When Christ Community Christian Reformed Church in Nanaimo, British Columbia, planned a prayer week last month, church leaders wanted to move beyond the typical sermon series and discussions.
Members of Christ Community Church walk through the prayer labyrinth.
“Our intent was simply to create space to be the church in prayer, rather than simply talking about how important prayer is,” explained Chelsey Harmon, associate pastor at Christ Community.
The main attraction of the week was a prayer labyrinth set up in the church sanctuary, a marked pathway meant to represent life’s journey with God. About 50 church members, including the youth group, were guided through various stations along the way, stopping to pray about various aspects of their faith and church life. Most stations included tactile activities to encourage prayer such as placing a stone, adding a link to a paper chain, or looking in a mirror, each with its own significance.
“It was the whole experience of re-creating the sanctuary in this beautiful way that was most significant for me. It was the first time I had seen our auditorium as truly a ‘sanctuary’,” said one church member.
Organizers also set up a guided prayer walk through the church building, encouraging members to pray for the ministries and activities taking place in each area. Harmon said that during this walk, one church member realized that Nanaimo would really miss Christ Community if the church were not there simply because of the number of community groups that use the facility during the week.
A designated prayer room and a prayer service at the end of the week provided additional opportunities for church members to spend the week focused on prayer. People who couldn’t make it to the church building could also follow the labyrinth through a special Facebook album. “Those who participated found it a very meaningful way to begin the year,” said Harmon.