Sunflowers and Beeswax
On the way to 5 Senses to Prayer Book 2 - #13
It’s Labour weekend in Aoteraoa. Officially the celebration marks the 40 hour working week, unofficially, for many it marks the start of warmer days, beach swims, gathering with friends and summer activities. Summer is still a few weeks away, but there are hints of summer all around now.
I’ve chosen two prayers for this weekend from my manuscript on the journery to book 2 of 5 Senses to Prayer. The first uses sunflower seeds. It’s a good time to plant sunflower seeds for late January summer blooming. If you have a spare few minutes over the weekend, it’s a quick and easy activity. The other prayer is a beeswax candle prayer. I’m always fascinated by the behaviour of bees, their level of industry and activity, their absolute importance in food production with pollination and the incredible properties of the honey they produce. It seemed fitting to include a prayer that related to labour on Labour weekend, and this prayer fits well as a prayer for both indivduals and faith communities.
Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body.
1 Corinthians 12:27 (CEV)
I am heartbroken about the situation in Gaza. Words fail me. It is hard to know where to even begin to pray. One of my favourite prayers for stressful situations is to use a globe stress ball. It’s a simple prayer, particularly helpful if words fail you and all you have is anxiety, stress and worry. Squeeze the ball and pray - wordlessly, silently or out loud.
Here’s the actual prayer for you to use and share. It’s a bonus prayer in this week’s edition.
Globe Stress Ball Prayer
Sense of Touch (I.T.12)
Hold the stress ball in your hand. Squeeze it and squish it. Look at the markings on the ball of different countries. Find your own country and push down into it with your thumb. Pray for needs in your country. Think areas of the world which are under stress. Think of specific needs in countries other than your own. See if you can find places on the globe and squish into them with your thumb or just generally squeeze. As you prod and squish the ball in your hand, pray for specific issues of tension and stress, people in other places are currently facing.
Wherever you are this weekend, may the presence of God be with you.
On the journey
Beeswax Candles Prayer
Sense of Smell – Intercession (I.SM.9)
In a beehive, every bee has a specific role to play. Bees are not solitary creatures. They need each other, as they work together in the community of the beehive, keeping it operating smoothly. A bee might be a house bee, a guard bee, a nurse bee… there are many roles. When we belong to the community of faith, different people fill different roles. Make a beeswax candle. Smell the fragrance in the air and on your hands, as you hold the beeswax sheet, and think about your own role in the family of God and in your own faith community. As you place the candle wick on the sheet of beeswax, pray for your faith community, that despite your different personalities, skills, views, backgrounds, experience and situations, you would all strive to work together for God. Roll up your beeswax candle and pray for any specific situations facing your faith family currently. Later, place your candle in a holder or jar and light it, inviting God’s presence to light up your community so that your love would extend to others.
Getting ready checklist
· Beeswax sheets
· Central pillar candle
Further suggestions and adaptations on using this prayer
This prayer could be carried out at the prayer station but stopping before lighting the candle. The candle could be lit at home or at a later time away from the prayer station. Set up your station with a yellow cloth, a pot of honey, a vase of yellow flowers and pictures of bees and hives. You might also add images of people from within your group who are working as missionaries, aid workers or in any other role either paid or voluntary, doing their bit to pass on the good news of Jesus Christ in areas around the globe and in your own community.
This is a lovely prayer for an individual. Buy your own supply of beeswax sheets in a variety of colours and say this prayer every time you roll a new candle.
Use this prayer as written above in your small group. Cut the beeswax sheets in half so you have small candles and place them in jam jars. The other half of the candle, the participant could take home to use themselves at a later time.
Introduce this prayer with projected images or clips of bees working in a beehive. Follow this on with introducing individuals in your large group who are playing their part in the faith family. You might project small clips or static images of these people and you may choose to introduce possible needs as prayer ideas for each person. Pass around sheets of beeswax pre-cut into half and candlewicks also pre-cut. Provide time for participants to pray their prayer as they roll the beeswax candle where they are sitting. As this is happening project images of candles being lit. In conclusion invite participants to take home their candle and light it during the same day and pray again for the person they’ve prayed for as part of your gathering.
Visual Images - Static, Projected, Live Props
· Bees, beehives, different bees carrying out different tasks
· Honey and products made from honey
· People known to those praying who are playing their part in the body of Christ
· Beeswax candles, lighting candles, lit pillar candles
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