For Lenten Wednesdays this year, the confirmation students and I came up with prayer stations that corresponded with the stories in the Moses cycle of stories from Exodus and Joshua. They were a very meaningful part of our parish’s journey through Lent, and I am excited to share them with you! One challenge that we face in our parish is that we have a lot of people who are not very mobile, so there cannot be a lot of physical activity involved. We did them in the context of Lenten midweek Evening Prayer, so they were a part of each service. Below, you will find the prayer, hymn, scripture, and explanation that goes with the prayer station.
This is a picture of the fourth focus image, produced by our confirmation students for the prayer station:
Prayer of the Day (adapted from a prayer from Evening Prayer in Evangelical Lutheran Worship): O God, tonight we will remember the commandments that you gave us to teach us how to live with you and one another. You have also called us, your servants, to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hymn of the Day: “Lord Jesus, Think on Me” (#599 Evangelical Lutheran Worship)
Scripture Text: Exodus 20:1-17 (NRSV)
Then God spoke all these words:
2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3 you shall have no other gods before me.
4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
8 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days theLord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
13 You shall not murder.
14 You shall not commit adultery.
15 You shall not steal.
16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Ten Commandments Prayer Experience (print in bulletin and read out loud)
Tonight, our focus image has been an artistic interpretation of the Ten Commandments that has been “Prayed in Color” by our Confirmation students. In this form of prayer, you focus on a specific word or words as a jumping off point for prayer, and color the word and background in as a way to keep you focused as you pray. For our prayer experience you will be invited to do the same. You will be given one of the Ten Commandments (randomly selected) on a sheet of cardstock, as well as a few coloring utensils. In the focus image, the words were colored in a small block at a time in two to three colors, and the background was colored in in two or three contrasting colors. You may follow this example, or color yours in in a different way. Your completed prayer will be added to the Ten Commandments display at church next week.
How to do it:
Here is the file for the coloring pages: 10 Commandments Coloring Sheets
I printed them on white card stock so that they would be easier to color, and cut each sheet into quarters. I purchased a class pack of Crayola colored pencils to distribute for this prayer experience. I chose colored pencils because they don’t dry out or lose their caps like markers, and they can’t leave lasting marks on wooden pews, like crayons. They are also able to be sharpened week after week as you use them. When I did a similar prayer station last year, I just rounded up all of the crayons, markers, and colored pencils that I could find and distributed them that way. I was surprised about how many people participated in the exercise. The men of the congregation especially took the time to thank me for the opportunity to color; something they don’t usually do!
Here is a pic of the prayers on the bulletin boards that I put together for the next week, so that the congregation could see and pray each other’s commandments: