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Prayer Spaces in Schools: A Volunteer's Experience

posted 21 Nov 2013, 09:06 by Oxford Prayer Room





I stared at the piece of laminated A4, where the edges of the pink and orange sticky notes curled away from the page like a joyously bright and overgrown flowerbed of child-inspired prayers. This was the “Thank You” station in a school prayer space, one of four prayer tents set-up in the school gymnasium. The others, “Sorry”, “Please”, and “Justice”, were delightful and creative: sand where the children could write and wipe out the items for which they were sorry; an eight-foot bubble tube with multi-coloured lights where they could ‘send up’ prayers and big questions; a cardboard house with pictures of slums and homeless children where they could reflect on justice in our world. However, given my love of Play-Doh, I was quite partial to my “Thank You” station, where the kids could ‘sculpt’ creations to represent the items, people, and relationships for which they were grateful.

“Christians believe,” I explained to each new group of children as they arrived at my pop-up tent, “That God loves it when people say ‘Thank you’, so that’s what we’re going to do. And we’re going to do it with Play-Doh!”

Inevitably, all their faces would light up (no matter if they were five years old, ten, or somewhere in-between), and as soon as I released them, they would hurry to one of the tables in the tent. Over the course of my time at the “Thank You” tent, I witnessed the sculpting of numerous houses, food items, pets, and stick people. Some sculptures were more easily recognizable than others (which is certainly to be expected with such a range of ages and fine motor skills!), but one fact remained constant: they were getting it. These children were understanding how much there is to be thankful for, how important it is to recognize that fact, and that saying “Thank You” is one way that people can pray.

I looked again at the sticky notes on the wall, chuckled at the “Maths” and “Pueg” entries (apparently “Pueg” was a young one’s attempt at “penguins”), whispered my own prayer of thanks, and moseyed toward the coat rack.

To find out more about Prayer Spaces in Schools, go to their website: www.prayerspacesinschools.com