Tuesday, February 23, 2010

orison guildford - days 1 and 2

We're having a great week at St Peter's in Guildford.

We've seen 247 pupils over the past couple of days for several amazing sessions in the prayer space.

It's really simple, and nothing to do with us as a team. We invite them in, explain what's happening and then (mostly) leave them to explore the area and the resources for themselves.

Highlights so far include:

- J, a year 7 boy writing negative words in a sand tray, things that people had spoken to him which were painful. Most children in this area simply wipe the words away with their hands but this boy was really digging in and scrunching the sand in his hands. When he had finished his hands were still sandy. "It was all over my hands," he said, "The words had messed me up." He then moved on to another zone where he spent some time thinking about what had been said to him before dropping a vitamin tablet into some water as a symbol of forgiveness and letting go. "I had to get it off my hands. I had to let go. I feel better now."

- Some deep, heartfelt prayers left on post-it notes on the bubble tube - prayers for family members who are ill, for absent parents, for confusing and complicated situations which pupils are worried about.

- One girl said she liked the image zone and looking in the mirrors because she realised that she was unique and special, that there's nobody else quite like her. She said she was going to think that every time she looked in a mirror now. This might seem simple but the mirrors are so difficult for so many of the pupils we meet. It's so exciting to be able to turn it into a positive and encouraging experience, even for a few.

- We've been really busy at lunchtimes with plenty of pupils returning for more, often bringing friends from other classes who haven't seen the space yet. We've had to start a system on the door to maintain a workable number of people in the room at any time. It's really exciting to have pupils queueing to get into a prayer room in their school.

- Adrian shared some stories of answered prayer in his life at the end of some of today's sessions. Amazing things that God has done for him, and the pupils (and staff!) were hanging on his every word. Afterwards, one girl summed it up, saying "I didn't believe in prayer before but now that I've heard how it can change lives, I think it's worth doing."

Many thanks for all your prayers and support. As I said at the beginning, this isn't anything we're doing, it's all about God and the young people meeting together in the room. Please keep praying:

- for more young people to recognise that what they feel when they are in there is God. It's an exciting room, multi-sensory, interactive, different to most of what they find in school, and it'd be easy to miss that the important thing behind it is God. We're not there to entertain.

- for the pupils who have been so obviously struggling with difficult personal situations. The prayer room gives them space to deal with some of that but these things are ongoing. These situations include:
* an operation next week
* absent parents, in some cases with pupils not even ever having known them
* ill family members
* the after effects of having moved school due to bullying
* the struggles which come with being placed in the bottom set, and the social stigma that brings, usually quite unfairly

- the team. Team changes tomorrow as Adrian moves on and Stuart and Chris come and join us. Pray for continued energy and enthusiasm. As exciting as it is, we do still get weary of it at times and we're keen to offer the best we can to every pupil, even if they are in the class who come at 3pm, when we've done it 5 times already that day and our blood-caffeine levels drop dangerously low.

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