Category: creative

Praying from Mark 1:29-45

We’re in the book of Mark this year, at Student Soul. Last night, Tom was preaching from Mark 1:29-45. He’d given me the framework for his sermon…

Doesn’t thrive in the hype
Involves determined pursuit of prayer
Is soaked with compassion.

I wrote a responsive prayer that we prayed together (room divided into left/right – each line in the stanza read by left/right/all)

We are invited to transformation
To be transformed
To help transform.

Not hyped
Not drawing attention to ourselves
Not as if we had all the answers

But offering ourselves
In all our humanity
In our strength and in our weakness

We are invited to transformation
To be transformed
To help transform.

We are reminded to pray
To withdraw from what needs to be done
To be refreshed and restored by God

We do not do it alone
We cannot do it alone
We are dependent upon God

We are invited to transformation
To be transformed
To help transform.

We long to be like Jesus…
Soaked with compassion, choosing to act
Caring, healing, transforming

Transform us
Transform our world
Show us our part in that

We are invited to transformation
To be transformed
To help transform.

But before we prayed the prayer, I invited everyone to write on a blue post-it something in our world that needs transforming; and on a pink post-it, something in themselves that needs transforming.

We placed those on a large window, in the shape of the cross that we could see, outside, through that window.

We then prayed the responsive prayer together.

The final stage was returning to the window to take someone else’s post-its and praying in small groups for the things written on them.

All up, the service was great. Worshipful, challenging, encouraging, inspiring.

(For the meditation gathering at Otago University)

Glenn Carstens-Peters







It’s suddenly winter and it’s suddenly cold.

The wind bites through our clothes.

Are we prepared for this?

Did I wear enough layers?

Did you?

Did I remember my gloves?

Did you?

Have I remembered how to live,

how to thrive in this season

that is new, yet as old as time?

Have you?


Recall the feeling of the wind

Recall the feeling of the rain

The cold-footed sensation of stepping in a puddle

The blast of wind as a door is opened.

Do you remember the joy of falling snow?


Experiences shared

Acknowledged through conversations spoken

Acknowledged through ironic smiles almost hidden by scarves

You are not alone in this

I am not alone.

We are not alone.




Looking back, where have I found a source of warmth?

Through a person? A relationship?

Through activity that warms my core,

even if my extremities remain chilled.

In front of a fire; or radiant heater.

In warm water.

In a patch of sunshine.


Remember that sensation

What is the source of such warmth?

What energy lies behind it?

What goodness?

What grace?


Today, in this moment

What brings warmth and goodness and grace?


Today, in this moment

How do I express gratitude for warmth and goodness and grace?


Today, in this moment

How can I share warmth and goodness and grace?


As we leave this place

May we take a sense of gratitude for warmth and goodness and grace

May we share that warmth and goodness and grace

With all who journey, all who seek to survive, all who seek to thrive.

A prayer for others

Today was my first time doing something “up front” at our newish church in Dunedin. We’ve been attending for almost a year, but I’ve been diligently NOT doing stuff, instead spending energy on completing my PhD.

It was REALLY nice to be back contributing today.


I’d prepared a basket of goodies, which i invited people to select something from as they arrived at church.

There were: shells, lollies, money, coloured pencils, birthday candles, bandaids, puzzle pieces, maps. It was fun to give them out: not least to the boy who kept coming back for more (maybe he was hoping I’d soften on the one money/one lolly rule :)).

We usually have the prayer for others at the end of the service, when the kids are out at KidzTime, but we moved it so they were still in and got to pray with us too.

For the prayer, I’d basically selected a kinda positive and a kinda negative about each item: something to be glad of and something to pray for.

I started by naming the fact that as well as holding a physical item in our hands, we also came holding stuff in our hearts: the good and bad of the week past. The things that brought us joy and the things that concerned us.

And then i prayed through each item. Things like:

Candle: which we light to celebrate birthdays, but we also light candles at sad times, in memory or to pray.

Lollies: which we enjoy/help us be sensible and healthy/help those who don’t help enough to eat: help us to be generous

Coloured pencils: school – kids and teachers/may people who colouring in (as so many do) find connection with the Creator, as they create

Bandaid: for those who hurt and those who heal

Money: too little/too much

Puzzle piece: recreation/that people will have enough friends to play with

Shells: beach walk, whales, bush, birds, beauty of our part of the world/climate change

Map: our neighbourhoods/people who feel lost, that they will find their way home

The things we hold in our heart.

Why did I pray like this?

I like giving people something tangible to hold, and to take away. The physicality of something can help focus our prayer. And it can serve as a reminder of God, and God with us, in the days ahead.

I wanted to help people remember that we can pray with everyday things. So when we colour we can be glad of the Creator. When we hear the rescue helicopter, or a police siren, we can pray for all those affected.

And to see the good and the hard together. That as we are grateful for the beauty of a beach walk, we can also remember those whose houses are threatened by rising sea levels. Not to make us gloomy, but to make for solidarity and concern beyond ourselves.

To create sparks. Sparks that might grow into flames.

I was keen for the kids to be in with us, not because it is the sort of thing that we should just do with kids, but because I didn’t want them to miss out on either collecting something, or on praying together. Kids can do the BEST praying!

I had some people thank me for all the work, but really we just collected shells on a beach walk, I shopped for candles and pencils and the rest were “found” objects from around the house. (We have a very useful bag  of puzzle pieces we bought just to give away like this). So it was easy. And it was connective for people. And fun (for me at least!). My shell will be placed with some of its shell-friends in our bathroom, and will remind me to pray for the world God loves.