Gladness - fun family prayer time

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  1. Say you’re going to be a little part of (name your church) church at home today. Before you begin, can everyone go and find something they can share with everyone else here today. It could be something to eat, a favourite story, a YouTube clip, a meme, a joke (if you must). You’ve got one minute to bring it back here…
  2. Light a candle and pray:

With the light of this candle, we remember the light of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

God, you are here with us now and also with our friends and family in their homes today.

Especially we remember that you are also with…. (invite everyone to remember people from church, school, extended family, neighbourhood)

Thank you, Jesus, light for the world. Amen

  1. Say: Today we’re going to be having a really miserable, gloomy, sad, depressing, dreary, mournful, down-in-the-mouth time, because we’re thinking about the Holy Habit of BEING HAPPY! Luke wrote about the early Jesus-followers that they had ‘glad and generous hearts’ (Acts 2:46). Being happy? Is that really part of being holy? Let’s see…! 
  2. Play the Giggle Game. One person tries to make the other people laugh or smile. They can do anything except touch them. Once the tiniest smirk passes across the face of another person in the group, that person becomes the one who tries to make someone else smile or laugh in turn.
  3. Sing along to 'Oh happy day'. Ask: what have Christians got to be happy about? What else have we got to be happy about in our lives? Write the answers down on bits of paper and put them around the candle.
  4. Read what Paul wrote to the Jesus-followers in Philippi – remember both Paul and the Philippians were being thrown in prison and beaten up for following Jesus, so you could say they didn’t have much to be happy about. Read Philippians 4:4-9 then read it again and ask everyone which word or phrase stands out to them. The first Jesus-followers were so excited about Jesus dying and coming back to life that everything else seemed small by comparison. Jesus had given them a happy ending, and they celebrated that, even if things were hard in their lives. Colour in the celebration picture from Messy Church New Zealand while you talk about what it means to celebrate, even when things are tough. Or look at the emojis on someone’s phone and decide which are the best three to go with this passage.
  5. Pray together: Take it in turns to pick up one of the words on pieces of paper from round the candle and turn it into a prayer of praise to God. It can be as simple as ‘Jesus, we praise you for…’
  6. The Squeeze Game: If there are enough of you, ask one person to close their eyes for a moment. The rest hold hands in a circle with your hands visible. Choose one person to send a handsqueeze round the circle. (So if the person on your right squeezes your right hand, you use your left hand to squeeze the right hand of the person on your left and so on round the circle.) When you call to the person to open their eyes, they have to try to guess where the squeeze is by watching the hands. If it’s too easy, try it with hands under the table or behind backs. After the game, say that we can choose to pass on either misery or gladness to people near us, like we passed on the squeeze.
  7. Say the Lord’s Prayer together, with or without actions, and point out the line about giving us today our daily bread. 
  8. Say the Messy Grace if you usually do that at Messy Church.
  9. Blow out the candle, changing the light from visible to invisible light.