Help, Thanks, Wow and Prayer Post-Its!
Recently, I was asked to provide a worship time for a great group of youth. The following is what we did. This worship worked well with the youth and could also be adapted to use in your home. At home, you can modify the worship piece as needed and hang smaller pieces of paper (if desired) on which you can hang your post-its. Enjoy and let me know how you used these worship words.
3 pieces of posterboard.
In big letters, write Help (on one), Thanks (on one) and Wow (on the last one).
Painters Tape or some other safe way to attach the posterboards to the wall.
Before the worship time begins, hang your posters in three different places around the room. Near each station, provide plenty of post-its and markers and a space to write.
Call to Worship/Opening
From many places, we come together
to experience community.
This is a safe space where we can ask questions, share our stories, listen to each other, and grow our faith. A new group is forming this weekend. We have said good-bye to some friends and welcomed new ones. While we will share experiences and grow closer this year, we will always have room for more youth and caring adults to join.
As a new year kicks off, we prayerfully ask God’s blessing on our time together this weekend and the year ahead.
God, we know you are already in this space. Open our eyes to see you in each other and in ourselves. We thank you for everyone who is here tonight. Thank you for the gifts they bring and the memories we will create together. We thank you for this safe space to gather and be who you created us to be. Amen.
Tonight we are going to pray together. I’ll explain more about how our prayer time will work in a few minutes. First, I invite us all to listen to these Scriptures that talk about how and when to pray or are prayers themselves. Let us hear God’s word.
Psalm 4: 1
Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord.
Devote yourselves to prayer.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Matthew 6: 5-15
‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
‘When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
‘Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Psalm 13: 1-2
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honour.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
All the disciples were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
Explanation of Prayer Time
In her book, Help, Thanks, Wow, Anne Lamott says that all the prayers in the world can be put into one of these three categories. Help is all the prayers where we are asking for something, when bad things are happening, when we are scared, when we just need help! Thanks are the prayers when we stop and look at all that is happening around us and say thank you to God who is the giver of all good gifts. Wow is for the prayers where you are in awe of someone or something that you see or hear or do or notice and you just need to say Wow, God…this is awesome!
For our prayer time tonight, we are going to say help, thanks, and wow to God using post-its and markers, pens, or pencils. You can draw your prayer, write a name, write a whole prayer, make it specific or vague…whatever you prefer. This is your prayer time. My request is that everyone do at least one help, thanks, and wow prayer. And when you are done adding your prayers, come back and sit down until everyone is finished.
To help get them started and give them something to read on the posters, I put these prayers up on post-its before they arrived.
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Thanks–A Child’s Meal Blessing
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.
When your voice speaks in rolls of thunder pealing,
Your lightning power bursts in bright surprise;
When cooling rain, your gentle love revealing,
Reflects your promise, arcing through the skies.
My soul cries out in songs of praise to you,
O mighty God!
We are going to have a blessing and prayer to end our worship time tonight.
Loving God, We thank you for hearing our prayers. We thank you for this group gathered here tonight. Wow, God, when we stop to look around us there is so much to say wow about. We say wow when we see our favorite places in creation. We say wow when we see someone we love smile. God, we ask your help for all of us in the coming week. Be with us when we struggle, be with all we love, and be with all those who have no one to love them. We lift up to you all the prayers that were written on our boards tonight and all the prayers we carry with us in our hearts. Amen.