In 2008 a handful of Christians from around the UK came up with the idea of setting up creative prayer spaces in primary and secondary schools. Prayer Spaces in Schools is the 24-7 Prayer initiative that developed from there. Last year over 270 prayer spaces were set up and an estimated 300,000 pupils have used them over the last six years. The idea behind the initiative is to enable young people from the ages of 5 to 18 to explore prayer and faith in God in a safe, creative and interactive way.
Rachel Roxburgh, the Prayer Spaces in Schools co-ordinator of operations explains: “It simply gives them a reflective, creative space to explore some of the wider questions of life. It has been fantastic to see the response of both professionals and students to this simple idea… Some schools have focused on a prayer space for just a day; others now plan an annual week into their school calendar while others have set up permanent spaces.” Importantly the children themselves see major benefits. One commented: “I didn’t know that God forgives and forgets – I feel much better!” Another asked, “Am I really made in God’s image?” While yet another student, said: “Before I did this I didn’t believe in God and now I do.”
The press has also picked up on their positive impact – in March BBC Gloucester featured the prayer space at Gloucester Academy. The presenter said, “It was an amazing morning… It absolutely blew me away” The radio coverage included the story of a student who used the prayer space to say sorry for fighting and went on to change his behaviour and also promote positive behaviour in the school.
For Gillan Scott, who writes the God and Politics in the UK blog, “This was an incredibly powerful opportunity for un-churched students, often with very little understanding of faith, to explore the nature of prayer and talk to the prayer space team about God and the meaning of life.” The feedback from schools is overwhelmingly positive across the board. One teacher from Northamptonshire commented: “I don’t think I have ever run a project that has been so universally rewarding to all who came into contact with it.”
During Lent many prayer spaces were themed around the Easter story, based on some of the Stations of the Cross. At one of the stations students were able to look at how Jesus’ ultimate purpose was the cross, giving them the opportunity to think about God’s purpose for their own life and talk to God about it. Roxburgh reflects: “Our aim is to resource and encourage local Christians to serve the spiritual and pastoral life of their local school community – and that’s not just the students, but the staff and the parents as well.”
Source: Christian Today; prayerspacesinschools.com
BIBLE STUDY: Psalm 84:1-8
Day 11 – PRAISE: God that children are being led to discover the truth of a God who is real and present.
Day 12 – PRAY: That many children may be guided to see Jesus as the living, real God in whom they trust.