In Mark 1, John calls the people of Israel out from their towns and villages, away from their farms and fishing boats, into the wilderness. It is a barren place, at times a threatening place. Yet there is a river out there. We could perhaps imagine that this river in a desert is an image of Jesus living in our midst. He brings life where there is none.
For this way of prayer, fill a tray with dry sand and a jug with water. You can either demonstrate this form of prayer, or invite people to experience it themselves. If you have larger numbers, you could place sand trays around the sanctuary so more people can be involved.
First, invite people to try and build something out of the dry sand. It is crumbly and will not hold its shape. Reflect on how our lives, apart from Christ, can be formless and uncertain like this sand. Now make a channel down the centre of the tray with your finger, and pour the jug of water in. It will flow down the channel and then soak into the sand. Keep pouring until there is enough water to make all the sand wet. Now invite people to make something again. This time the sand will hold its shape, creation is possible because of the water. Reflect on how Christ gives meaning and shape to our lives. Note also how the water binds itself to the sand, there is no separation. This speaks of Christ who is with us, and in us.
Close by praying that Christ might give shape to our lives and the life of the world, bringing growth to barren places.
Have towels for people to wipe their hands on, as wet sand can be sticky!