Rattles and Tapping Toys
On the way to 5 Senses to Prayer Book 2 - #15
I’ve been thinking about troubles and stresses and worries lately. I’ve had a lot of them to deal with, in my own life and in the lives of those around me who I support. It’s been a big year and although we’re now into November and racing to the year end, I still feel like I’m stuck somewhere around March. My lack of promptness in getting this out each week directly relates to just how much is going on for me and those around me.
I know there are several subscribers to our Virtual Prayer Room who are also experiencing tough stuff in their own lives right now. Todays’ Virtual Prayer Room is for all of us who are finding things just a little bit hard. Maybe God is feeling distant in our troubles, maybe taking time out to pray feels impossible, maybe we’re exhausted and can’t even think straight about anything. And even if we’re personally going through a time where everything is personally feeling pretty great, we don’t have to look very far out beyond ourselves to see the pain others are experiencing.
You’ll have heard people say, ‘I shouldn’t complain, X is having a much harder time than me’. I get that when we look at the hardships others are facing it can make our own problems seem small by comparision. However, the bit I struggle with in these comparison statements, is the underlying idea of comfort where our own pain is diminished because someone else is in more pain. I can’t reconcile this idea. Just because someone else is having a harder time than we are, it does not change the challenges we are facing.
It makes no physical difference to the way my body is letting me down to know that someone else also has a body that’s failing them. What can be found is comfort in knowing that we’re not alone in facing difficulties, and there’s solidarity, understanding and compassion in sharing our life challenges with others who really appreciate what we face.
I know I’m not the only writer feeling frozen and lacking words to respond to the situation in Gaza right now. How do we begin to pray for the women, children and babies who lack basic things like food and water and shelter? How can we comprehend a daily life that involves violence, injury, death and destruction? These are not questions anyone can answer. There is a great sadness in me that this is happening. There is a great sadness in me that people anywhere think that the answer and response to anything is violence and war.
The prayers in our Virtual Prayer Room today both use children’s toys. I’ve written a lot of prayers with children’s toys. They have a simple physical action and reaction, whether a baby rattle or a tapping toy. In the same way I’m inviting simple prayers of sharing our own person stresses and concerns with our God. I’m suggesting we become like little children in our prayers today.
These prayers can also both be extended to become prayers of intercession where we pray for others. I invite you to pray for those those who are also going through hard times; whether it’s someone you know, that person who is having a harder time than you right now, or whether it’s a complete stranger on the other side of the world living in a dangerous place at a dangerous time. Today’s prayers are both noise making prayers. When we are feeling helpless and hopeless one thing we can do is make a noise to God. We use children’s toys to pray noisily today.
I’m still writing our Counting Down to Christmas series at the moment and I’m really aware of the concept of peace at Christmas and the presence of God With Us, in the person of Jesus who spread a message of peace, love, hope and joy. As a follower of Jesus I can only hope to offer others the comfort of that same message;
I pray that the Lord, who gives peace, will always bless you with peace. May the Lord be with all of you.
2 Thessalonians 3:16
All going well I’ll be back on the weekend with an on time edition of our 5 Senses Virtual Prayer Room. Until then, I hope and pray that you are able to find some comfort in sharing your concerns with God.
On the journey
Baby Rattle Prayer
Sense of Hearing – Thanksgiving (T.H.6)
A rattle is usually the first toy a baby learns to hold. Pick up a rattle and give it a shake. We like to think at times that we know a lot and we have a lot of experience, but often we are kidding ourselves. We need to come in front of God with humility and simplicity. What simple, profound and humble things are you grateful to God for in your life? Shake the rattle and with each shake say a one sentence prayer of thanks to God.
Getting ready checklist
Further suggestions and adaptations on using this prayer
Decorate your prayer station with images of babies and toddlers of a variety of ethnicities. Place a basket on the table with a selection of baby rattles available. Provide instructions inviting participants to select a rattle to pray this prayer.
Experiment with making your own rattle or shaker using an empty plastic bottle or container with lid filled with dried rice or chickpeas or small items such as buttons or safety pins. Explore different sounds the rattles make depending on the contents and decide on a sound that is your sensory preference. Use your homemade rattle to pray this prayer and keep it in your prayer kit to use for prayer at other times.
Invite everyone to bring along a rattle with them or provide enough for each person to hold a rattle. Extend the prayer to become an intercession prayer. Pray for babies and small children in your own country who live in poverty or are in families experiencing hardship. Pray for babies and small children in countries where there are famines, disasters or war.
Build up a collection of rattles which are safe to be used by all ages. Invite donations of rattles until you have enough for there to be one for each person. Pass around rattles for this prayer and invite a joyous noise of gratitude as you pray.
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