Messy Prayer

Developing the prayer life of your Messy Church

Jane Leadbetter

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Equipping your Messy team to pray and encourage others to do so, both within and outside the Messy Church context.

  • Communicating prayer as a concept
  • Praying as a team in advance and on the day
  • Prayer ideas for the activity time, celebration time, and at home as a family
  • Ways of praying the Lord's Prayer
  • Ways to reimagine other traditional prayers
  • Creating a prayer space
  • A Messy Quiet Day outline

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Author info

Jane Leadbetter is part of the BRF Messy Church team, has worked as a primary school teacher and was Children's Work Adviser in the Diocese of Liverpool for twelve years. She runs L19: Messy Church once a month.


Ministry Today - Summer 2016

This book is excellent, packed with simple, practical ideas that can be used or adapted for many an All Age service. Aimed specifically at Messy Church, the book is structured around the particular elements of that format (the celebration time, the meal time, the home), but these are easily adaptable. Of particular interest for some is a very substantial chapter by Lucy Moore on 'Liturgical Prayers'.

There is also a useful chapter on 'Creating a Prayer Space', which doesn't have to be a permanent installation. It could be created and themed for a particular service. Of course, this might be limited by the size of the user-group or congregation. In some contexts, it might be necessary to adapt the ideas here into multiple stations. At our last holiday club, we made a huge igloo from milk bottles, which could take up to fifteen children with adults, but it would be tricky to use on a Sunday morning when the congregation can be up to 150.

The book ends with three chapters on a Messy Church session on prayer, a Quiet Day for your team, and a Messy Retreat. Even if you never hold these precise events, they might be adapted for your next church weekend. This book is handy, practical, and great value. 5/5.

Richard Dormandy

Church Times 17 June 2016

Messy Prayer by Jane Leadbetter offers practical and creative ways to introduce messy congregations to prayer. In her introduction, she points out that for many of us in childhood, collective prayer was passive: someone else prayed on our behalf, and we said "Amen."As an alternative, she suggests hands-on ways of engaging in "prayerful chatter" with God, so that prayer begins to come naturally as part of a real relationship. I have been involved in running messy churches for several years, and have noticed that seasoned practitioners tend to have a check list for deciding whether to choose a particular activity. A. Can the children we have do it, or will we mainly end up doing it for them? B. Do we have the materials, or can we scavenge them without asking the congregation to collect used bottle tops for weeks on end? C. Do the children have a fighting chance of making the connection between the activity and message? As a former primary-school teacher and messy-church practitioner, Leadbetter is clearly on the same page. Her ideas are simple to execute, and use everyday materials, and she is excellent at making the message integral to the task. She also suggests developments for messy-church teams looking for new ideas, like a Quiet Day for leaders and a messy retreat. I am going to take this book to our messy-church planning sessions, and I can imagine using it with my own children, too, as a way of helping us to pray together as a family.

Revd Catherine Pickford - Team Rector in the Benwell Team Ministry, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

This book explains the importance of spirituality in the life of a Messy Church and the importance of prayer in the life of families. It is filled with practical ideas for creating a prayer space and for using prayer in the celebration time of a Messy Church. There are ideas for liturgical prayers and for meal-time graces, and for a whole Messy Church session on prayer. Obviously many of these ideas could be used in other settings such as schools, Sunday clubs and activity sessions. It is a useful addition to the children's leader's bookshelf - and their practice!

From STAR - Diocese of Peterborough December 2015

Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857463791
  • Published: 20 November 2015
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 128
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