“Be still and know that I am God!” (NRSV) Psalm 46:10
You don’t need a candle to pray, but if you’re an easily distractible, extremely busy, over-scheduled fifth or sixth-grader, a candle can’t hurt.
Perhaps it’s just the pace of life in Chicago, but I’m convinced that children (as well as adults) need quiet and stillness. I was only 60 percent convinced of this until a rather fidgety sixth-grader asked me “Are we going to do that praying in color thing again this evening? I had a rough day and really need it.” I smiled. For each week, the fifth and sixth-graders in the youth group make time for silence and stillness and prayer and candles…because candles are kinda special.
Like all tools for prayer, candles help us focus and remember that God is present. “I wish I could do this more often, but I don’t have a candle,” said a fifth-grader after the youth group closed in prayer and stillness. I had extras in a closet. So on that occasion, each of them went home with a little battery-powered candle. I’ve found, you see, that it’s usually good to keep extra battery-powered candles around. But when we are together, the kind that when extinguished leave a smokey scent spread all around the room are reminders that the fire of the Holy Spirit will never leave us.
Prayer: Good and gracious God, thank you for the gift of quiet and stillness. Thank you, too, for extinguished candles with smoke and scent spreading around us reminding us that in the quiet and stillness, the Holy Spirit’s light remains with us. Amen.
Deaconess Claire Schoepp, Chicago, IL