Prayer for Evangelism in Schools

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Prayer at School

Imagine a class of 14 year olds at a normal high school in England.

This week Catherine and I had the privilege of attending an Orison prayer experience at a local high school. Orison is one of several groups that create prayer spaces and a Christian prayer experience in schools across the UK. As part of the RE curriculum they set up and allow students to experience and ask questions about prayer.

I'd never attended anything like this outside of a 'Christian' environment so was intrigued to see what and how they ran it. I was very impressed with what I saw.

Students were welcomed in, seated and watched a brief intro video that had young Christians talking about how and why they prayed. Within the room there were several zones that allowed various aspects of prayer to be practiced in interactive ways. The students were split into small groups of 5-7 people and sent to different zones. They were told they would have several minutes in each location then would be rotated around so they could experience all of it. Each zone had a volunteer who welcomed the students and explained what the area was for and then left them to explore and do what they wanted within the space.

The Zones:

Sorry: an area to explore forgiveness, towards others and from God. There were magna-doodles (etch-a-sketches) upon which you could write what needed to be forgiven and then erase it, or you could imagine things that you needed to let go of and then drop an effervescent tablet into water and watch it disappear.
Quiet: this was an area that encouraged quietness and focusing on the idea that our prayers rise to God and He hears all our prayers. There was space for contemplation, with comfortable cushions and lights and a large tube that had bubbles continually rising. You were encouraged to write prayers on post-it notes and leave them on the bubble tube.
World: had a large world map and globe allowing students to write prayers for nations and creation on post-it notes, as well as a section about justice issues and a chance to write a letter to God asking him to change specific situations.
Discovery: had a large floor area covered with paper so the students could write questions for God, as well as a plasma globe to use as a discussion point for prayer; ie connection with a source of energy.
Image: an area that helped students consider their identity; how they view themselves and how God views them. They could look at their reflection and ask some questions, write their name on the palm of a hand and write/erase hurtful names that others had called them in sand.

At the end of the session there was a feedback time collectively; what they had enjoyed and why. It was all very positive and I saw every student engage with what was happening.

Now that is exciting stuff.