The Prayer Space
We have loved our time in Aberdeen, our third and final destination in Scotland. Here we have partnered with Sheddocksley Baptist Church, which has shown us the same warmth and kindness we’ve encountered all over Scotland. Our time here has been busy and fruitful, and we have lots of exciting testimonies to share. Sheddocksley has great relationships with some of the staff and administration at Northfield Academy, a local secondary school. As a result, they’ve encountered incredible favor in the school. For the past four years, they have run a prayer space for the students as part of the school’s religious education. This year, we had the honor of helping set up and run Northfield Academy’s prayer space alongside Sheddocksley staff, and it was hands down one of the highlights of our trip.
The prayer space provides an environment where students can come and learn about, explore, and practice praying. We were amazed that something like this would be allowed to take place in a public school, and that church leaders would be invited in to share openly about their Christian faith! Students came into the prayer space one class at a time, heard a brief introduction, and then explored ten different prayer zones. Most of these kids have never stepped foot in a church. During the introduction, they learned that prayer doesn’t have to look like kneeling, bowing their head, and folding their hands, but that prayer can take the form of words, a picture, a conversation with God, a feeling of grief or loss, a simple “thank you” or “I’m sorry”, and much more. We shared that God doesn’t just listen, but he also talks to us, and that if we listen, we can hear what he is saying to us and about us – and that it is always positive, encouraging, and comforting.
Our team ran three of the prayer zones. At the “God’s Good Words” zone, two of us prophesied together over one child at a time, asking God what he wanted to say to them, and then sharing it. Kids were amazed to hear things that were true about their personality, character, and dreams and to think that God might actually see them, know them, and have positive things to say about them. As we shared his heart of kindness, love, and affection toward them, it was obvious that their hearts were melting. Many left with smiles that weren’t there before, heads held higher, and more confidence in their step. Where self-hatred and discouragement was, love and hope seeped in, unknowingly invading their heart and planting seeds of freedom and life.
At the “Picture Gift” zone, some of our team did the exact same thing through art. Each student who sat down was drawn a prophetic picture and given a word that explained the drawing. The students were amazed by the accuracy in these drawings. Madeline drew a pair of ballet slippers for a girl, who later shared that she not only used to be a dancer, but a ballerina! Prophetic art was stretching for a lot of us, but everyone who stepped out in boldness by picking up a marker was given a spot on word for students who walked away totally encouraged. At the God’s Good Word’s zone, we constantly had wide-eyed kids share their prophetic pictures with us in amazement when we gave them similar or the exact same words. This was by far the most popular zone. The kids were all so proud of their pictures, signs that God knew them, loved them, and was wholeheartedly for them. The best part was that they got to take them home as a constant reminder of those truths.
Our last zone was “Listening to God.” At this station, we had the honor of teaching secondary school students how to hear God’s voice, and it was absolutely amazing! We had bean bags set up in a relaxing atmosphere with paper and pens and the four keys to hearing God’s voice displayed on the wall. Someone was stationed there to walk the kids through the keys (quiet yourself down, fix your eyes on Jesus, go with the flow, and write it down) and to make sure they understood that the positive voice that was far kinder than their usual thoughts was God’s, while the negative voice that often liked to criticize was their own. We had them ask God questions like, what is your favorite thing about me? How much do you love me? What do you see when you look at me? Most of the students took this station really seriously, taking the time to quiet themselves down and focus on God, really positioning themselves to hear what he might have to say to them – and they totally heard his voice! Many of them wrote down amazing things about themselves and about how much God loves them, which they also got to take home with them. We reminded them that they could talk to God like this and hear what he has to say anytime they want by practicing these four keys.
Our team was blown away by the possibility of sharing God with students in a public school, but it was so much more than that. We were able to teach students how to hear God’s voice for themselves, empowering them to access his constant, close voice of encouragement and love. There was so much curiosity and wonder in the room. Some of the kids eagerly asked questions about how we were hearing God’s voice, wanting us to break down the process for them so they could try it themselves, but even those who weren’t as engaged left lighter and brighter than how they walked in. They encountered something life-giving in that atmosphere of peace, even if they weren’t quite sure what it was, and countless seeds were planted in their hearts through encouraging words and pictures. What an honor and joy it was to partner with God in speaking life over his kids!
Blog written by Jessie Risman