Tag Archive: prayer stations




Dance fears,

dance anger,

dance failure,

dance sorrow.

Lead, and I

will follow

the steps that will

lead me to You.

Talitha Fraser


My way is all trust and love
– St Therese of Lisieux


Christmas: A story about a Middle East family seeking refuge.

Tonight we will share together time singing carols and at contemplative stations that invite us to engage in reflection around and respond to this Christmas message. We will reflect on ideas of welcome, hospitality, divinity and explore those gifts extended to us in those advent ideas of hope, joy, peace and love in our troubled times.

Prayer stations are essentially several points of “focus” that invite you to encounter God in some way. You can spend all your time at one or make your way around several, or all of them, as you like – spending as much or as little time at each of them as you like. They are not in any special order.

This space is for silent, personal reflection. Each station generally has something to read and something to do that invites you to respond to what you have read, such as lighting a candle.

Using the charming children’s story by Mem Fox called Wombat Divine, we look at the roles that we are called to play in this Story we all participate in. What role can you play?


As we receive cards from distant friends and family, and our papers and social media are filled with what might be deemed bad news, it can be hard to know how to respond – let’s take a moment to hang those words, phrases and images that feel meaningful, for ourselves, our neighbours, our country, our world. What has been weighing on you lately?


At the set table we can “meet” some of those guests who show up in Luke’s narrative of the nativity – relatives, shepherds, angels… These guests are interspersed with images from the recent Beyond Borders photo exhibition documenting unique stories of asylum seekers and refugees.  How do you respond to unexpected guests?


We come together for more carols by the nativity scene in the Chapel when there is an opportunity to make a gift in support of the work of the staff and patients at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, the only hospital serving the 1.4 million population of Palestinians living in the violence-devastated Gaza Strip.  Hope where there is seemingly no hope.  An image of a mother and her child in juxtaposition to the nativity.



love is born


023 024 copy 025 copy


What is the kingdom of God like? To what can we compare?

Why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

What are you discussing as you walk along?…..What things?

Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?

022 copy

Queries What is our honest experience of Jesus Christ?
What are the stories that found and shape our lives, our locality, our culture?
How will we discern the Living Word who speaks to us through the biblical story, prayer and the people and situations around us?
How do the questions from the gospel stories shape our understanding?
 What are the connections between the story of the Bible, our world and ourselves?

019 copy


Do you also want to leave? Did I not choose you twelve?

Have you anything here to eat?

If there were not (many homes in my Father’s house), would I have told you that I am going to prepare a house for you?

What were you arguing about as we travelled on the road?

015 copy

Queries Who are our kin/mob/family? (Mark 3) 
In what ways will we or will we not ‘be there for each other’ as ‘family’?
How do our families of origin and previous experiences of community affect us now?
How can we practice the disciplines of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience in this locality?
What are our economic necessities? (home, household, village…etc.)
What does it mean for us to be the body of Christ? Where am I putting my own body?



When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything?

How many loaves do you have?

Which one was neighbour to the robber’s victim?

Do you want to be well?

013 - Copy

How does Jesus’ life, incarnation, death & resurrection shape our practice of mission?
Who is at our table? Whom are we offering hospitality?
 Are we dependent on those we serve? Are we experiencing hospitality from those we serve?
 What is my vocation/calling? What voices are shaping our choices?
 What is ‘good work’? 
In what ways can we put those considered least at the top of our priorities?
 How are we deepening our understanding and practice of Teaching, Healing and Exorcism in light of the Word?

 030 copy

Plans schmans




Today is one of those days with so many things to do I’m not really sure where to start and here I lie in the sun by the duck pond with You.

You make sense of everything, so I know if I bring them here before You, You can sort the wheat form the chaff, by Your grace I achieve all or none of it. I offer these tasks, my time like a sacrifice on an altar before You in the hope it pleases You and fear it will not.

It is not about volume or perfection in the sacrifice but the renewed commitment to be Your servant in all things. Help me not to hold things tightly, not to imagine I have plans, the means of achieving them or really any measure of control – only give me willing, resiliency and openness to change. Where Your will moves things get done and I want to be there to bear witness to Your power.



This beautiful artwork is used with permission of  the talented artist Liz Braid www.lizbraid.com

As of April 2014 there are 1138 children in detention in Australia’s detention centres.  It has been hard to know how to respond in the face of Australia’s inhospitable and inhumane policies/treatment of refugees seeking asylum.

