Choose Your Own Subject
The aim is to allow individuals to pray through symbols in scripture making the most of the sense of touch and the ability to use symbolism and association.
Place a range of objects in the centre of the room before the group members arrive. Make sure there are more objects than the number of people expected.
As people arrive the objects will act as an icebreaker causing comments and speculation.
When the group is assembled ask them to each select an object that suits them. Invite them to handle the object and then, in silence, use it to ‘centre themselves’.
The leader then reads prepared short passages of scripture which relate to the objects chosen by the group members pausing for a few moments between each one.
A concordance is a helpful way to select suitable passages which should be short. If they are taken from an event the reading should be long enough for the hearer to identify the event but should not exhaustively describe it. The main communication in prayer for the participant is through the object. The words may suggest the prayer but must not take over from the object.
The range of objects and of verses should be wide enough to embrace, as far as possible, the character and the situation of all the participants.
The main period of time should be spent in silence allowing the participants to pray through their objects.
SUGGESTED PASSAGES FOR SOME OBJECTS
Basket - Mark 8:19
When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect? They answered 'Twelve'.
Bread - Matthew 6: 10-11
Our Father in heaven, may your name be held holy, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
Candle - Matthew 5: 14-16
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No-one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.
Coin - Matthew 6: 24
No one can be the slave of two masters; he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.
Earthen Vessel - 2 Corinthians 4: 7
We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us.
Footwear - Matthew 10: 8-10
Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.
Fruit - Matthew 7: 15-20
Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.
Keys - Matthew 16: 18-19
So I now say to you: You are Peter and this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
Pillow/Cushion - Mark 4: 38-39
Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him, 'Master, do you not care? We are going down!' And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Quiet now! Be calm!' And the wind dropped, and all was calm again.
Salt - Matthew 5: 13
You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.
Stone - John 8: 7
As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said, 'If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first throw a stone at her'.