Remember when your teacher put “Thanksgiving” up on the board and challenged your class to make as many words as you could using those letters? That’s how a scramble prayer works, except the challenge is to make words that will fit into a prayer. Follow these instructions to create your own scramble prayer:
- First, start with a long source word. Examples: Reformation, Christmas, Knowledge
- Then, invite children to make smaller words using the letters in your source word. For example, from “Reformation” we can make words such as “time” and “name.”
- To finish, write a prayer that includes your source word and some of the children’s smaller words.
When I do this, I usually write the actual prayer, but with more time and as age dictates, the children could also do a great job of writing it on their own!
Next, use these steps to share the scramble prayer during worship:
- Paint giant letters on the front side of picket-style signs – one child and one letter per sign. On the back of the sign, write the child’s name and the words their letter is in.
Note: The words will look backwards to the children to enable the congregation to read them.
- Children start by standing in a line spelling the source word.
- Children step forward with their letter to form new words as the prayer is read.
- Children always return to their spot in the source word after creating each new word.
Just so you know, there will be chaos! Take a deep breath. Then practice. Kids feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment as they lead the prayers in this refreshing new way.
Ready to get started? Here is an example:
Reformation Sunday scramble prayer
Leader: On this R-E-F-O-R-M-A-T-I-O-N Sunday, we invite you to pray with eyes wide open.
Let us pray.
Loving God, we come to you for guidance as we live in this day and T-I-M-E.
Guide us in your ways of love and care.
Be our courage as we say N-O M-O-R-E when things are not F-A-I-R.
Be our F-I-R-E as we bring your light and hope to all people – to those working on a F-A-R-M to the O-N-E sitting behind us today, and to the stranger we have yet to meet.
Good and gracious God, we trust that you will provide us with all that we need to do our part to live lives of R-E-F-O-R-M-A-T-I-O-N today, and in the days to come.
In the N-A-M-E of Jesus we pray. A-M-E-N.
Now one more thing: if you pick source words that include M-N-A-E, you can include a well-known ending to your prayer.
This is just one way to get kids involved in creating and leading worship. Can you think of other games or activities that could do this too?
For other ideas, see " 5 great youth ministry games," "Get to know your name: Name games for preschoolers," and " Ideas to add purpose to Sunday school creative activities."