These prayer stations were part of an experiential worship gathering we hosted for our high school youth. The theme was, “New Year… Now What?” and focused on making this new year different than the year before. We challenged them to make not just resolutions but commitments… commitments to growing in their faith and relationship with Christ. To start the night off we played a video called, “Moment”. It’s a powerful video and forces students to consider the white flags they need to wave in their lives, the things they need to surrender wholly to God. Surrendering those things allows us to become “unstuck” from the past and open to the change and transformation offered by our new life in Christ. After showing the video we gave students time to travel around the room to each of the prayer stations before coming together for a time of worship. Use these stations for your upcoming New Years celebration, worship service, or youth group gathering.
New Year… Now What? – Station 1
– Note Cards
– Small Trashcan
Set up a table with pens, note cards, a small trashcan, and the following station instructions on display:
Take a moment to reflect on this past year. Reflect on the ups and downs, the joy and sadness, the good and the bad. Using the note cards and pens provided, write down the struggles, pain, sorrows, and regrets you’ve experienced this past year.
Once you have written down those things, place your note card in the trashcan as a symbolic act of throwing away the things of the past, the moments and choices you would like to forget. Now (both figuratively and literally) turn your back on those things and continue on to the next station.
New Year… Now What? – Station 2
– Note Cards
Set up a table with pens and note cards and the following station instructions on display:
Having turned your back on the things of this past year, you are now free to look ahead. Isaiah 43:18 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” We have a God who forgives and forgets… now it is your turn to do the same.
Using the note cards and pens provided, write down the hopes and dreams you have for this New Year… your expectations and desires, your promises to both God and yourself. In what ways will you make this year different? What commitments are you willing to make?
Once you have written down those things, place the note card in your pocket and carry it with you as a reminder of your hopes for this New Year. And finally, offer up a prayer to God asking for His help in keeping the promises and commitments you made. After praying, continue on to the next station.
New Year… Now What? – Station 3
– Straw Mats (or folded up blankets)
Set out several mats (we used straw/bamboo beach mats) and the following station instructions:
“Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven.’ Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’ And the man jumped up and went home!” (Matthew 9:2, 6-7)
This story helps us address some of the reasons why the thought of changing can paralyze us. Whether it is our anxiety about being alone or different, fears of the future, past regrets, or doubts of our abilities, God has given us community (the paralyzed man’s friends), Himself (saying, be encouraged), and freedom from guilt (forgiveness) to enable seemingly impossible change (only possible through Christ).
Kneel or lie down on the mat—symbolically placing yourself before Jesus, like the paralyzed man in the story you just read. Then ask yourself, “What are the anxieties, fears, regrets or doubts that have paralyzed me from changing or being transformed by Christ?”
Finally, stand up—healed and restored—just like the man in the story. Offer up a prayer to God asking for forgiveness, love, and peace to take the place of those things that paralyze you from change. When finished, move on to the next station.
New Year… Now What? – Station 4
– 5 Small Mirrors (we bought these from Ikea)
– Mirror Questions (see below)
Set up the five mirrors on a table along with the following station instructions:
We often fall for the trap of judging our worth by appearance (how do I look?), achievement (what have I accomplished?), approval (How well am I liked?), or affluence (what do I own?). However, if we truly know Jesus and who He is, we find that he—no matter how insignificant we feel, what others say, or what we do—loves us, accepts us, and sincerely wants to be with us.
Spend a few moments looking into each mirror and answering the questions posted below them. When you have had a chance to look at the mirrors and answer the questions, take another moment and offer a prayer to Jesus Christ, thanking him for loving you, accepting you, and wanting to be with you, regardless of how you may see yourself.
How do I look?
How do I measure my worth by my appearance?
What have I accomplished?
How do I measure my worth by my achievements?
How well am I liked?
How do I measure my worth by others approval?
What do I own?
How do I measure my worth by my affluence?
How does Jesus see me?
How does Jesus measure my worth?
No matter how insignificant you feel… Jesus loves you.
No matter what others say about you… Jesus accepts you.
No matter what you’ve done… Jesus wants to be with you.
Below is a blank graphic slide for you to customize. The font used in the title slide is Tommaso.