Three ideas to adapt and make your own, plus ten great resources from others . . .

Idea #1.  Matching Prayers.  This is like matching pairs, only for prayers.  The idea is simple.  Do matching cards / pictures for 10 different things that children and young people can be encouraged to pray for.  Then, play the game – whoever gets a matching pair has to say a prayer on that topic.  You might well come up with your own ten, but here are ten to start you off (Pray for:  People who are sick // Family // The World // Thankful for food // People who are hungry // Today // Friends // Emergency Services // Church Leaders // Yourself !  You could create different sets, for prayer around different themes and ideas.

Idea #2.  Pray it Forward.  Encourage those you work with, children or young people, to write God a prayer for themselves and what they would like to discover / grow in through lent.  Something they want to give up, or maybe they want to be more thoughtful or generous.  We might all have plans or hopes, but lent is a journey – and we may discover unexpected things about ourselves and about God along the way.  Once they have written the prayer – encourage them to put it in an envelope, not to be opened until they arrive at Easter and Holy Week.  Maybe at this point they could open it and ask themselves some questions:  What did I discover since I wrote this?  What will I remember form my journey through Lent?  Are there things I value more (or less) now?  How will I keep this going?  Who will walk with me on my journey from here?

Idea #3.  The Three Trees.  I have mentioned this story before in my recommendations and ideas / resources, here my idea is simply this – give each young person (and I would recommend older youth or young adults for this) three card board trees – on one side highlight the “longing” or “desire” the tree had (you might need to go and read the whole story if you are not familiar with it!, just “google” “Three Trees Fable” and you will find a version).

First longing – valuing what we look like / beauty (the treasure chest).

Second longing – to be strong and self sufficient (the mighty ship).

Third longing – to be noticed and important (tallest tree).

Each tree became what they wanted, just not in the way they expected . . . what are your longings?  How during this lent season can you give those to God?

On the other side of the tree write John 3:30,

He must increase, I must decrease

God looks at the heart and does not judge us by how we look (or how others judge our looks!) // God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness (we are strong when we trust in Him, not in ourselves) // God counts each of us as important, not by the values of the world – how many “likes” that instagram picture has had,  and how popular we are.  He loves us, each of us is special and significant to Him, we need to find our security, our strength and our value in His love.

Resource #1.  Do Lent Generously.  This great tool from Stewardship has a load of FREE resources for youth and childrens workers and families.  Check it out here :: [40 Acts]

Resource #2.  Lent Blessings.  Christian Aid have produced a “Count Your Blessings” calendar for Lent.   It takes you through each day of lent giving you food for thought and prayer :: [Count Your Blessings]

Resource #3.  SGM Easter.  From SGM Life Words comes a bunch of resources for Easter – check out their previous freebies, but also – new for this year, “Day 3: Believe the Women.”  Check it out here :: [SGM Lifewords

Resource #4.  One Friday.  Loads of resources here – including something I wrote a few years ago, “Heading to the Light”, reflections for Lent.  Check out that, and other resources :: [One Friday]

Resources #5.  Love Life Live Lent.  This was huge for a while, but not really seen it around this year, but you can go and grab the great booklet from a few years ago aimed at children here :: [Love Life Live Lent]

Resource #6.  Us.  (Formely known as USPG – United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel).  They have a load of resources for the season of lent, based around the prophetic voice of the Church ::  [US Lent]

Resource #7.   Enough : Lent Devotionals.  Tearfund have produced a series of devotionals for lent.  If you have the “Youversion” Bible app on your phone, you can also download the reading plan.  Check it out :: [Enough : Lent Devotionals

Resource #8.  Messy Lent.  So much to choose from here, compiled by the Messy Church team – free ideas, resources and activities as well as a few of their published resources ideal for the season :: [Messy Lent Resources]

Resource #9.  Follow Me.  I first wrote this to be a devotional for Lent, then Kevin Mayhew picked it up and published it as a general devotional book for young people – it works as either or both :: [Follow Me

Resource #10.  40 Days Movie.  Si Smith is a stunning artist who put together this resource which follows Jesus through his time in the wilderness, a great discussion starter, or a video to show as a reflection / for meditation.  You can find it on youtube, but can I encourage you to purchase it from “Proost”, as this enables more great stuff like this to be produce:  [40 Days]

There you go!  It would be great if you could let me know what you use, what is helpful (dare I say it, what isn’t) . . . . feedback welcome 🙂