As a past pupil, I’d been in a prayer space before, I’d used it, but I’m not sure that I completely engaged. So coming back as an intern youth worker, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the pupils coming to use it. As a student I’d never been a part of a ‘lesson’ before, but used the space more freely. So, I wasn’t sure how to explain how each station in the room was a form of prayer, or if they’d even care enough to get involved afterwards.
The space soon became filled with young people, each with their own story and some carrying heavy hearts or anxieties that were burdening their lives. It was then I realised the massive need for outlets like prayer spaces in schools. For young people to unload their troubles and pick up a promise. A promise that some of them had never heard of, or one that they perhaps felt unworthy of. Watching how differently each person engaged at each station really stood out to me. The room was full of so many emotions. Excited teenage farmers dreaming of what their future farm will look like at the ‘Dream Clouds’, heartbroken sons and daughters writing memories of parents who left them behind at ‘The Empty Chair’ and confused first years trying to comprehend what God would tell them in a letter at ‘Letters From God’. For me this reflected the need of God’s promise in each young person’s life and the prayer space created an opportunity for them to maybe encounter that.
Each day there were new stories, stories of hope. At the ‘Sorry Strings’ station there was a girl and her friend writing down what they wanted forgiveness for. I asked this one girl what it was she was writing down. She looked at me nervously and passed me her piece of cardboard that said “I’m sorry for being me”. I asked her why she was apologising for that and reminded her that she was amazing! With a beaming smile she said “Thank you so much!” I said to her “Why don’t you take that one down because you don’t need to say sorry for being you. Instead write down something that you really need to say sorry for.” I handed her another piece of cardboard and left her to think. At the ‘Letters From God station’ a boy with hearing difficulties stood confused, trying to understand how he could write a letter to himself from God. I went over and explained how there are many things that we know about ourselves, that we choose not to believe because of what other people might say. So I asked him “If God could tell you anything, what do you think it would be?” With a smile on his face he said “I think that God would tell me that it’s okay that I’m deaf!” I was so excited that he’d made such an amazing connection and asked him to write it in a letter to himself!
My Prayer Space experience has given me hope and my hope is that we sparked an attraction in the hearts of young people, and that they chase after it.
Zara Teggart- Intern youth worker YFCNI