A Closing Prayer or Night Prayer for camps or youth group gatherings.
Equipment: Tea Light Candles (one per person) and a Lighter
Opening Reflection: Our Deepest Fear
Gather the group in a circle, seated so that all can see each others’ eyes.
Begin with the following quote…
Our Deepest Fear
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous. Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Reading: Matthew 5:14–16
Have someone read Matthew 5:14–16
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”(TNIV)
“I want us to think about being ‘light’. I’m going to give you each a little candle (hand out Tea Light Candles – one per person present). Starting with (the person on my left), I want you to light your candle off the person next to you and as you do so, to say one thing that brings light to your life. It may be something a friend says to you, or does for you or with you. It may be something else … about God, or about your cat, or from nature. Something that ‘brings light to your life’”
Once this is done, enjoy the well lit room for a moment.
“Now we’re going to do the opposite. Starting with (the person on my right), I want you to name something that snuffs out your light – like harsh words, or the cruel actions of another, or a sad experience. As you name it – blow out your candle.”
As the room darkens you will sense a growing poignancy in the room. With the last person, the space will suddenly go very dark and a small gasp will no doubt rise from many lips.
Let the darkness stand for a moment.
Then offer this prayer (relighting a candle as you do):
“Lord, as we head home (to bed), to sleep, to rest…
help us to be people who bring light to others;
to all those around us.
Help us to never be the one to snuff out the light of another
– even though we have had our light extinguished at times.
As we awaken to a new day,
may we be light to the world.
And as we let our light shine,
may others see our light and praise our Father in heaven.”
Prayer: Lord, it is night
Invite someone else to read this prayer from the NZ Anglican Prayer Book:
Lord it is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done.
Let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.
In your name we pray.
Song: This Little Light of Mine
If there are strong singers present they might like to lead the group in singing “This Little Light of Mine”. Or for fun play the song off YouTube: