Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.” (Colossians 3.15)
Most of us will never forget where we were on 9/11 2001. For me, I had just arrived in Maui for my honeymoon. I remember waking up and turning on the radio only to hear what at first seemed to be some rerun of an Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds episode. I vividly remember the feelings I had when I first saw the images of the towers tumbling down. It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed and how much that event has changed our world view.
The tenth anniversary of 9/11 is an opportunity to examine how we respond as Christians and explore themes of love, peace, and justice. Below are ideas of interactive prayer stations that focus on these themes in light of the upcoming anniversary. The interactive prayer stations are meant to be intergenerational. There are also stations designed for ages 2-4. (For more specific instructions on layout, purpose, design, and more ideas, you can view previous posts tagged under “Interactive Prayer Stations.”) To view pictures of the Interactive Prayer Stations, click here.
The week leading up to September 11 involve the community and neighborhood.
Especially if your church has a lot of foot traffic – during the week, invite them to participate in offering prayers and words of peace.
Materials: Large Instruction Sign, Buckets of Sidewalk Chalk
Location: Front of the church, where there is lots of sidewalk space
As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, write a prayer or words of peace on the sidewalk. Let these prayers and words be our hope for our community and world.
Interactive Prayer Station #1: Prayers of Peace
Materials: a Variety of Different Candles
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5.14)
In the world around us, Christ calls us to be a light. Take a moment to think about how God can use you to be a light of the world. Light a candle in honor of someone who is light to you or as a prayer for Christ’s light to shine in your life.
Interactive Prayer Station #2: What Do These Stones Mean?
Materials: a Collection of Different Sized Stones, Paper, Pencils, Glass Blocks or Stone for a Wall (option for building a prayer wall)
20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ . . . 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.” (Joshua 4.20-24)
Our actions of today not only affect us but the generations after us. What shall our legacy be for those that come after us? Will it be peace, war, love, fear?
Take a moment to reflect on what your hope is for you, your family, and the community around us. Write your hope on a piece of paper and insert it in the prayer wall.
Take a stone to keep to remind you of your hope for peace.
Interactive Prayer Station #3: Tree of Peace
Materials: Scissors, Hole Punch, Ribbon, .005 Copper Foil cut into 3″ diameter circles, Rubber Stamps w/ symbols of Peace, Stamp Ink Pads, Stylus or Sharp-ended Dowels, a Potted Tree
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Micah 4.3)
Christ calls us to be peacemakers – to love our neighbors. How do you live into the commandment of love? How do you practice loving those that are “unlovable”? How do you contribute to a world where love prevails?
As you reflect on these questions, make an ornament of peace to hang on the peace tree. This tree will be planted in the front of the church as a symbol of our commitment to peace in our community.
- Choose a rubber stamp. Using the ink pad, stamp your symbol on your copper foil circle. You may also choose to draw your own symbol of peace.
- Using a stylus, trace the design on the copper foil. Press down firmly on the copper as you work, creating indents in the copper.
- String your ornament and hang it on the tree.
Interactive Prayer Stations for ages 2-4:
Activity one: Jesus wants us to be peacemakers. What does being a peacemaker mean to you? Can you think of a time when you fought with a friend or a brother or sister? How could you have practiced peace at that time? Choose a peace symbol to color. As you color, think of ways you can spread peace.
Materials: Coloring Sheet about Peace, Coloring Pens and Pencils
Activity two: Peace malas are bracelets that symbolize friendship, peace, and respect. Wearing the bracelet is a promise to make the world we live in a better place. 1) Choose 14 colored beads for your bracelet. 2) String half of the beads on the string, then a white bead, then the rest of your colored beads. The central white bead represents you. 3) Take both ends of the string and string your final bead. This bead represents unity, harmony, and peace. 4) Knot the bracelet and put it on your wrist.
Materials: String, Colored Beads, Scissors
Activity three: Our hands are the best tools to spread peace. We can hug, touch, and help out using our hands. Have a parent trace your hand on a copper foil using a stylus (or dull thin stick). Then using string, hang it on the peace tree at prayer station #3. The peace tree will be planted in front of the church as a symbol of peace in our neighborhood.
Materials: .005 Copper Foil cut into 4-5″ diameter circles, Stylus or blunt-ended Thin Sticks.