We use the Prayer Tree at our All Age Services.
As people come in they are given a prayer leaf and a pencil; if they wish they can write their own prayers on the prayer leaf.
Currently, we have the Prayer Tree towards the end of the service, after the Creed, but in the past we have had it before the children go out to their groups.
The prayers are collected up and read out by the leaders (we find using two voices works better) and each prayer finishes with "Amen".
We find all ages take part in the prayer tree; adults may pray for friends' illnesses or natural disasters or give thanks for friends and family, while the smallest children may spend weeks praying "Thank you for fire engines" or hand in a scribbled leaf that is held up as "This is Emily's prayer". But in this setting all of our prayers are seen as equally valid.
A Prayer Chain
In our All Age Service everyone was given a strip of paper on which they could write their own personal prayers.
As it was Lent we used purple paper, but mulitcoloured or white paper would also work well.
During our time of intercession the leaders read out the prayers and we then linked them together to make a prayer chain.
We added to the prayer chain during the midweek toddler service and at our service on Mothering Sunday.
The prayer chain was then placed on the cross.
We asked everyone to write their prayers on strips of paper which were then woven into a frame.
We used this in a school end of year service.
Two or three children from each class and members of the school staff read out their prayers and wishes for the future and then each child came and placed their strip in the frame.
During the weaving we sang the song "Colours of day..."
One of the stations at our liquid worship service for Palm Sunday gave people the opportunity to paint stones, either with words or symbols, for anything they wanted to pray about. These stones were then left at the foot of the cross.
We used this at an end of year school service entitled "One more step..."
We asked everyone (including staff) to draw round one of their feet and decorate their footprint.
On the other side they wrote their hopes or wishes for the future. We asked for a variety of hopes and wishes - for themselves, for their school, village or the wider world.
During the service a selection of the hopes and wishes were read out and then each class in turn placed their footprints on a black sugar paper road that stretched along the nave, turned a corner and disappeared out of sight into the north transept.
We felt it was important that the road did not just stretch out into nothingness but went somewhere. In the north transept we set out the Godly Play figures from the Good Shepherd and World Communion set as if they too were on a journey.
The journey ended with the figure of the Good Shepherd and the sheep. As each class left the service they were taken into the north transept to see the figures (the younger classes wanted to stop and play with them!)
The theme song for our service was "One more step along the world I go..."