Annual Prayer Space

3rd August 2023

The Christian Education Project has been working in Redbridge schools since 1991.  For many years prayer spaces have been a part of our core offering to schools, in addition to RE lessons and assemblies.

One of our regular schools is a Catholic secondary for girls, who we visit each year to deliver a week long prayer space around Easter time.  We work with the school’s chaplain to come up with a new theme each year for the space.

This year our theme was ‘Serviam’, which is part of the school’s motto.  We designed prayer stations around serving others, how Jesus served and even serving ourselves. Even though it is a Catholic school the students represent a wide mix of faiths.  Our aim is that the prayer space will be accessible to all students.  During our planning phase the chaplain was able to work with a focus group of students, where we found out the students who did not have a faith, did place importance on space for reflection.

Another consideration in the planning phase is to not repeat ourselves, as there are students who have been coming to our prayer spaces each year from year 7 through to year 12!  Our team uses the Prayer Spaces in Schools website to get ideas, as well as coming up with our own. Several of our team attended a Prayer Spaces in Schools training day recently, and we were able to incorporate one of the example prayer stations from the training.  

There are some prayer stations we like to use a lot, however we try to alter them to keep the ideas fresh.  For example, for our ‘Ask God a Question’ station we changed it from a graffiti wall to a question post box.  Another example is ‘Pray for the world’, previously we have used a large map and stick it notes for this, whereas this time we invited the students to create origami doves and write their prayers on these and hang them on decorative branches over a map of the world.

This year we have been fortunate enough to be awarded funding from Westhill Endowment towards our prayer spaces. This has given us further freedom to be creative.  For example, we were able to invest in proper origami paper for the ‘Pray for the world – Peace Doves’ station.

We love doing prayer spaces and are always inspired by how the students (and staff) are touched by the space.  Some of the feedback we received is as below:

“I liked the fact that there were lots of things to do and it was all creative and calm” – Year 7 student

“In times of GCSE’s approaching and times getting harder this was a good activity to help get my mind off stuff and focus on God and prayer.” – Year 11 student

“The Serviam stations made me reflect on how helping others can also bring joy to myself” – Year 11 student 

“The prayer spaces were very calming, comfortable and free of judgement. It was very spacious and I felt relaxed” – Year 11 student

“It was really nice to get a chance to reflect during the school day. My favourite was the rucksack base where we focussed on refugees and had a chance to learn more about their lives”. – Year 9 student

 “The session made me feel happy. It was wonderful to have the prayer spaces because you need time to be alone with God without noise”. – Year 9 student