Last week on the 29th of January our University of Manchester Student’s Union put on a huge end of exams party. The tickets sold out 2 weeks in advance as across 18 different rooms throughout the SU including the Academies over 4000 students partied to an eclectic mix of rooms and genres until 4 in the morning. This is a time of worship, it’s a place where people worship hedonism, academic success, sex, alchohol and companionship. The event has such an awesome atmosphere and this year some Christians alongside the Christian Union worshipped with the rest of our colleagues.
In the Foyer of the student union we create the Pangaea Prayer and Meditative Space. It had to be neutral and open to people of all backgrounds and so we built activities that Christians could use for their own prayer and meditation, stuff you might get in a 24/7 prayer room but the activities could be used by anyone however they wanted. We had 6 fantastic Christian DJs playing sets of meditative and euphoric chill out electronic music. We had an artist decorate the room with posters and a painter in the front whilst people could join in painting with poster paints. On the walls we had a Prayer and Reflection wall where people could jot things down and a map of the world with events that could be prayed into. Finally at the corner we had an absolutely beautifully set up prayer room with a variety of activities for people to sit down and pray.
The night went down really well. Some people were originally hostile to the idea of it at a very secular event but so far the reception has been good. The music was great and the atmosphere was chilled out and relaxed, helped out by the cushions, doughnuts and free tea. However, what was interesting was that by far the most successful aspect of the prayer room was the one thing that was much less secular. We gave out tokens for people to receive prayer, dream interpretation, healing and future telling (prophecy). The people involved with this regularly do things like this at events such as Glastonbury or the mind/body/soul convention in Manchester however these events, though secular, are much more “spiritual”. I didn’t know how the students of Manchester who are just on a night out would take this. But we saw for about 4 or 5 hours a constant stream of students being prayed for. They seemed to love it and many people were bringing their friends.
We’re hoping to have a debrief in the future including some pictures of the event and some of the stories of how the praying went. The room certainly encouraged lots of interesting conversations throughout the night and there are a few stories from the prayers. We hope to be back in Pangaea for the summer which is even longer lasting from 8 until 6 in the morning. Winter Pangaea saw a great reception from non-christians but the prayer room section itself was mainly used by the people helping to organise the room. For this summer I’d really like to push to get more Christians involved, I have a goal to find at least 40 christians who are not organising this event using the prayer room for at least 15 minutes.
One thing I’ve loved most about clubbing in Manchester is how awesome it is to worship God outside of the church. In a club you can raise your hand, shout out praises to God or even speak in tongues and you’re just part of it all. In a club the inspiration to praise God surrounded by what happens in clubs is huge. Finally many Christians find the world of non-Christians terrifying. They think that most people are against them, I’d like to see Christians coming to this prayer room and realising that actually that as long as they approach non-Christians with love they can quite easily express their faith out in the open. With a larger group of christians I’d really like to see prayer spill out into the other rooms.
When the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples during Pentecost the first thing they did was pour out and worship God in the Streets. We’re keeping that going!