Activity time: 30 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Handout 2, Creating a Centering Meditation or Prayer
- Writing paper and pens or pencils
- Clock, watch, or timer that shows seconds
- Books of prayers or meditations for participants to browse for inspiration. The readings at the end of the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook Singing the Living Tradition can be used for this purpose, as can several of the books listed in the Resources section of this workshop plan.
- Optional: Computer with Internet connection
Preparation for Activity
- Review and make copies of Handout 2.
- Optional: Set up the computer and to access the Worship Web.
Description of Activity
Share with participants:
There is so much that calls out for our care and compassion.
You are invited to create your own centering in meditation and prayer that names your experiences, feelings, and hopes as you try to live compassionately.
Distribute Handout 2. Explain that participants are welcome to use the phrases on the worksheet in their own meditation or prayer, use meditations or prayers that speak to them from any resources you have provided, or write their own from scratch. Provide writing paper and pens or pencils. Tell participants they will have fifteen minutes to write, and then an opportunity to share their writings in pairs, preferably with a partner they do not know well. If you have an odd number of participants, create a triad.
Explain that pairs will have five minutes for sharing. Partners should give one another the opportunity to speak or read aloud uninterruptedly, and should listen with care and attention.
These are moments of precious sharing and confiding. We offer one another our mutual trust and regard as we share with another the words we wrote for our centering in meditation and prayer.
Suggest that when speakers have finished reading a prayer or meditation, listeners might affirm by saying "Amen" or "Thank you." Allow five or six minutes for pairs to complete sharing. Let the group know when two or three minutes have passed and remind pairs to switch the speaker and listener roles.
Gather the large group and lead a discussion with these questions:
- What was it like to write a centering meditation or a prayer? What feelings came up for you?
- Was it helpful to name what you were seeking in your prayer or meditation? If so, how? If not, what would have been more helpful?
- How can verbal prayers and meditations help us connect with our spirituality? With other people and beings?
Including All Participants
Learning or cognitive disabilities can make on-the-spot composition very difficult for some people. Have a few books of prayers and meditations available, so that participants who do not want to write their own can choose a piece to share. The Find Out More section of this workshop suggests some books well suited to this purpose.