Thursday, 3 December 2015

Chocolate Fountain Prayers

Great fun was had at Youth Group tonight as we prayed around and using a chocolate fountain!

We got the choc melted and the fountain going, and gave everyone some skewers. There was a selection of fruit, marshmallows etc to make kebabs to dip in the fountain.

We took in turns to make a dip a kebab in the fountain, each time saying a prayer as we did so, going round the circle. The prayers roughly followed the ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication) format, though we varied it slightly.

For the first time round, everyone had to say a prayer of Thanksgiving as they dipped their fruit selection into the chocolate. This was a good opener and icebreaker - it was easy at the very least to thank God for chocolate!

Second time round, everyone prayed Asking God for something - prayers of supplication. Again fairly straightforward.

Third time round, we tried Adoration - everyone in turn saying 'I adore you God because...'. Most people found this much more difficult, so it was really good to have the incentive that you had to have a prayer to have your go in the choc fountain!

Finally, we did a Confession round - this time silently, not sharing the prayer with the group.

We ended up having a really good discussion about prayer, especially why God needs us or wants us to confess things, about faith and politics, and all sorts of things as we sat around the table finishing the chocolate.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Teenage Prayer Experiment at Greenbelt

We've been to Greenbelt! Noah and I were very chuffed to be asked to do three sessions: a talk about writing the book collaboratively in the Literature strand of the festival, and two Experiment sessions in the Youth venue.
Noah at our book signing

We were joined in the Youth venue by our friend Anne Bennett, who has tried many of these ideas out with the young offenders she works with. She also brought new ideas that she had developed.
The Den at Greenbelt: youth silently doing prayer experiments

We had a great time, especially in the sessions in the youth venue, the Den! We tried four of the experiments over the weekend.

First, we tried Bible colouring. We printed out several individual sheets from
(these are free to use).

Bible colouring table with youth concentrating hard

We also had a design from (which we bought a copyright licence for from the website) printed onto an A0 banner which everyone joined together in colouring in with sharpies. This led to an hour of almost freakish near-silence in the Den! And it was beautiful.

Second, we used an idea that Anne had developed using air-drying clay. Originally, this idea came about at Christmas: she had set up a nativity scene in the YOI chapel, and invited the lads to make a simple clay figure representing themselves, and add it to the scene. For Greenbelt, to be on-theme, she created a 'Bright Field', with Jesus teaching the Sermon on the Mount, and we invited all the young people to make a figure of themselves and add it to the crowd listening. There was a large poster with the bullet points of the Sermon on the Mount, and you were invited to imagine hearing it for the first time as you placed your figure.
Girl placing a clay figure onto green 'field' to add to the field of people listening to the Sermon on the Mount

Third, we had labyrinths - a wooden one, a felt one, and paper photocopies to colour in or follow round with a pen. And finally, prayer beads - we were literally wrestling these away from the young people when we ran out of time at the end of the allotted slot!
Hand following a labyrinth with a pen whilst wearing prayer beads

Prayer beads
Clay modelling
Highlights were a girl telling me she was going into lower sixth and would thus be leading her school Christian Union, and would it be all right if she used the book (of course!!), watching boys and girls of all ages from about 10 to about 17 concentrating in almost total silence on colouring in their bible passages, the glee with which people made their clay figures and the awe with which they placed them, and a boy of about 15 explaining to me the changes he had made to the bead bracelet design and why, so that the beads represented the things he most wanted to pray about.

 Oh, and the book sold out in G-Books!
We were asked by the staff in the Youth venue if we would go back next year. I very much hope so!

Friday, 12 June 2015

Views from the Pews

Reviews and reflections on the Teenage Prayer Experiment are beginning to come in, so I thought it might be helpful to note them here.

Here is a blog from London diocese about the launch event we there, and the experience of trying out some of the experiments: trying out the Teenage Prayer Experiment in London diocese.

And there is a full page review on page 3 of the Edinburgh Diocese Children's and Youth work newsletter this month: find the pdf here and turn the page!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Teenage Prayer Experiment

We've made a youtube video about the Teenage Prayer Experiment! With thanks to members of St Mary Magdalene Church youth club, and Belmont Scouts, for their comments. Filming by the youth group and I, video editing by Keith Blundy of Aegis Associates.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Exclusive sneak preview!

We now have a publication date for the Teenage Prayer Experiment Notebook: April 16th!

 (If you can't wait until then, or want to be sure you get a copy that day, you can pre-order a copy here!

In honour of this exciting news, here is an exclusive sneak preview of some of the lovely inside design, from the galley proofs:

Monday, 5 January 2015

Book coming soon!

PUBLISHED IN APRIL: The Teenage Prayer Experiment Notebook 

 Written by myself and Noah Threlfall-Holmes, my 13 year old son, this book began life as this blog exploring different methods of prayer: I came up with the ideas and he reviewed them. We then found lots of youth groups were using the blog, and we have now gathered feedback and comments on all the various ideas from a wide variety of teenagers from all over the country.

This book is an interactive prayer journal designed for teenagers to use: it encourages you to not just read about prayer, but give it a go, and then review the experience.

An ideal Easter gift or confirmation gift for any teens in your life, or great for a church youth group to work through together.

You can Pre-Order it on Amazon here!