Prayer Spaces in Schools USA

17th November 2022

A few weeks ago Phil Togwell and Darnell Robinson (Milwaukee House of Prayer) hosted our first Prayer Spaces in Schools seminar in the USA. The seminar was part of 24-7 Prayer USA’s national conference in Portland, Oregon, and it was an fantastic opportunity to talk with a roomful of school teachers, youth pastors and church leaders about the needs and the opportunities.

‘I was praying for a local high schools,’ said Darnell, ‘and I sent them all a letter offering my help. Almost immediately I received a reply from the Community Coordinator in one of the schools – probably the most challenging school in my area – asking to set up a Zoom meeting. Her role is to represent the students, to represent what they want and need, and to work with community groups and parents who can help and give input.

So, I sent her a link to the Prayer Spaces in Schools website and I sent her a video of the prayer room in our House of Prayer, and to be honest I didn’t have super faith. But she said yes! She said yes and the Principal said ‘yes, we want you to come and host a Quiet Space in our school!’ So I was excited!

I went in the next week and they showed me the room – Room 136 – just down from the cafeteria, next to the sex education room. God has a sense of humour and God is strategic too. Ha ha. There were a lot of things we had to go through, checks and stuff, and we worked hard to build a good relationship with the staff and the security guards and everyone in the school. And then we got the Quiet Space set up with all the prayer activities, the fairy lights and everything.

Before we opened it, the Community Coordinator asked me to go in and talk with the student council. One of them said to me, ‘We’ve been asking for a space where we can get out of classes – I suffer with anxiety and sometimes I just need to step away for a bit.’ So I replied, ‘Come with me!’ We went down to Room 136 and I opened the door… and it was like we all felt the presence of God. The kids started crying! Even the Community Coordinator was wiping her eyes. You could feel their excitement. One of the girls said, ‘This is like a secret place.’ Another one said, ‘This shouldn’t just be for bad kids, for those on suspension – this should be for all of us.’ ‘This is for you,’ I replied.

The next week, we opened the Quiet Space for the first time. Our team come in every Wednesday and Thursday from 9am until 2:30pm. And at first, the Community Coordinator decided that the school psychologists and social workers would refer kids to come and visit the room.However, more recently, class tutors have also been referring kids – I think the school has realised what that young girl knew from the start, that the Quiet Space should be for everyone.