It turned out to be a beautiful day, and we managed to get to church on time! A good start.
I had reminded everyone before we set off about it being a different morning at church today with choices, and maybe a prayer walk. We set off with a scooter to help the walking go a bit more easily, and some juice… into the perfect amount of blue sky & sun – no need to worry about sun creams (and allergic reactions!) and sunhats (awkward) but not at all cold (no need to negotiate into extra layers). The service began with singing worship, and for me one of those precious moments when all 3 joined in, T knew all the words to ‘The splendour of the King’ – one of our family favourites – and sang with her usual gusto. I love worshiping with my children.
After explanations (and a bit of distraction for T when she heard there was a chance to do ‘finger prayer walking’ – much walky, tickly fingers on her brother’s arm for a while!) we collected our instructions/map and with a friend the girls & I set out for the adventure…
We chose one of the suggestions for family groups with children, traffic light praying – when someone sees something that catches their interest they say RED, then we check where we are; AMBER means wait, ask God what he sees here; GREEN means go go go! get praying and walking again. We only had about 30 mins max so we set off in a direction keeping half an eye on the time to know when to turn around & get back in time for donuts. The walk away from church went well, T enjoyed the power of saying RED & knowing we all had to stop – that was the rule after all. But she did choose interesting places, and was also on a mission to make it as far as a road where one of her school friends lives. When we got there she was thrilled to be able to point it out & we prayed for her. We even passed someone we knew a little and asked if there was anything we could pray about for her. The AMBER part of the process was a bit trickier, a bit more abstract – or is it just an unseen unknown? – so whenever I prompted I got; B – ‘don’t know’, T – ‘God sees everything?!’To be honest she has a point! But I sense this listening waiting will take a bit more time to learn about together. We have learnt a bit together during bedtime prayers, with our imagination, but this was a different context – new skills don’t move from context to context easily or quickly.
The walk back towards church half way through was a bit harder in some ways. T got into a loop with the RED, AMBER, GREEN… two pushes on the scooter- ‘RED!’, ‘shfrjgfncfhdfj g holly djshrisecfb AmenAMBER!’, GREEN! two pushes on the scooter!! …
However alongside that we also began to spot & collect things that we prayed about on the way, some beautiful flowers, a rather dirty feather, a piece of broken car (we prayed about road safety), ladybirds… and we passed roads where we knew people so we prayed for them too. Felt harder but probably equally productive.
The service carried on when we got back, with some prayer stations around the room, donuts and drinks, sharing time, the reading about the Spirit falling on the disciples at Pentecost & a chance to think about how the Spirit gave them compassion, courage & sent them out to speak with people in ways they could hear. I turned to B at one point in the sharing, such a lot was about how things that are impossible become possible when we are with God – ‘it’s just like our deer verse’ I said, a smile of recognition, ‘yes, but not the same’.
Sometimes it can feel as though sharing faith, and helping my kids learn useful tools to nurture their friendship with God and to sustain them in the adventure with Him is an almost impossible task… what a wonderful reminder the morning was that with Him nothing is impossible!
click here for prayer walk ideas for families that I have collected over the years – thank you to all those who pioneered these and shared them, unfortunately I don’t know who you all are – but thank you!