REV CHRIS RICHARDSON: Prayer can be dynamic or formal – it’s up to you

The classroom at Alverstoke C of E Junior School set up for Prayer Spaces in Schools
The classroom at Alverstoke C of E Junior School set up for Prayer Spaces in Schools
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The curate of St Mary’s Church, Alverstoke discusses a school’s new Prayer Space

I wonder what you think of when you hear the word ‘prayer’?

Perhaps it’s someone with their eyes closed and their hands together or someone saying lots of formal words at the front of church.

Maybe, the Lord’s Prayer comes to mind.

Prayer can actually be more creative, fun and engaging than you might think.

With this in mind, Alverstoke Church of England Junior School recently launched Prayer

Space in Schools.

This nationwide initiative enables children, of all faiths and none, to explore questions, spirituality and faith in a safe, imaginative and interactive way.

A team comprising both governors and members from the local church, St Mary’s, Alverstoke, transformed one of the classrooms into a calm and relaxing space.

It hosted a range of activities that encouraged personal reflection on issues such as forgiveness, injustice, thankfulness, big questions, identity and stillness.

In this environment, if they wanted to, the children were able to pray in creative, fun and engaging ways.

For example, one activity involved moulding playdough into someone or something that the children were thankful for and, if they wished, the children were able to thank God for that person or thing.

Another activity involved placing their fingerprint, alongside everyone else’s, on one giant fingerprint.

Being reassured that no one else has their fingerprint, the children were then able to recognise that they are unique and wonderfully made, enabling them to thank God for this fact, if they wanted to.

It was delightful to see the children enjoy the opportunity to engage with issues such as forgiveness, thankfulness, big questions and identity in a creative, relaxed and informal

setting.

They thoroughly engaged with the activities, enjoying the opportunity to explore each one of them, at their own level, as much as they wanted to.

Prayer can be many things. It can be still and it can be dynamic. It can be formal and it can

be informal.

Essentially, it’s communicating with God and we can do that in lots of different ways.

If you want to find out more about Prayer Spaces in Schools then please visit prayerspacesinschools.com.

St Mary’s Church is in Green Road, Alverstoke, Gosport.

Call (023) 9258 0551 or go to stmarysalverstoke.org.uk.