Posted by Phil on 11.07.2012
"When David first mentioned the possibility of a week-long Prayer Space I was very excited, and not just because I wouldn’t have to teach all week.
My anticipation grew on the Friday before when the team arrived to transform my room into the Prayer Space. My room quickly became unrecognisable and the introduction of the different prayer activities made it look incredible with the Prayer Wall and the Chill-out zones being particularly striking.
On Monday morning, team leader, David Harrigan, arrived with a seven-foot cross to complete the transformation. My expectation was high, but when the first bell rang I must admit I was apprehensive because I had no idea how the students would react and respond. However I should not have worried. When I opened the door and invited the class in the students, on the whole, looked like small children walking into a new and exciting wonderland. They said it was ‘cool’... praise indeed from hard-to-please teenagers.
As the day and the week progressed I was impressed by the way the team interacted with the students but didn’t shadow them. They gave them the time and space to explore but were always on hand to listen, question and explain.
The students found the experience a wonderful one and I was often moved by their prayers and their stories. It reminded me of their youthfulness, their frailty and their naivety. As a teacher I often forget that my students are young children with a lot going on in their lives that, when I was their age, I didn’t have to deal with. It made me appreciate my role; my very special and unique role, much more. The week also helped my personal spiritual journey and I found myself being drawn closer to God once again and that was a wonderful aspect of the week.
As the week progressed the buzz and the excitement around the school grew and the students who hadn’t been yet arrived with a heightened sense of anticipation. By the end of the week the prayer wall was awash with prayers, the ‘Be Thankful, Be Sorry’ station was groaning under the weight of requests and the ‘Be Still – Chill Zone’ had been visited many, many times!
Overall the week was amazing and the students really benefitted from having the opportunity to express themselves and get in touch with their spiritual sides. I would welcome the team back at any time and would highly recommend their services. Thank you to all involved and may God continue to bless you."
Richard Gray is the Head of Religious Studies at The Albany School in Hornchurch.