Shredder was a character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wasn’t he? Anyway, this is different, so sorry, no ninjitsu today! (Come to think of it, a ‘shredder’ is also someone who plays amazing guitar riffs!) Anyway…
Young people and leaders write on bits of paper things they want to clean out of their lives. The paper is then brought forward to the front and put through a shredder to symbolise the shredding of people’s sins by Jesus at the Cross.
The shredded bits of paper can be disposed of more thoroughly later if need be. Thanks to Andy S for this idea!
In Isaiah 59.1-2 the Lord made it clear that our sin can cause God to turn away from us. It’s no small thing when we read in James 5.16 that the prayers of a righteous person are effective! We need to get right with God to make our prayers truly effective. Spend time before praying getting right with God. James 5.16 also says confess your sins to each other and pray for each other. How many of us regularly confess our sins to others! Yes, we have been ‘made right with God’ through Jesus. But our actions, lives, hearts, thoughts are also in need of God’s touch to make them right!
Take a stone each
Maybe next to and from a river. Each young person (and leader!) has a stone. The stone represents something they want to say for as they no longer want to carry the weight of it in their hearts.
If they are by a river, they can throw the stone back into the river as a sign of getting rid of the weight. If not, make a wooden cross and they put the stone down at the foot of the cross.
Bin that sin
Simple really. Write down a sin on paper or draw the sin then get a bin and screw up the paper and chuck it into the bin as hard as you can. Shout ‘get out’ and ‘get lost’ or something loud to accompany it to give it some real force!
Prayer balloon confession
Write down and/or encourage people to write on a small slip of paper a confession prayer. This is really admitting to God that you have not done wrong, that you are sorry and that you want him to forgive that sin.
Once this is written down, roll up the bit of paper (and hopefully it is only a small bit of paper) and put it into a balloon. Inflate the balloon and then tie it up so it doesn’t whiz off somewhere randomly.
The fun part now comes when you invite everyone to pop or jump on the balloon containing this confession as a public sign that they want to burst this sin and get rid of it from their life.
If it is easier, write on the balloon instead of using paper.
Pray telling God what he is like
When you look at some of the Old Testament prayers, they often seem to repeat back to God what he has done for them and what God is like. Why not do this. I remember a really powerful prayer time when we just prayed – ‘God you’re awesome’, ‘God you’re the creator of everything’, ‘God you’re faithful’, ‘God you’re all powerful’, ‘God we worship only you.’ Try it – telling God his character!
Burn that sin!
This was especially powerful when we used this (for some reason our group love candles). We had one main candle at the front and a metal bowl next to it. We gave all the young people a bit of paper and encouraged them to write things and sins on the paper that they wanted to get rid of in their lives. These were kept private. As the music played (with the lights dimmed) they came forward one by one to ask God for forgiveness and symbolically burnt the paper and put it in the metal bowl. (NB. Have some water, fire extinguisher, fire service etc. standing by!)
Ask people to talk about answered prayer to encourage others. This is often forgotten but thank God for his answered prayers. The Bible encourages us to offer our prayers with thanks (Philippians 4.6, 1 Thess 5.17-18). A good way to kick-start prayers!
Get people to symbolically wash their hands before praying to symbolise repentance and washing themselves clean before God.
Pray for those who hate you
Read Matthew 5.43-48.
With the events of September 11 and the Madrid bombings (and many others), we saw some of the evil potential of man. However, people like ISIS or terrorists remind me in a way of the apostle Paul who considered himself the worst of all sinners and yet God had mercy on him. I was challenged by what someone wrote recently – how many of us really want our Muslim neighbours to get saved?
We need to pray for the on-going war against terrorism, that terrorists would be revealed and saved, for our world leaders especially the President and our Prime Minister – with a massive burden on their shoulders, also for the many victims’ families.
Jesus tells us we must forgive people – 777 times if need be! The Lord’s Prayer also tells us to forgive others. Forgive before expecting God to answer. I have seen people see amazing answered prayer – and one woman was healed out of her wheelchair after she forgave someone for something that had happened 25 years earlier.
Pray for your enemies
Why not actually make a habit of praying for someone you find it hard to get on with. I’ve done this and it really helps! Remember God has called us to be his body in love and unity. Love covers up each other’s faults (see 1 Corinthians 13!)