Last week I was working at Jubilee International High School in Addlestone, Surrey, running an Orison Prayer Space in their theatre.
Orison is a creative, interactive experience during which pupils are invited to stop and think about various issues, using activities, video material and installations to inspire and encourage them to pray.
This week we ran 4 zones:
Mirror cubicles in this zone gave pupils a chance to stop and look at themselves, thinking about what they do and don't like about themselves. The mirrors were surrounded by positive quotes about image for pupils to read to themselves.
Using Isaiah 49:16 "see I have written your names on the palm of my hands" there were two large images of hands on which pupils could write their names, giving them a sense of belonging and a reminder that they are known personally by God.
A table nearby was covered in tiny paper people. Pupils used these to represent where they fitted within their crowd of friends or class at school, and then to think about how they would like it to look and how they might pray and act to bring about these changes.
A looping video played constantly in this zone, showing lots of human faces, interspersed with quotes about seeing God's face. Pupils were asked to consider how they judged people on first look.
This area was full of activities and information to encourage pupils to pray for the world around them, linking in with the citizenship curriculum and also a reminder that prayer goes beyond the personal and emotional.
A large map of the school catchment area soon became covered in prayer flags as pupils found their home, wrote a prayer and stuck a flag there. Around this, pupils used post-it notes to attach prayers to newspaper articles, world maps and photographs of children from child sponsorship programmes in Kenya, Tanzania and India.
Google Earth was also available in this zone, on a touch-screen computer. Pupils were able to search for any area of the world and look at satellite images as they prayed for it. One of my favourite moments in this zone was seeing 3 year 5 boys kneeling in front of the table, praying for safety at Thorpe Park as they looked at satellite images of it!
This zone used 2 activities to tackle the issues of forgiving and being forgiven.
Using magnadoodle children's toys, pupils wrote, drew or represented things that they were sorry for before wiping them away as they said sorry - an action symbolic of the way in which God forgives our sins when we say sorry to him.
Tables in this zone had large glass vases of water on them. Pupils sat at the table and held a vitamin tablet in their hand as they thought about situations in which people had hurt or upset them. They then dropped the tablet into the water and as they watched it fizz, thought about the feelings and emotions related to these situations and imagined them fizzing away too as they forgave.
The bubble zone (pictured above) was a relaxed area, with cushions and bean bags scattered around a papered floor. The centrepiece of the area was a tall bubble tube. Pupils were invited to sit and relax here, watching the bubbles rise as a symbol of our prayers going 'up' to God.
Pupils wrote prayers directly onto the floor or on post-it notes which were stuck onto the bubble tube.
View this article in full on the Grassroots website