Our God is Undocumented, a book by Ched Myers, offers a biblical exegesis for the American context and is drawn on below to consider the Australian context through the use of reflective prayer stations.

map of 006the world – how can we identify with the journey of refugees, pin where we are from, our parents, our grandparents… use different coloured pins {Our God is Undocumented, p.10 “We should never forget that the first immigration “crisis” on this continent came as a result of European colonisation of the Americas. This resulted in three great disasters: the obliteration of First Nations sovereignty and cultures, the violent removal of millions of Africans to the Americas in the slave trade, and the impoverishment of countless people due to relentless resource and labor extraction… poor immigrants today are simply following the trail of wealth stolen from their land centuries ago.}

Australian has its own unreconciled history with its First Nations Koori people.  Koori people have lived on this land for 50,000 years, us white folk less than 250 years.  There is a bit of a “We outnumber you and ours is the dominant culture, why don’t you just assimilate/get with the programme”  Where do we belong? What right did our ancestors have to arrive by boat for resources such as land and gold or to avoid famine?  How can we use our own personal stories/history to develop a sense of compassion for those still arriving today?  As can been seen at the Melbourne Immigration museum there have been waves of refugees from Vietnam, Philippines, Africa (Ethiopian, Eritrean, Sudanese…), Middle East (Iran, Iraq, Lebanon…) – what is the role of Australia in conflict/securing resources in these areas?009

Say (or hear) Lords Prayer together in different languages.  Spirit of Pentecost Acts 2.6,8,11 …in their own tongue. Didn’t all understand Latin/Greek but heard scripture in their own language.   {Our God is Undocumented p.28 “Perhaps it recognises that language is one of the fundamental things that makes us human and that linguistic distinctiveness characterised the original forms of human organisation before the rise of imperial monocultures.  The ancient wisdom preserved in this story reminds us that cultural heterogeneity is as essential to human social ecology as species diversity is to a healthy biosystem… more than 95% of the world’s spoken languages have fewer than 1 million native speakers.  Half of all the languages have fewer than 10,000 speakers.  A quarter of the world’s spoken languages and most of the sign languages have fewer that 1,000 users… It has been estimated that 20-50% of the world’s languages are already moribund, and that 90% (possibly even more) may be moribund or will have disappeared by 2100.”}

Does your congregating community have members from other cultures who attend? If not, why not? What are some ways to acknowledge, celebrate and affirm the cultural differences within our community? Language/stories/songs, festivals, wisdom of prophets/spiritual leaders, colours/fabrics/flags, food at morning tea, clothing… we all of us are made in God’s image – male/female, brown/yellow/black/white, no matter where we’re born. How can we draw on the richness of diversity in the God we worship?

020share communion together {Our God Is Undocumented p. 200 “Remember what has been dismembered.  This exhortation lies at the heart of the church’s eucharistic ritual, repeated with each element for emphasis. It reiterates and sums up the deep wisdom of biblical faith, the product of a people all too familiar with distress, displacements and near disappearance.  Whenever you ingest this memory, said Jesus on the eve of his execution, you join yourselves to our historic struggle to make the broken body whole.  It was, and is, both invitation and imperative, equally personal and political.  If we refuse to heed it, we are doomed to drift forever on or be drowned by the tides of empire, refugees all.”}

This is one loaf of bread. One body.
It’s broken.

As Jesus’ body was broken on the cross for us.

this bit might be me…
this bit might be Jarra…
this bit might be Ahmed…
this bit might be Rajesh…
this bit might be Sam, or Maya, or Bob, or Shirley…

When we eat this bread it is a reminder that we are all part of one whole – we might be a different colour, we might be a different size of a different shape  – but we are all part of the same body… connected.  And we are all of us broken.  In each taking a piece, and eating it at the same time, we are invited back into wholeness with God and012 with each other.

Angels – paper cut out? Something we can take away with us/put somewhere prominant to remind us to welcome the other {Our God Is Undocumented p.67 “…account of the angel travellers similarly attacked in Sodom, a violation that also ended in that city’s destruction (Jgs 19:15-25-Gn 19:1-11). …cautionary tale… “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb 13:2).

#LoveMakesAWay is a movement of Christians seeking an end to Australia’s inhumane asylum seeker policies through prayer and nonviolent love in action, you can see their Facebook page here.  This is high-level commitment advocacy but there are less “extreme” places to start…

There is an initiative in Switzerland that suggests putting stickers on your mailbox to let your neighbours know what is available to borrow – we used to be able to knock on our neighbours door but nowadays spend more time online than in realtime…

Communities like Urban Seed in Melbourne offer a free meal to those marginalised by homelessness in Melbourne – but here’s the thing, they don’t only offer food to people who are homeless, they offer food to anyone that shows up for lunch as they explore what it means to be good neighbours in a busy city of commuters and extend us the invitation/challenge to do the same through their Strangers Are Fiction campaign.

Who are your neighbours? Do you know their names? What might be one thing you could do that might lead you into connecting with them? [fruit or flowers from the garden you want to share, or baking, maybe you take the initiative to borrow something next time you realise you’re low on milk or the grass is getting tall…] …who knows where this might lead?

