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Illinois Church Creates Prayer Stations for Advent

Grace Community CRC set up a prayer station with different foods representing characteristics of Jesus.

Grace Community Christian Reformed Church in Oak Lawn, Ill., set up eight prayer stations featuring Scripture passages from Isaiah as an opportunity for people to pray and interact with Scripture for Advent. 

Diane Ritzema, worship coordinator at Grace Community CRC, said this is the second year the church has offered this specific Advent prayer focus. They used the same setup in 2019. The church has used similar prayer stations for about 10 years, creating the interactive prayerful prompts for the congregation and community about four times a year – often Advent and Lent, as well as connected to a particular sermon series.

The stations were set up in small classrooms throughout the church, incorporating different elements to engage the senses while people followed the prompts to pray. One station focused on Isaiah 9:6-7 and encouraged people to pray while using letter tiles to spell out names of Jesus that are meaningful to them. 

Another station focused on Isaiah 7:14 and encouraged people to eat one of the five different foods symbolizing a different characteristic of Jesus while they prayed. Characteristics included granola oats for humility, chocolate for grace, and beef jerky for patience. There was also a station for coloring, one that included images of the desert, and one focused on praying for the world using maps. 

Members of the church and participants in Grace Community CRC’s Coffee Break outreach Bible study visited the stations. The stations were also set up while the youth group was in the building, so young people enjoyed going through the stations. 

Ritzema said the church wanted to offer this because, “Sometimes people need a reason to quiet themselves,” especially during this busy season. She hoped that people would leave the prayer stations with a sense of peace and relief. Ritzema received a text from a participant who said, “I felt a sense of relief and release after completing the prayer stations.”

Ritzema said she used a couple books to help create the stations, particularly Sacred Space: A Hands-On Guide to Creating Multisensory Worship Experiences for Youth Ministry by Dan Kimball and Lilly Lewin. 

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