Friday, March 11, 2011

Lent Prayer Chains

The Lenten season is upon us (it begins on Ash Wednesday, and continues through Easter), and it seems that every year I have some "thing" I choose to give up for the 40 days that ends up lasting about as long as my New Year's resolutions.

But this year, the Children's Minister at our church had a wonderful idea to help us all observe one of the spiritual disciplines of Lent: prayer.  And she managed to do it in a way that my 3 year old understands, it doubles as a craft, and is something that we can do as a family through the whole season (and is so much more meaningful than giving up soda).  How cool is that?

Lent prayer chain instructions:

This chain will be made up of 40 purple links and 7 white links, for the 40 days (not including Sundays) and 7 Sundays in Lent.  Each day will have a "label" with a date and a space to write who you would like to pray for that day.

You have two options for making the chain.  The first is to assemble one link per day as you go along, and the second is to assemble the chain all at once and tear off a link each day.  Our family chose the first option because we want to have a "craft" each day, and will end with a great decoration on Easter morning.

Materials needed:
purple paper (about 5-7 sheets)
white paper (1-2 sheets)
scissors or paper cutter
glue stick or tape
address labels (or masking tape will do in a pinch!)

1. Cut 40 1" wide strips of purple paper, and 7 1" wide strips of white paper.

2. Print 47 labels, one for each day.  Include the date and the day of Lent; for example, the first day's label would read "Day 1: March 9".  For the Sundays, you can just put "Sunday, (date)".   Make sure to leave some space to write each day's prayer focus.  If you don't have labels, you can write them each day on masking tape or something similar, or directly on the chain itself.

2. To make the chain, roll one strip onto itself to form a circle, and attach with glue or tape.  Write that day's prayer focus (your choice- can repeat if you want to!) on the corresponding label, and place the label onto the link.  To add additional links, first put the paper through the existing link that you want to connect it to, then repeat this step.

3. You now have a super-easy craft that will help your whole family focus on prayer throughout the Lenten season.

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