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/ 26 January 2024

Watch and Pray: A lent journey for children

Sarah Agnew, the diocesan Family and Children’s Ministry Advisor for the Diocese of London, shares her review of Watch and Pray, the Church of England’s children’s resource for Lent.

As we venture into Lent and the Easter season, I am looking for new resources that can be used with children. Watch and Pray is the national Lent resource for 2024 which invites us all to wait expectantly for God to meet us and sustain us through the storms and trials we all face.

Seeing that they had a version for children, I popped over to Church House to pick up a copy. Here’s why it’s worth getting this resource for your community…

About the children’s resource

The resource will take children on a journey that offers small steps designed to help them on their Lent journey, as they grow closer to Jesus.

The booklet has 40 actions and challenges to try; one for each day of Lent. There is also a theme each week, focusing on different ways to wait and see God at work:

  • Week 1: Waiting together
  • Week 2: Waiting and moving
  • Week 3: Waiting on the Holy Spirit
  • Week 4: Waiting quietly
  • Week 5: Waiting for Gods help
  • Week 6: Waiting for Easter (Holy week)

At the beginning of each week, there is a short reflection about the theme, a bible verse to focus on and a prayer for the week.

The actions for each day include thanking God, thinking of others, praying for what is around you in your context, thinking more deeply about faith, sharing, and doing something for others. The themes within the actions include mental health, faith, school, friendships, current news, prayer, reflection, and action.

I was compelled by this resource; it helps us think about how we respond to what is happening in the world right now and how we nurture children in what can feel like a hopeless, scary world. It helps us as carers to accompany children on their spiritual journey; stepping back and focusing on what God can do in the midst of everything that seems impossible.

 

How churches can use the children’s resources

  • Encourage parents to use it at home: there is an accompanying booklet for grown-ups as well as a free app!
  • Use it with your children’s groups and Sunday school – take them on the Lent journey together
  • Hand it out in your church and wider community!
  • Adapt the resource’s themes for your sessions

 

If you have any questions about how to make use of the resource in your context or need support, please feel free to drop the Children and Youth Ministry Support team an email at children@nulllondon.anglican.org.

I hope you have fun using this resource with the children and families you are in contact with as you are taken through Lent to Easter!

 

Where to get the resources

Head to https://cofe.io/WatchAndPray to access all the resources.

You can order online in packs of 10 or 50, as well as individual copies.

 

Resources for schools

The Archbishops’ Young Leader Award has six weeks of collective worship resources for schools including liturgical suggestions, Bible passage activity, video exploration, practical and prayerful actions, and additional ideas for connecting home, church and school.

Find out more and sign up for these free resources, available from 8 February.

 

Resources for individuals

  • Reflections via email: Sign up and get free daily Lent reflection emails (except Sundays) delivered straight to your inbox from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day. Our daily emails will offer Bible readings, short reflections and a practical challenge, as well as prayers linked to weekly themes.
  • Reflection booklets: Daily reflections will also be available as booklets for both adults and children and are available to pre-order from Church House Publishing.
  • Campaign app: The free Watch and Pray app for both iOS and Android will be released in early February. Sign up to make sure you get an email as soon as it becomes available.
  • Smart speakers: Audio versions of the Lent reflections will also be available for free on Alexa-enabled smart devices from Ash Wednesday (14 February).

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