1. Fire confession

Music: Use your own choice of music for a time of reflection to write your own confession on palm crosses, then bring them to the metal bucket at the front where, at a given point, the leader will set fire to them declaring the assurance of forgiveness for everyone.

(Remember to check you comply with your health and safety policies for this).



2. Meditation: Prayer of Examen

A lengthy ‘Ignatian Spirituality’ exercise from Grace, an alternative worship community in London. The Examen is a prayer practice, articulated and made popular by a man who came to be known as Ignatius of Loyola. It is a practice of double listening (to ourselves and to God) and is a tool for discerning the presence and absence of God in our lives. Could work well in a café setting or a small adult congregation.

The full script is available on the Grace website.


3. Sackcloth bands

Sackcloth is used in many places in the Bible as a sign of repentance. This prayer activity uses strips of sackcloth or hessian, almost like a friendship band and as a prayer help.

You will need: strips of hessian (enough for one each) that are 2-3 cm wide and long enough to wrap around the average wrist, ballpoint pens, pre-prepared ashes (available from some Christian bookshops, or make your own from burnt wood), or alternatively use grains of coffee.

Give everyone a strip of hessian and a pen. Read Daniel 9.1-11, 17-19. Explain that Daniel is apologising on behalf of others. He is crying to God for forgiveness on behalf of the Jewish people, even though he himself has tried to follow God’s laws. Invite people to write prayers of repentance, or just name things that their community or country has done that they wish to apologise to God for. Invite God to forgive, heal and help. Then sprinkle the pre-prepared burnt ashes or grains of coffee on the strips of cloth. Tie the strips into bracelets and wear as a reminder to keep praying for those situations. If coffee grains have been used, the coffee smell will also remind you to pray for your community meeting at the coffee shop/café.

For more information and other creative ideas see Sue Wallace, Multi-Sensory Scripture, Scripture Union, 2005.