By Luke Johnson | November 28, 2017
The coming of Advent marks the beginning of a new Christian Year in the church. Turn into the New Year by committing your hopes, fears, challenges, questions, and thoughts to God in this reflective activity. The first side of the "Prayers sheet" asks, "What happened in your life this year?" to help you reflect on the year you've just come through. The flip side invites you to think about the year ahead, and to commit it line by line to God's care.
For each person, you will need:
- Prayers sheet
- pen or marker
On each envelope, write:
- "Advent New Year's Prayers YEAR"
- and make a line where each person can leave his or her name
Insert a copy of the "New Year's Prayers" sheet into each envelope. (Pre-bundling the envelopes and papers saves time!)
Running the activity
Introduce the Advent season to your group, and invite each person to grab an envelope and a pen, and to spend 15-20 minutes thinking about the upcoming year, and to write on the enclosed "Advent New Year's Prayers" sheet any of the fears, hopes, and challenges they would like to commit to God in prayer for this coming year.
Explain that these envelopes will not be opened by anyone -- they will remain sealed until next Advent season when they will be returned to each person.
Note: Depending on the dynamics of your group, it might be prudent to invite your young people to find a quiet space to sit alone so that they can reflect on their upcoming year undestracted.
Make sure everyone seals their envelopes and marks them with their names so you don't have to open them to identify an unnamed envelope!
Then, store these away some place safe to be returned in a year. It's fun to watch young people and leaders rediscover what they were thinking about the year before!
When to use this activity
This is a great activity for the first youth night of the Advent season. You might wish to use this as a prayerful response to your introduction to Advent, to your call to listen for the voice of Jesus in the Advent season. As a leader, it is a profound experience to watch your group sit around in a "holy hush" as they put their prayers to paper.