Dolls house – have sample forms and invite people to write their own and take them home as a way of symbolically creating space for the other in your home {Our God Is Undocumented p.107 In my fathers house there is lots of room (Jn 14:2)

I went to an art exhibition last week with some art works around the theme of showing welcome to refugees such as that by Liz Braid above – they had some mock forms on the wall that said things like:


Please come in. What a
terrible journey you’ve had!
I’m so glad you have arrived
safely and to imagine, once
you’re healed, how much you
have to offer us.  Let me help
you with your bags, we’ll have
you unpacked in no time…
You are welcome here. APPROVED

Invite people to write their own words of welcome, take them home and put them in a room of our own house with some intentionality and deliberation – symbolically creating space for the other is a good place to start and this can create some mindfulness to extending hospitality/welcome when an opportunity presents itself.


Anne Lamott has said, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.”

Let us hope. Let us try and do the right thing.


Some prayer stations we set up around our backyard, if you’re interested in this as a resource just post your email address in the comments and I’ll send it through (or email me directly if you know me).  Set-ups aren’t meant to be prescriptive, use whatever you have lying around… the numbering on the stations isn’t significant, you can do one or two, or them all in any order…



Please come around the side of the house

Just in case you haven’t come across them before.

Prayer stations are essentially several points of “focus” that invite you to encounter God in some way. You can spend all your time at one or make your way around several, or all of them, as you like – spend as much or as little time at each of them as you like.

This space is for silent, personal reflection.

You are welcome to come inside for a cuppa, catch up, time of sharing afterwards or you can go – however you feel…


Station #1Prayers Womens Wellness 021

Set-up: A bicycle propped in a bush so the wheels were free-spinning.

“Spin the wheel of the bike fast, then watch it slow… more of the detail comes into focus instead of being blurred.  Is there an area of your life where things are moving fast right now? They will slow.  Think about your breathing.  Be present in your own body… become aware of where things feel tight, or weighed down… This time, spin the wheel again, then close your eyes and breathe more slowly and deeply as the wheel slows.  Do this as often as you need.”

Prayers Womens Wellness 015












Station #2

Set-up: Cut bird templates and a birdcage.

“We can sometimes feel bound by the things we feel we ought to or should do… there are roles we play ‘responsible mother’, ‘dutiful daughter’, ‘reliable helper’
In your mind, complete the sentence “I would love to ____________ but I can’t because…”
Give freedom to that part of you today that feels bound.Take a piece of paper out of the birdcage as a symbol of release/freedom from this captivity.  Write on it.
Pray for the thing that binds you, or for freedom from that.
Do you take it with you or is it left behind still stuck?


Station #3

Set-up: Video footage/photo of the desert with soundtrack from Beirut playing

“This video footage is of sunset over the Nullarbor.
We can often think of the desert as a bleak, harsh, a dry, desolate and deadly place.

Hosea 2:14 says “Therefore, behold, I will allure her [Israel] and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart.”

The desert is not where God isn’t, where life isn’t… but where God is, where life is
Watch and listen to God soeak tenderly to you.  What life-giving thing is God calling you to?


Prayers Womens Wellness 022

Station #4

Set-up: Chair set up facing a corner with pictures of women posted all around (different ages, different nationalities, different religions, different social class, different capacities, different life stages…)  and a mirror.

“All around you are images of normal everyday women – made in the image of God… rest in these images and feminine words and phrases from the bible and know also that you are made in the image of God.  Blessed are you among women.  You have found favour in God’s sight.”

Station #5

Set-up: Fireplace/brazier

“Fires can be captivating sources of light and warmth;
Feed the fire.
Feel the light and warmth pour over you
Feel the nourishment of the Holy Spirit
pour over and around you.”

Light of the world, we confess that you are here

Shine your light into the hidden places of our lives

and bring warmth to the cold places of our hearts.


Station #6Prayers Womens Wellness 001

Set-up: Small stones and a cross

“What is weighing on your mind/heart right now?

(locally, globally, personally…)

Hold a rock as you pray for these heavy things you carry

Then put them down as a symbol of giving these concerns into God’s care.”


Station #7

Set-up: Some blankets and pillows laid out under a night sky


lift up a stone and
you will find me there
I am the hole of your doughnut
the spaces between
the stars
I am down behind the sofa
cushions with the lint and
loose change
I can be seen in raindrops
sliding down the window pane,
smelled in Johnsons baby shampoo,
heard in the drawer opening
to put away your clothes.
In the soft folds of the wrinkles
at the corners of your eyes
I am there

Lie back.
Look at the stars, the bats flying overhead
Listen… what can you hear?
Be present to the God that is with you always.


Prayers Womens Wellness 032