On Good Friday, the youth of our church created a walk-through, come and go prayer experience. We had eleven stations which focused on persons, items, and themes in the Holy Week story. We created the event over several weeks. As a youth leader, I really tried to let the students come up with their own ideas. Here is a step by step of how we did it.
I divided up the group into four smaller groups of three or four people and assigned each group a gospel text. After explaining what we were doing (some of the kids had been through a prayer experience before) I had them write on a sheet of paper (it was a simple chart I created) the name of a person, place or thing, the passage where it was found, and the symbolism of it. (i.e. “crown of thorns”, John __:__, pain). The synoptic gospels all had two to three chapters for Holy Week. John devotes almost half of his gospel to this one week. If I had more students, I would have divided John up into other groups.
Second… Compile the Stations
Before the next meeting, I compiled what the kids wrote into a list.
Third… Narrow Down the Stations
Then, at the next two meetings we narrowed the list down to ten to twelve favorites, then as a group we discussed how to create a station from each one. For example, “Simon of Cyrene: Who was Simon?” The kids would explain who he was. “What does Simon represent?” The kids would discuss how Simon helped Jesus do what he was unable to do for himself. “So if Simon represents helping Jesus, how do we help Jesus?” The kids would discuss. At this point we settled on the passage in Matthew where Jesus says those who help him serve “the least of these.” After we had our theme for the station, we put together a rough script with instructions.
Fourth… Flesh out the Station Ideas
We took two weeks to flesh out the stations, then on the final week, we set up. Most of the items we had were common household items or items that were already at the church. Our experience was open for four hours so we opted not to use candles and used desk lamps instead for lighting. Ours were borrowed from the choir. We got plastic table covering from the party store for $12 and covered the tables.
Fifth… Set Up and Run The Stations
On the day of the event, everyone arrived 30 minutes early so we could make sure everything was in order. I had three students work the event at a time and they rotated in shifts. Students who were not working got to go hang out in the youth building and play video games or watch movies.
The three students who were working their shift served the following roles:
greeter- handed visitors a bulletin with basic instructions and names of students who created the event;
hand washer-one station had a “foot washing” theme, but for simplicity we washed hands with water and a towel, no soap;
floater-the floater just roamed the room making sure various stations had their supplies and offering to help folks who might need assistance. The floater was just an available presence in the room.
Quiet music played in the background, some worship music and some instrumental. Most people stayed 20-30 minutes. Some left in tears. We experienced great reviews from the congregation and many people who want to do it again.
Check out our prayer stations in the links below