It is unusual to connect the story of Daniel in the lion’s den to the season of Advent. I have been following the Narrative Lectionary instead of the Revised Common Lectionary, which lists Daniel 6 as the scripture reading on the first Sunday of Advent. While it seems like a stretch, Daniel 6 was appropriate given the political climate and atmosphere post the 2016 presidential election. So the prayer stations give opportunity to pray and reflect on our leaders as well as ourselves.
Interactive Prayer Station #1: Hope for Our World
Materials: Candles, Container to hold the candles, Sand, Slips of offering
Examples of offerings:
- Think of someone you know who is alone and find a way to show love for that person.
- Do something really nice for someone else when they’re not looking.
- Make a sack lunch and give it to the next person you see asking for help by the side of the road.
- Find a non-profit in the community and figure out what kinds of donations they need. Maybe even call them and ask. New socks? Toothbrushes? Groceries? Get a box together and take it over there. Maybe invite some friends to join you!
- Ask yourself, “How much do I need?” Coats, shoes, toys, books… Lighten your load and give it away! Or sell it and give the money away!
- Go to a school in your neighborhood and clean up trash on the playground.
- Write an encouraging note to someone you know who is doing a good job—a teacher, a leader, a servant.
- Get to know the names of some neighbors you haven’t met yet.
- Love your neighbor. Be creative this time.
- Bake a dozen or so cookies and drop them off… somewhere. (Fire station, ER, police station, Black Lives Matter protest…)
- Stock your car with bottled water and granola bars to give away when you see people asking for help at the stoplight.
- Go for a walk and this time, bring a plastic bag with you. Fill it with trash and make the world beautiful.
- This week write three hand-written letters to people. Express your love and care. Let them know you’re praying for them, and if you’re comfortable with it, include your prayer in your letter.
- Forgive yourself.
- Pay for someone else’s coffee. (bagel, lunch, toll, etc… You get to when, where, and how!)
- Next time you leave a tip, include some words that will help make your server’s day.
- Find someone with whom you disagree about something important. Have a conversation with that person, and during that conversation, ask at least 10 questions that serve no purpose other than to help you better understand his or her views better. Seek to understand, even if the effort is not reciprocated.
- Next time you’re at the grocery store, spend a little more and get some food to share. You get to decide when, where, and how!
Interactive Prayer Station #2: Hope for Our Community
Materials: Ribbon, Bar to tie the ribbons to.
Interactive Prayer Station #3: Hope for Our Leaders
Materials: Old CD’s, Sharpies, Ribbon