“My dream is that God would love me”, this was the dream of a p1 pupil as they engaged with the Prayer Space in January 2018 in St Andrew’s Presbyterian, and our response, ‘He loves you more than you could ever know.’
What a privilege it was to share God right at the heart of where children are! This is just one highlight from an incredible week of RE lessons.
The prayer space in St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Bangor was an interactive RE lesson to help children learn what prayer is, how to pray and that God loves to hear from them. The lesson involved a 5 minute introduction and 5 minute feedback session at the end and in between the children explored and engaged with God in whatever way they wanted to. Some pupils just stuck with one or two activities and there were others who did every activity at least twice! The team from St Andrew’s and some Scripture Union volunteers were able to journey with these children and share a little glimpse of God’s heart for the children and what they were dealing with.
We used the resources from the Prayer Spaces In Schools website and they allowed the pupils to dream big, say sorry, reflect on how they see themselves, forgive others and much more. These resources allowed a P2 child to grasp that God was actually real and wanted to hear from her, a P5 boy with low self-esteem looked in a mirror and read bible verses about how important he is to God, as the classes were leaving, a pupil asked “when are we coming back?” and another pupil finished school at 2pm and walked his mum back round at 3pm when it was open for parents because he couldn’t wait to show her all that had happened.
One significant moment was when the P7 class came to visit after lunch. During lunch, the girls had all had a fight and initially they didn’t want to engage but as the lesson went on they slowly started to interact. The sorry strings and forgiveness activities were the most significant and at the end of the lesson all the girls were sitting around a table together, playing with play dough and being thankful. One of these pupils said “it was good to get that off your chest wasn’t it?”. The staff were really thankful for a space where pupils could get things off their chest and lay down their worries and fears.
As the local Scripture Union Schools worker, our heart is to empower churches to get involved in their local schools and running the prayer space was an amazing opportunity to do this. The relationship between St Andrew’s Presbyterian and their local school was the reason this prayer space happened and I loved seeing the relationships between the church and the staff flourish and grow during this week. The week has inspired and fuelled the prayer life of the church to pray for pupils, staff and the whole school environment. God was very evidently in this room and the pupils left knowing that God loved them, wanted to hear from them and that they can communicate with him in lots of ways.
This has been one of my favourite weeks ever and I highly encourage you to consider running a prayer space for your local school. If Scripture Union schools staff can help you run a prayer prayer space, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(E3 North Down and Newtownards Schools Worker)