Prayer Resources

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13 May, 2021

What is Prayer?

Prayer is conversation with God. Just as in any relationship, we grow closer to God as we both talk with and listen to him.

Why pray?

Good question! Prayer is not just a 'cry for help' when we're in trouble (although it can be that!) but part of a relationship with the God of the universe. Just as we talk to those we are in relationship with, we pray because we are in relationship with God.

How do I pray?

You can pray anywhere and in any way - out loud or silently, when you're walking, driving or even sitting in the loo. God always hears our prayers and always answers (although often not straight away and sometimes in ways that we don't expect!).

Just as there are many different ways to talk with someone and many forms of conversation, so there are many different ways to pray and many types of prayer. Jesus models prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 (The Lord's Prayer) and we've included some helpful frameworks on this page. Some different types of prayer include:

  • Praise / Adoration
  • Confession / Saying sorry
  • Lament / Grief
  • Intercession / Praying for others
  • Thanksgiving / Saying thank you
  • Asking / Please

If you're not sure how to pray, ask us for a copy of the trypraying booklet - a simple, interactive 7-day prayer guide.

Some helpful resources for your family

20 Answers to Your Questions About Prayer (Kathryn Slattery) - check out this free e-book of Prayer Q&As for kid-friendly answers to questions including:

  • Can I know for sure that God hears my prayers?
  • Can I know for sure that God will answer my prayers?
  • Can God actually talk to me?
  • What is intercessory prayer?
  • Do miracles still happen today?

Praying with your family

Different models for prayer

Praying for your family

Other helpful resources

More From 'Resources'

Holy Week and Easter Resources

What is Holy Week?

Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter Day, starting on Palm Sunday. It is also the last week of Lent and includes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Saturday.

Some helpful resources for your family

Lent + Easter (Strandz) - check out [this website](https://www.strandz.org.nz/lent--easter.html) for a huge number of ideas to help you journey through Holy Week and Easter, including:

- [A Lego Journey through Holy Week](https://www.buildfaith.org/journey-through-holy-week-with-lego/) - something to read, talk about and then make for each day of Holy Week

- [Holy Week Visual Aid](https://ideas.brf.org.uk/holy-week-visual-aid) - an adaptation of a well-tried paper-folding and paper-tearing exercise that tells the story of Holy Week

Easter crafts to make with your kids:

- Enjoy a range of activity sheets, crafts, games and a Passover meal with [He is Risen](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iAbkthyW9F7RGWlAWZE9rY5q6hOBfLTd/view?usp=sharing) - an Easter Family Activity Guide from [minno](https://www.gominno.com/)

- Check out [this website](http://www.mylittlehouse.org/the-easter-story1.html) for a Easter scene model with [cut-outs](http://www.mylittlehouse.org/uploads/2/1/0/0/21005170/easter_files_model.pdf) and [instructions](http://www.mylittlehouse.org/uploads/2/1/0/0/21005170/easter_instructions.pdf) (quite involved - for older kids)

- Make your own [Palm Cross](https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Palm-Frond-Cross) - a fun craft to do with your kids for Palm Sunday

- Make your own [Easter Garden](https://www.corouniting.org/resources/making-an-easter-garden) - we made kits for mainly music - includes some conversation starters

Talking with your kids about Good Friday and Easter - this is not easy, however it's important to do. The below articles provide ideas for talking about Jesus' death with your kids in age appropriate ways and without scaring them!

