Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Unique Prayer Stations for a Women's Retreat - Tactile, Hands-On, Real Ways to Experience God






Last year I was on the Women's Retreat Commitee at our church http://www.knowmercy.org.  Being in theatre, I wanted to bring more hands-on activities to the event to help women  have a different and special experience with God.  I had gone to and helped lead worship at a great church Savannah Christian Church https://savannahchristian.comwhen we lived in Savannah years ago.  I remembered that their women's retreat was so special because they had hands-on experiences with God.  I usually never like to go to these types of retreats because to me they are just like going to church, except with only women for a few days.  I wanted it to be special...it SHOULD be special.  Savannah Christian's women's retreat was the only retreat I had ever gone to that gave me unique experiences with God and it was different than the usual sing songs, listen to a sermon or talk, pray, craft and quiet time.  With the help of another artist and creative in our church...we set out to do what you will see in this post and it was a great hit!  Women really enjoyed these experiences with God. Hopefully by sharing them, you can also give your women or any group (it can be adapted) these experiences too.

When the women came in they were each given 3x5 cards on a ring with the stations.  Each card said the station number and then scriptures and quotes to help women with their journey through the stations.  Each station had a typed up sheet with directions on what to do at each station and questions to ask themselves or ponder.  Each station had a Bible to encourage the women to stay at the station for a while and meditate on God's word.   I believe we also had posted papers in the dining hall and our meeting room that said where each station was.  

PRAYER STATION #1

Burdens

At this station the women would take a backpack that was on the floor, put it on and go for a walk.  The back packs were filled with really heavy books.  Not sure how much each weighed, but it was a lot.  While on the walk or hike, the directions instructed them to talk with God about what their burdens are.  It instructed them to ask God what things they need to give to him that they haven't or what things are holding them back.  When they came back with the pack after their time with God, they were to write on a stone with a permanent marker words or a word that God communicated to them on their walk.  Maybe a word that reminds them to give it to God, or maybe even what is holding them back.  They were to take the stone as a reminder that God forgives the minute you ask and forgets and that He is faithful to take your burdens.  You don't need to worry. 




PRAYER STATION #2

Prayer 

This station was 2 fold.  There was a basket of prayer books with ways or things to pray for and a bookmark for those who were married for things to pray for.  There was also a basket, not shown, for prayers for your children.  For example, one page in a book said: TRUST - Keep me safe O God for in you I take refuge.  I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing." 
Psalm 16: 1-2

The second part of this station was two buckets with tongue depressors.  One said "Blank" and the other said "Prayer Pail".  Each person was to take a blank tongue depressor, write annonymously prayers for things or people or themselves that were on their heart and put it in the Prayer Pail.  Then they were to take one of the depressors that were already written on by someone else in the prayer pail with them to pray over all weekend, week and month.  My friend and I put ours in before the retreat started so the Prayer Pail would not be empty for the first person.  What ever was left after the retreat, the leaders divided up and took with us to pray for. 


PRAYER STATION #3

Appreciation

Right when the women got to camp, we took a picture of them and printed it out.  Each picture was glued onto a large, pretty, scrapbook page and clipped up on twine in our main meeting hall.  Throughout the weekend, the women were to write nice notes, thoughts and ways that the person in the picture had ministered to them etc.  It was a way to lift each other up and get to know each other so you could write on their paper.  Women were encouraged to write on those papers who didn't have many comments too so everyone left with writings on their pages.  This was so encouraging especially for those who don't think they are making a difference, or think they are not noticed, or just to encourage you if you are having a tough time waking with Jesus. 



STATION #4

Truth and Testimony

In this station we had blank tiles with many different paint markers.  Each Person was to write a Bible Verse or word from God or inspiration from God or way in which God has worked in them....whatever God inspired, on the tiles and decorate them.  When they came in Sunday morning for worship we had arranged them to make the Cross in the center of the aisle.  Such a testimony to God!



STATION #5

You are Loved

So many women struggle with self esteem and not seeing themselves as God sees them.  This station was intended to help them see themselves as God does.  This station was in a small bedroom upstairs.  We took over a room and covered the bed and a chair with a black sheet and the sink with a pretty table cloth to make the room more appealing and beautiful.  We had lots of candles in the room (battery operated of course), a Bible, box of tissue, a stack of sticky notes with a pen, and a large Mirror.  On the outside of the door there was a sign on the doorknob that the ladies were supposed to use if they were in the room or not, so no one would be disturbed.  One side of the sign said in use, and the other said available.  All the lights were turned off and we had a soft, beautiful playlist of specific songs playing that talked of God's love for us...like Just Be Held by Natalie Grant. The directions for this station was outside on the door.  On the mirror were many sticky notes with scriptures of God's love for us and how He sees us.  The women were to look in the mirror and meditate on the scriptures.  They were to talk to God about their own self image issues and self hate and give it to Him.  They were to try to view themselves as God does (as stated on the sticky notes).  They could write their own sticky note and take it with them and/ or leave one or take one that was there that hit them.  A lot of women were scared about going in this station.  Go figure??  But the ones who did, were so touched and had a really great epiphany with God on who they really are and how He sees them. 



Hope you and your ministries are blessed by this!!







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