We spent last week running an Orison prayer space at Salesian High School in Chertsey. Here are just some of the comments and stories from the week.
Thanks miss, it's really helped me. I was struggling with my faith but you've shown me that I don't have to be in a church to pray
When asked what had made her smile so much, a girl said "I've just been forgiven. By God. And I forgave someone else too.
One of our newer resources invited pupils to write words which others use to describe them in a sand tray. They could then choose not to believe those words by wiping them away with their hand and writing more positive alternatives instead. Conversations over this resource included -
- an 11 year old girl who said people called her ugly. She was genuinely one of the most beautiful girls in her class. Even when encouraged by the team member to choose "beautiful" as her alternative word, she could only bring herself to accept that other people might think she was OK
- a 12 year old boy wiping away tears as he tried to think of alternatives to the word he originally wrote - "misunderstood"
- a girl who wrote "unloved" in the sand turning to the next resource in the zone and writing her name on a large hand to represent being known and loved by God
The bubble tube was covered daily with heartfelt and deep prayers from students worried about exams, getting into trouble, making right decisions, ill parents, family struggles, friends in need...
Positive feedback from parents at an (unrelated) open evening the school had organised to hear parents' views on various aspects of the school. The prayer space was discussed and praised in the "Spirituality of the School" section with parents of pupils who hadn't yet visited demanding to know why their children hadn't been!
Paper on the floor filled daily with all manner of questions for God.
"Are you real?"
"Why does religion cause so much hate and argument?"
"Do you love me?"
"When will my parents stop arguing?"
"Why do people we love have to die?"
"Why is there suffering?"
"People in this world need to stop worrying about money and realise that we are all family. Our family needs help"
Prayer written for slum children in Chennai in response to information and images displayed about their situation.
This is just a small sample. There'd be no way to communicate all of what happened in the prayer room in one blog. Even those of us who were there have only the smallest of idea of what was actually going on. We presented a resource to around 800 children in 25 classes over 5 days, managing deep conversations with a few of them, general explanation and facilitation for many of them, and minimal crowd control for the few who still struggled to take it seriously. God is faithful, loving and merciful and met in ways that only He can know with so many of the pupils who experienced the space.