- [Not the best day for kids: the challenge of Good Friday](https://www.vinteract.com.au/view/i/Ox54fW4Kj8WveUD3UPzNC4tyu) (Anglican Taonga Easter 2012: Magazine of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand)

- [Talking to Young Kids about Good Friday and Easter](https://www.cornerstonesforparents.com/talking-young-kids-good-friday-easter) (Cornerstones for Parents)

- [Answers to Questions Kids Ask About Good Friday and the Crucifixion](https://www.cornerstonesforparents.com/answers-questions-kids-good-friday-crucifixion) (Cornerstones for Parents)

Making Holy Week 'holy' this year - some ideas for helping to make Holy Week 'a thing' and avoiding it just passing you by:

- [Walking through Holy Week](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GhqGwxeNq652OLjyWtYPFQ1LP523yz85/view?usp=sharing) (Focus on the Family) - includes daily activities, recipes, scavenger hunt, Seder meal, games and puzzles

- [5 Ways of Celebrating Holy Week with Children](https://www.illustratedchildrensministry.com/2018/holy-week-with-children/) (Illustrated Children's Ministry) - including baking ideas and giving away coats

- [Holy Week Prayer Journal](https://corouniting.org.vinteract.com.au/d/5oEtp4xa4v0JVpNDeEJsddVcA) (faithgateway) - readings, devotions and some journalling space

- [Holy Week Timeline](https://corouniting.org.vinteract.com.au/d/zibmWmt7Fb8NTvnDLUk9P3yti) (biblegateway) - a visual understanding of what happened when during Holy Week complete with scripture references

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Lent Resources

What is Lent?

Lent is the period of 40 days (excluding Sundays) immediately prior to Easter Sunday. It is traditionally a time of repentance and renewal of faith in Jesus.

Why 40 days?

Good question! The number 40 is significant in the Bible, usually referring to a period of testing or trial, eg.

- 40 days of rain when Noah and his family were in the ark ([Genesis 7:17](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+7%3A17&version=NIRV))

- 40 years of the Israelites wandering in the desert ([Exodus 16:35](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+7%3A17&version=NIRV))

- Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness ([Matthew 4:1-11](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+4%3A1-11&version=NIRV))

What's with Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) and Ash Wednesday?

'Shrove' is from the verb 'shrive', meaning to confess, ie. to admit all the things that you have thought, said and done that are wrong. In French this is Mardi Gras - 'fat Tuesday', and for Spanish-speaking people it is Carnival which may have originated from the Latin carne vale, meaning 'to farewell meat' (often given up during Lent) or even 'to say goodbye to the flesh' (possibly giving rise to the modern day trend of giving up something you enjoy during Lent).

In earlier times, many Christians would fast from eggs and milk for Lent; using these up before Lent gave rise to the cooking of pancakes, and hence 'Pancake Day'. This also gave rise to the tradition of giving eggs at Easter when the fast was broken (see [this article](https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2010/february/how-fast-of-lent-gave-us-easter-eggs.html) for more details).

Ash Wednesday is when ashes (often from the burned palm crosses from the previous Palm Sunday) would traditionally be worn, symbolising grief or shame (see [Esther 4:1](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=esther+4%3A1&version=NIRV), [Jonah 3:6](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jonah+3%3A6&version=NASB)). This marks the start of Lent, a season of repentance from our sin and humble acknowledgement of our own mortality and dependence on God.

Some helpful resources for your family

Lent + Easter (Strandz) - check out [this website](https://www.strandz.org.nz/lent--easter.html) for a huge number of ideas to help you journey through Lent:

- [Intergenerational Lenten Study: 'A Pilgrimage of Grace'](https://www.strandz.org.nz/grace.html) - something to talk about, explore, thank and watch each week

- Lots of links to videos and various Lent and Easter resources

Lenten Family Devotions: (Storyboard) - check out [this website](https://storyboardingchurch.wordpress.com/2020/02/14/lenten-family-devotions-2020/) for a creation devotional entitled [Lions, and Camels, and Goats! Oh my!](https://storyboardingchurch.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/lions-and-camels-and-goats-oh-my.pdf) that runs from 23 Feb - 13 Apr. It’s simple to do and takes 5 minutes to read the daily devotional, ask the question, and then pray. You can use this devotional while you eat dinner, lunch, or breakfast together, in the car, or before bed.

