Creating opportunities for students’ personal prayer
A prayer journal is a great way to expose students to different types of prayer, while gathering and recording them in a unique and personalized way.
■ Composition notebook
■ Markers (permanent and washable)
■ Pictures of important people and places for each student
■ Washi tape
■ Divider sticky tabs (these can be found with planners in craft stores or with sticky notes in office supply stores)
1. Have students use the supplies available to them to decorate and personalize their journals. Have them write their name on the cover with the permanent markers.
2. Use the glue to attach the important pictures so that they remember who to pray for.
3. Washi tape and stickers can be used to decorate the rest of the cover.
4. Use the divider tabs to section off parts of the journal. Write the name of the section on the tab and attach it to a page, leaving enough space between sections for students to fill in throughout the year.
POSSIBLE IDEAS FOR SECTIONS:
■ Ideas (lists of people, places, and things they want to pray for when they get stuck for ideas);
■ Intentions (add to this throughout the year as people ask them to pray for them or they hear of people who are sick, hurting, or in need of prayer for various reasons);
■ Catholic prayers (a place to write out memorized prayers);
■ Scripture (a place to write down quotes from the Bible that are personally meaningful);
■ Songs (a place to write down song lyrics for hymns or Christian songs that are relevant to them);
■ Saints (include saints that they are close to or have researched so they remember to pray for their intercession).
Using the prayer journals
The beauty of these prayer journals is that you can use them in so many different ways. Ideally, once the journals are set up and students have practiced what to do in each section, they can be used each week at the start of class. Have quiet music playing as students walk in. Students grab their journals and turn to a section they want to focus on that day and then start writing and praying until time is up.
This could look like:
■ Writing out a memorized prayer in an artistic way;
■ Writing out song lyrics for a song that spoke to them recently and illustrating it;
■ Creating a prayer for a particular person in their life;
■ Asking in writing for the intercession of a saint.
IDEAS FOR YOUNGER STUDENTS:
■ Include more pictures throughout the journal versus lists of words to visually remind
them what they are praying for.
■ Make this a family activity where the family works together to add prayers and petitions.
IDEAS FOR OLDER STUDENTS:
■ Have students use these at home as well as inside the classroom.
■ If students are willing, have them share what they did in their journal to help give ideas to other students about ways to pray.
Let us pray
Dear Heavenly Father, help us to grow closer to you through our prayers and help us to learn that prayer comes in many formats. Amen.
Sara Jonckheere, MA, is an elementary school teacher turned work-at-home mom. Creating digital curriculum and resources, she shares teaching ideas at SaraJCreations.com.
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, November/December 2018
PHOTOS: SARA JONCKHEERE