Prayer Trail 2018
Along the trail you will find some activities that may open for you a new way to approach God. Please partake in any you find meaningful. At each station, you will also find a box containing additional devotional materials for your use. We hope you will use the trail as often as you may need during your stay. Please know that we have prayed for each of you and your time here with the Lord.
STATION 1: An Invitation
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. ~ Psalm 23: 2-3a
Welcome to the prayer trail! We are glad you have taken time to interact with God while you are at Kingswood! With its slower pace and fewer digital distractions, camp makes a wonderful space for exploring our relationship with God.
Of course, the best way to build that relationship, just like any other, is through communication. Communication with God is perhaps the best definition of prayer. In our communication with people with whom we are building relationship, there are times for speaking, times for listening, and times for simply being together silently. Building our relationship with God is no different. Along this path you will find time and space for all of these.
This station is an invitation to rest …
Behind the bench, between some downed trees you will find some circular slices of trees. These are for creating nature mandalas.
STATION 2: Breath Prayers: Centering – Coming Into God’s Presence
Many of us find ourselves so busy with daily life that we forget to make time to listen for God or even think of God. Yet we are commanded to pray without ceasing. How can we possibly do that? The breath prayer is a simple way to pray even when time is tight. Practiced regularly, it can keep us mindful of God’s presence with us at all times. The breath prayer is a short prayer that can calm us and stop the thoughts from whirling round and round in our mind by placing our focus on God.
At this station, you are invited to discover your own breath prayer.
STATION 3: Praise and Adoration – Bubbles
God stands waiting for you to connect in prayer and delights in that contact. Rest assured that there is no right way to pray. There is no way to get it wrong unless you don’t do it.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ~ Psalm 37:4 NIV
Take some time now to get in touch with joy while blowing bubbles. Let go of heaviness just enjoy being with God in His beautiful creation.
STATION 4: Confession/Repentance – String art
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. ~ Isaiah 43:1
We all experience times when God seems far off or unconcerned about us. Sometimes it seems our prayers are going nowhere and we question if God is even listening. Nothing could be further from the truth. God longs to be in relationship with us. At this station, we take a moment to honestly consider areas of sin in our life and humbly ask forgiveness as we determine to repent and go a different way.
As a symbol, add a string to the cross on the board.
STATION 5 Intercession, Praying for Our Concerns: Weaving Us Together in Love
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ~Philippians 4:6
No concern is too great for the One who made “the heavens and the earth, the seas and everything that is in them” (Exodus 20:11)
Praying for others: At this station we will take the opportunity to pray for those persons or situations that lay heavy on our hearts.Praying for others is a double blessing…not only do we bless those who we pray for as we entrust them to the God who loves them with an everlasting love, but we are taking advantage of the invitation that is always open to us, to spend time with God.
Strips of cloth have been provided for this activity. For each request you may weave a strip through the fencing as you lift that person or situation into God’s care. As the prayer strips are added, a beautiful weaving begins to emerge, binding us together in our love and concern for each other and the world.
STATION 6: Amazing Grace – The Cross of Christ
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ~1 Corinthians 1:18
Make a cross as a reminder of God’s great love and Jesus’ sacrifice for you – a pipe cleaner cross for the little ones or a cross of nails.
STATION 7 (final station): Prayer Cairn
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
~ I Samuel 7:12
Stacking stones is a widespread practice, both historically and geographically. From prehistoric times through the present people the world over have stacked stones for a wide variety of reasons – some spiritual, some creative, some memorial, and some very practical. Uses have varied by time period and culture.
At this last stop on our prayer trail (the red trail continues, but this is the final “official” prayer stop), we invite you to build your own stone marker using the stones provided or others you may find nearby (as always, please do not dismantle stone walls at camp).
Notes for station 7
As it turns out, there are various reasons why people stack stones. It is done all over the world. Hikers often use cairns, as the rock stacks are called, to mark trails in places where the path is unclear. They indicate that the trail is nearby and may or may not be directional. Sometimes the stack will include a “pointy” stone that indicates the direction of the path. But that is not always the case. Some people use them as a type of “memorial” or to indicate that, yes, they have been there. One of the most common reasons, however, is to create a Sacred Space. It is a simple way to pay homage to the grandeur of the Universe without the need for tools. In moments, anyone can create his own personal little cathedral.
Culturally, many people associate rock stacking with the Jewish people. In the Bible, Moses “created an altar of stones.” Stones or pebbles on graves were meant to “keep the soul in place.” Based on the tradition that souls remain for a while in the graves in which they are placed, the stones help to keep them there, keep them from wandering, if you will. While many people place flowers on graves, the Jewish people considered this to be a pagan tradition and it was therefore discouraged. Stones offer a sense of permanence, representing the enduring memory of the deceased loved one .
Buddhist monks stacked stones in monasteries for contemplation. A newer Buddhist tradition however, is to stack stones at a temple as a form of worship or more likely a gesture to ask or wish for good fortune to be bestowed on the family. Each stone represents a member of the family or a particular wish.
The Inuit people have been building inuksuk for thousands of years – rock towers designed to celebrate “I am here”. They too, can be used to mark trails, to be a reference point, to indicate a message or to communicate with Spirits.
“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it,
bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
One common purpose of a cairn is to guide hikers by marking the trail or a turn in the trail or a mountain top. There are multiple reports of people in the U.S traveling across areas marked by cairns. Inuit and Yupik natives in northern regions used rock piles in a similar way; to communicate that the hiker is on the right path or to show that someone had been there. These piles were called Inuksuk, which is close to, but not entirely the same as a cairn. Native Americans and others used stacks of rocks to mark water, food sources, land boundaries or another significant places like where a battle occurred or to mark a hunting location. Stone mounds were sometimes erected as monuments to mark a burial site or as memorials.
Cairns date back to ancient times as mentioned in the Bible. Rocks and piles of rock are mentioned in the Bible as well. Genesis 31:45-52 describes how a rock pile was used as a boundary. “And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made a heap….And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shall not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm.”