Prayers for Forgiveness

Dissolving Prayers 

Cut clear acetate sheets, such as those used for an overhead projector, into three-inch (8cm) squares. Give one square to each person and distribute non-permanent projector film pens.

Have each person draw or write something on the acetate that symbolizes a sin for which they would like to ask forgiveness.

Provide bowls of water and have volunteers come one at a time to place their acetate square in the water as they pray silently for forgiveness. The water should wash away any mark on the acetate, leaving the square clear and clean.

The squares can be dried off and taken home as a reminder that God answers our prayers for forgiveness.

Alternatively, create long rectangular-shaped acetates that can be taken away and used as a bookmark. A suitable text about forgiveness could also be permanently printed on the bookmark using specialist printer acetates and a computer printer on the correct setting.

Clean Stone Prayers 

Collect a pile of very muddy stones or rocks of different shapes and sizes. You may need twice as many stones as group members so that they may have a choice of stones.

You will also need some bowls of warm soapy water, paper towels, and a place where members can wash their hands. You may also need to protect the surfaces of your tables.

Have class members choose a muddy stone. Point out that the stone represents our life and the mud represents the sins that often cling to our lives. Have them find a partner and then explain to their partner why they chose their stone. Then let the partner take their stone, gently wash it clean, dry it well, and give it back to its owner.

While each member’s stone is being washed, have them pray a short, silent prayer for forgiveness, and then receive their clean stone.

The stones may be taken away as reminders that God forgives us for all our sins.

This may also be done individually, with people washing their own stones as they pray. Or it may also be used as part of a Communion service.

Clean Feet Prayers 

An adventurous group might like to try this activity. You will need lots of sheets of thick plastic to protect the floor, and you will need to be careful that nobody slips on this plastic. Alternatively, this could be done outdoors.

You will need two sets of basins, one set with wet sand and one set with clean water for washing feet. You will also need towels and a selection of body moisturizing lotions.

Have a volunteer read aloud John 13:10, in which Jesus says that those who have been washed clean only need to wash their feet. So the washing of feet can symbolize the washing away of our sins.

Organize the class into pairs and have them take turns putting their feet in the wet sand, having their feet washed and dried, and finally having moisturizer massaged into the feet.

Encourage those having their feet washed to spend time in silent prayer, offering their sins for forgiveness and experiencing the washing clean that Jesus offers.

Point out that the massaging of the feet with the moisturizing lotion is a reminder of the extravagant act of Mary when she poured the perfume on Jesus’ feet, and this can be a symbol for the extravagant grace we receive from God.

Patchwork Cross 

Make a large cross out of thick card­board to suit the size of your group. Provide glue sticks, pencils, and lots of 3” (7cm) squares of paper in different colors. You may be able to find a sticky note block that has lots of different colored layers.

Have class member choose a selection of colored papers and use a pencil to write a word or draw a symbol on the sticky side of each note that represents a sin. Then have them stick their papers onto the cross, word/drawing side down, so that the writing can’t be seen. The papers can overlap to cover the cross entirely. If there are any gaps, have the group work cooperatively to cover the cross.

Then hold hands in a circle around the cross and thank God for His amazing forgiveness.

If you wish, you can cover the cross with adhesive film so that none of the papers can be lifted again and use the cross to decorate your classroom.

Salty Prayers 

In an assortment of flat-bottomed containers, such as lasagna dishes, sprinkle the inside with plain salt. Have class members use their finger to write a word or draw a symbol in the salt that represents one of their sins.

Then, as they pray for forgiveness, have them pick up the dish and shake it very gently. When they have finished praying, their sin has vanished forever and left no trace. They could not find it again if they searched through the salt. This is a symbol of how God deals with our sins.

Bubble Prayers 

Provide each class member with a child’s jar of bubble solution. Encourage them to blow some bubbles to represent their sins.

As soon as they have blown the bubbles have them close their eyes and pray for forgiveness for those sins. When they have finished praying, they can open their eyes. The bubbles will have disappeared without a trace. Point out that they can never be returned to the jar.

Karen Holford
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists