Pray Any Way, now in its second year, allows families to come together for an afternoon focussed on fun prayer. This years event, held again on a Sunday afternoon at the Houston House Hotel in West Lothian, drew over 100 people, ranging from a few months to the (well) over 50s!
Pray Any Way has its basis in the idea that children should be encouraged from a very early age to speak to their heavenly Father, and also that families should be encouraged to pray together; older praying for younger but also younger praying for older.
If children are really fellow-disciples with adults then they can pray for us - as well as vice versa. One of the highlights of both years for me personally has been being prayed for by children. This year children who volunteered to pray for adults drew out a word written on a slip of paper from a tub. They took that to an adult and then prayed that word for them. The little boy who came to pray for me had the word "friend" and he prayed that I would know Jesus as a friend. His prayer included the lines: "we have friends, even best friends, but Jesus is the top of them all."
The fast-moving afternoon involved some fun games at the start, a re-telling of the story of Moses and the burning bush, potato prayers of praise to the great God who revealed himself to Moses (if you were holding the potato when the music stopped it was your turn to pray), and worship. Prayer stations allowed all ages to express their prayers and praises creatively, with a quiet moment to think about what God was asking us to pray for others, as well as a more lively parachute prayer option.
There was also opportunity to ask for prayer as a family group. Along with Anne and Suzanne, our prayer partners from Lydia Fellowship, I had the huge privilege of praying a blessing on whole families during this time. It was moving to see children and parents expressing their longing that God be at the centre of their life and decisions.
All the different activities tied back to the story in Exodus 3 and 4, because as a planning group we are committed to the Bible as the basis for our prayers.
The goody bags the children received at the end, along with a helium-filled balloon, will hopefully help to build on the experience, especially the Try Praying children's booklet that they were encouraged to use and then to give to a friend. We heard later that two of the children, without any prompting from their parents, sent off the balloons into the sky with the message "Jesus loves you - believe in him", praying that whoever found them would know Jesus!
We'd love to see spin-off events over Scotland. We are already talking to folks in Aberdeen. Do you want to speak to us about bringing Pray Any Way to your area?