The greatest of trees all start life as small humble seeds. When a seed is dropped onto prepared land it takes root and has the potential to thrive and grow into a mighty tree with deep roots. Prayer Spaces in Schools is such a tree.
Over the last year spreading the vision of Prayer Spaces in Schools has felt like sowing seeds onto fertile land that had been well prepared for years through prayer. Each month saw new opportunities to scheme with youth workers, and conversations over coffee bought to life the reality of what providing a place of encounter in the school week could do, so we set a challenge at Summer Madness to see 20 happen is the academic year.
We all have our own ideas about God, Church and prayer which effect how we view life. Prayer Spaces remove this religious clutter and make way for a new window to see God and prayer through. We have an opportunity to meet young people where they are at, during the most formative years of their lives, in a new and creative ways. Seeds are sown into young peoples hearts in these spaces that have the potential to shape the DNA of our communities… and that’s something to get excited about.
Last term we hosted vision nights and discussions, travelled the country to support individuals, started to journey with youth workers and Churches, provided training, and networked with people from Dublin to Coleraine. We have heard many stories about the impact Prayer Spaces are having as part of the Alpha course in Ireland over the last few years and have seen 10 Prayer Spaces* happen across Northern Ireland, and these are just the ones we know about. These have ranged from events run in SU’s to week long prayer spaces that local youth workers have hosted. As momentum has built parents have contacted usto see how they can support these in their children's schools and one parent has even facilitated a prayer space in her sons school which has opened opportunities for more to be delivered.
Local people have all created, facilitated and delivered the prayer spaces, and we have heard incredible stories of how they have impacted young people and schools across the land. Teachers have noticed how the behaviour of students have improved during the prayer spaces and children in one primary school fought to be the first people to read the bible during break and lunch time. One secondary school student said that ‘this type of prayer is fun’ whilst another thought about forgiveness for the first time. We have seen some young people pray for the first time and others leaving with an excitement about how they can use prayer in their lives. The seeds of prayer are taking root in our schools and they are growing.
In a nation where religion and faith divides opinion these simple stations are allowing young people to form new ways of engaging with a practice that has shaped this nation. And this may well be the greatest hope for our nation.
The momentum is growing, seeds have been sown across Ireland and Northern Ireland, and Prayer Spaces in Schools in beginning to take root in the hearts of local people. If you have a heart for your local school and young people then we would love you to start the Prayer Spaces in School journey with us. The vision is simply yet profoundly powerful so come get involved.
- Royal and Prior School, Donegal
- Lurgan High School, Lurgan
- Dromore High School, Dromore
- Bloomfield Collegiant, Belfast
- Kilkeel High School, Kilkeel
- Florence Coury Primary School, Fermangh
- Coleraine College, Coleraine
- Ashfield Girls School, Belfast
- Pais Project, Coleraine
For more information about prayer spaces check out www.prayerspacesinschools.com or contact Emma Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.