There were CD players in each room, we supplied people with candles and some guidelines and we encouraged people to write on flip chart paper and blu-tack it to the walls.

People in the church booked times over the 24 hour period which amazingly filled up even through the night. We managed to arrange it so we always had at least a couple of people in the building. The time flew by and some people began to happily book two hours or even more. Each time we did it there were many encouraging stories of how God has touched people during these times.

Getting More Creative
One year someone brought some art materials. Then came the ‘pray dough’ – an activity encouraging us to pray by moulding play dough. People were praying and expressing that prayer not just in written ways but also in pictures perhaps even bringing a newspaper with them and cutting out a headline and writing and drawing prayers around it. As there were so many payers written and painted we set up a wishing line in the hallway and encouraged people to peg out their prayers.

One year my wife and I took responsibility for organising it and took along lots of bean-bags and throws to make a cosy corner, laid out a few books to inspire prayer such as books of Celtic prayers. Other times people had set up one or two prayer stations. We ran with that and arranged for at least one in each room - each one encouraging prayer in different ways often using different senses.

The Beginnings of a Team
The last time we did this we had the sense of beginning to get together a team. Before this the responsibility to organise it had been with one couple who had passed it to another. When we took over we wanted to do more but it was a lot of work laying out the rooms and clearing them away again. It was great when we had one or two others on board – and it was encouraging to see them using their creativity. We also began the idea of having a corporate time during Time With God when there could be more group activities as well as individual prayer.

Even now that one of the team has now moved away to study we still felt there is the beginnings of a team as others begin to get on board. Another time we would like to build on this and get together a bit sooner to plan with one or two more if possible. I think we need to more clearly divide up the tasks so that everyone knows what to do – send out emails confirming this. Perhaps we could even meet again to confirm the plans just before the event.

One thing that we like to do is to bring prayers that have been written or drawn into the following Sunday morning meeting. People have commented how encouraging this is. I think this is an opportunity not just for the team to do this but perhaps to ask others in the church who might not otherwise be involved. It’s amazing what can be done when several people get there and muck in and it’s a lot less stressful than doing it ourselves.

related post Time With God

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