Lent: A Journey to Easter (Anglican Diocese of Auckland) - check out [this website](https://lent.nz/welcome) for an interactive Lent calendar:

- Readings and Activities for each day of Lent, split into weekly chunks

- Content from various authors and artists

Lent: What do Christians remember during Lent? (RE:start) - check out [this website](https://request.org.uk/restart/2014/06/05/lent/) for a whole series of pages relating to Lent and Easter:

- Shrove Tuesday: What do pancakes have to do with Easter?

- Lent Today: How are Christians learning to 'do Lent generously'? See [40acts.org.uk](http://www.40acts.org.uk/) for more info.

Fasting from, Feasting on Ideas (Building Faith) - some great ideas for [fasting from and feasting on](https://buildfaith.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Fasting-From-Feasting-On.pdf) for Lent

- practical ideas to fast from with matching ideas to feast on

- suggestions for how to use these to grow spiritually

Praying through Lent (Praying in Color) - various different [calendar templates](https://prayingincolor.com/tag/lent) to use for a daily prayer practice.

Lent Giving Calendar (My Faith, My Life) - this [Giving Calendar](https://myfaithmylife.org/giving-calendar-2020/) (note you'll need to translate the references to US coins...!) helps families:

- be attentive to, and give thanks for, the abundance of our lives

- engage in the practice of giving out of thanksgiving for that abundance

Family Lent Ideas (Flame - Creative Children's Ministry) - [this blog post](http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/p/family-lent-ideas.html) (or [this PDF](https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0RweH-3RyI0ZXNFOE85TVFuN3c/view)) have fun, simple and creative activities for each day of Lent, such as:

- Play dough prayers

- Blessings jar

- Various baking activities

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Advent & Christmas Resources

Advent - a time of preparation

There are many different ways of marking Advent at home. The resources listed on this page are intended to provide some ideas that you could use in your family, and so help your children (and yourself) prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world. Many of them are available on the Advent Resource Table in the church foyer.

Christmas Family Faith Trail (Uniting & Lutheran Churches) - a [great resource](https://www.corouniting.org/d/pieZ6qzbi6lhg9XBaxty299HP) to explore a variety of activity stations and discover new ways to grow your family's faith at home, featuring:

- structured activities for pre-school primary and all-age

- Bible readings, prayers and reflections

- 5 stations for each week in Advent and Christmas week

De-clutter December (growministries.org) - this [special December calendar](https://www.growministries.org.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/15/2019/11/Declutter-December_2019.pdf) (2019 version) is designed to help you de-clutter your month, prioritise your activities and focus on things that matter most for you and your children at this time of year.

The Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Guide (Sally Lloyd-Jones) - check out [this article](https://www.faithgateway.com/jesus-storybook-bible-advent-calendar-printable/) for what's in this resource (updated for 2020), including:

- Illustrations from The Jesus Storybook Bible

- Bible verses and reading plan for each day

- Instructions for making the calendar

Christmas Bible Reading Plan for Kids (intentionalbygrace.com) - check out [this page](https://intentionalbygrace.com/free-christmas-bible-reading-plan-for-kids/) for more information about this helpful reading plan for the last 2 week of Advent, aimed at kids aged 8-12. The plan can be downloaded [here](https://www.corouniting.org/d/RtDiG2PboRIItIT3pFz1JNEhU).

100 ways to celebrate Christmas (sa.uca.org.au) - check out [this page fo](https://sa.uca.org.au/intergen/family-resources/parents/100-ways-to-celebrate-christmas)r a sample and download link.

The Jesse Tree (whychristmas.com) - check out [this article](https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/jessetrees.shtml) for more information about Jesse Trees.

- The photo above is one made with our children throughout Advent in 2017.

A Simple Advent Journey for the Family (refocusministry.org) - a simple [Christmas "Advent"ure](https://refocusministry.org/2016/11/17/a-simple-advent-journey-for-the-family/) with a "Reverse Advent" theme...

- This Advent Season, gather your family each day for a moment to read a Scripture, say a prayer, or do an activity [listed here](https://refocusministry.org/2016/11/17/a-simple-advent-journey-for-the-family/) and add to your “Reverse Advent” basket (you'll need to click the link to find out more...!)

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