All Saints Day has been celebrated since the 600s AD, and days to honor Christian martyrs started in the 300s. Depending upon your denomination or faith tradition, you may or may not have heard of it–or participated in a worship service where those who have died are remembered, and where we give thanks for those who have inspired us throughout the ages.
All Saints Day is a great time to remember family and friends who have died in the past year. It’s also a time to honor and remember people who have impacted our lives who have gone to be with God. While All Saint’s Day is traditionally on November 1st, you could celebrate this anytime around the beginning of November or as a part of your Thanksgiving celebration as a family or small group.
Here are a couple of PRAYER STATION ideas that you can do at home or with your entire Church Community or youth group.
CREATE A PRAYER TREE: you can use a Light Up Tree, like these found on Amazon or like in the
photo above. We used an artificial ficus tree that was already in the worship space and added white Christmas lights (soft not LED). We had a basket of sharpie markers of various colors and mailing tags from office depot/staples that already had string in them to use to tie them on the branches.
You can also create a tree with a few large branches (without leaves) stuck securely in a bucket and make tags out of colorful index cards or even print off various shaped leaves, punch a hole in the top and add some yarn…then these card tags or leaves can be added to the tree branches.
Have enough tags for everyone to have at least 2 apiece.
ALL SAINTS FAMILY TREE: The focus of the station is on the people who have encouraged our faith or the people who have inspired us to draw closer to Jesus
SIGN/Directions: Hebrews 12:1-8 Print out the passage and/or use it as your family devotion or as the basis of your sermon/talk.
If you do this as a family or small group, rather than as a prayer station, pass around a basket filled with tags and sharpie markers or pens for everyone to do this together.
You can also do this as a “Corporate Response” where your entire church community participates together rather than doing it individually as a prayer station. Have the tree set up in the front or back of the worship space and have the tags in the seats or pews or pass around a basket with the supplies.
FAMILY TREE (PRINT out this as directions for station or read aloud to have everyone participate together)
Consider all the people who have encouraged you to seek Jesus. Think about the people in your life, family, friends, teachers, youth leaders, neighbors, etc who have helped you along the way in your journey with Jesus or along your faith journey. These people might even be ones you’ve read about in books.
NOTE: if doing this as a corporate response, give people time to pray and time to write down their responses. Don’t hurry.
Part 1: WRITE their names on the tags and pray for them. Thank God for their lives and ask God to show you more of how they have impacted your life.
TIE THE TAG ON THE TREE (Or, have everyone come up to do this after the sermon, or following communion if done corporately. Or, they could do this on the way out of church)
Part 2: Now think of someone in your life who needs to know the love of God…who may need encouragement on his/her journey with Jesus. Write that person’s name on a tag and take it home with you. Hang it somewhere where you will be reminded to pray for that person. Ask God to help you inspire and encourage this person to know God better and ask God to help you to inspire others around you in the coming weeks.
This idea can carry on to THANKSGIVING and make it a THANKSGIVING TREE:
Continue the prayer tree idea …you can take off the names of the” saints” or you can add to the tags on the tree. If you used only one color of tags for the SAINTS tree, you might use a different color for the Thanksgiving tags.
Thanksgiving is a lost holiday in our culture…it sadly gets lost between Halloween candy and Christmas decorations and shopping. Yet we are called to give thanks as Jesus gave thanks.
So what are you thankful for today? What are some great things or some little things that you can see as gifts of God and thank God for today?
Give everyone time to pray and write.
Write your prayers on the tag and hang them on the tree. THANK Jesus for the things he has given you and ask Jesus to give you eyes to see the blessings and gifts he is giving you each week. and Ask God to help you be more grateful in the days ahead.
The Thanksgiving tree can be added to each day if you are doing it at home, or each time you meet if you are creating it with your small group or in your Worship community.
You can create the station in the narthex or entryway to the worship space or set up the tree in the sanctuary and add to it after communion or as you leave worship. Also, encourage people to write down what they are thankful for during the week and bring this to your worship gathering to add to the tree.
You could also have people bring in framed photos for their “saints” to share with each other. They could put the photos on a table or even near the altar to honor the people who have impacted their lives or the people they want to remember or honor on All Saints Day.