This week I’m helping to run an interactive prayer space in our local secondary school. The chaplain and team invited Orison to come to the school and set-up their brilliant exhibition, so yesterday I got stuck in! In case you’re wondering:
Orison is an interactive spiritual experience, encouraging people of all agesÂ to engage with prayer using creative, hands on activities.
Set up in a classroom, school hall or even a tent on the field, pupils are given a brief introduction to the experience, including a short video about prayer, before being guided through the space, exploring different themes in each zone. From writing prayer requests on post it notes, considering the bubbles going up a large bubble tube, dissolving sugar cubes in water and sticking prayers on maps, pupils will enjoy activities which are fun, interactive, thought provoking and challenging.
We split each class into four groups and they rotated round the four zones; Image, Sorry, World and Bubble (more on zones here). I got to host the Image and Bubble zones today. Some of the young people really got into it, questioning things, writing, thinking, and ultimately, praying in a natural and gentle fashion. Some of the young people didn’t quite get so enthusiastic, but I was surprised that there was no awkward or difficult behaviour. In fact, they all seemed to appreciate the interactive style of learning with many saying they wanted to come back.
Credit is due to the Orison team who have spent a lot of time designing and refining the activities in the zones, and resourcing the equipment to make it happen. Having said that, it was something that many people/groups may be able to do themselves if they have a good relationship with a school. We’ve done similar sorts of interactive prayer experiences for our church young people – we’ve just never thought of taking it into a school! And that’s where this sort of thing is breaking new ground.Â By using church tried and tested prayer spaces and applying it to the National Curriculum for Key stage 1, 2 and 3, organisations like Orison are able to offer something unique to schools who sometimes struggle to address issues of spirituality in creative and engaging ways.
If you do any sort of schools work, I highly recommend checking out Orison and getting them to come and lead, help or advise a prayer space in your school. You should also visit theÂ Prayer Spaces In Schools website. It is an initiative of 24-7 Prayer and they are doing very similar work across the UK with lots of resources and ideas on the site.