Preparation: create a photo or picture collage of things that we do with our friends, different activities, etc. Put either a cross or praying hands in the center. OR draw a big scribble and put the name of a friend in one of the sections and then different things about him/her around it–for more details go to the blog Worshipping with With at this link. You will need to scroll down to the ideas for this text. This is to have a visual. The message can be done all orally if you choose.
Gather the children. Ask them to name some things they do with friends. Show them your poster and talk about those things (add to it if you can) or Show them your name scribble and talk about your friend in particular.
“There are many things we can do with our friends. You know Jesus had friends too. He had his disciples and the people who followed him and he did all kinds of things with them. Can you think of any? He walked with them, talked, hung out under trees, went to cities and towns, drank and ate, etc. Do you think he did any of the things we listed like play games? Well today we hear from Jesus who had done all these wonderful things with his friends and we hear that Jesus reaches out to us too and calls us friend, a loved child of God. And what he is doing is praying. Yep he’s ‘thinking about all the things his friends have done and all the things they will need to do even when he is not with them any more to teach about God’s love. He’s thinking about them and about us and he is praying. He prays that all those ways that we live and play and learn are ways that we also show love to others. He prays that we will know what to do when hard things come into our lives. He prays that we will know how to love others and that God will be with us. So Jesus prayed for the disciples and he prayed for each one of you–that you will know how to be friend and love others.”
If you have done the name scribble, tell the kids how to do this and then encourage them to do this during the sermon or at a worship station or at home. Describe how the name scribble shows things about the person that they can pray for specifically. They can make this for their friend, say the prayers for them when they give it them or before, like a blessing of the drawing.
“One of the ways I have been taught to pray is to hold hands so that both thumbs point left.”Demonstrate by holding hands of the two children on either side of you. “See one hand is underneath, so it is being supporting this person. The other hand is on top so it is being supported. Let’s hold hands in a circle so that we are being supported by our neighbor and offering support to the other neighbor as well pray. Jesus, thank you for the gift of friends. Thank you for sending us to the world to be a friend. Help us to love them and support them and show them your grace. Amen”
Jesus’ prayer today gives us a promise and blessing that we will also always be held in his love. Let’s say our blessing together while making the sign of the cross. “God in my head, God in my heart, God on my left, God on my right” Amen
Worship Station: Have paper and markers and sample ‘friend scribbles’. Invite people to pray for a friend or friends by creating this name scribble and praying for each part of their friend’s lives. Another way to do this would be to write different places on the globe or different issues in the spaces of the scribble and pray over them.