Let these decorated rocks prompt students to prayer
Sometimes in our prayer life (both personal and in the classroom), we can fall into routines, and our prayers may become monotonous. Make these prayer-prompt rocks to mix it up and make your prayer time more spontaneous. They also will help teach your students a variety of ways to pray.
■ Rocks (2-4” flat rocks work the best)
■ Paint in a variety of colors (we used acrylic, but tempera would work too)
■ Silver or black permanent markers
■ Basket to hold the rocks
Set the rocks on a tablecloth or something designed to get messy. Use the paintbrushes to paint both sides of the rocks. Depending on the color and type of paint, you may need several coats to fully cover the rocks. Once the rocks are completely dry, use the permanent markers to write prayer prompts, intentions, and different types of prayers.
IDEAS FOR PRAYERS ON THE ROCKS
■ Any of the memorized Catholic prayers that your students are expected to know (Hail Mary, Our Father, Glory Be, etc.)
■ Prayers that are unique or special to your church/school
■ Family members who are sick
■ Your priests
■ Something you need forgiveness for
■ Something you want to thank God for
■ Praise God
■ A Scripture passage
■ “Sing a hymn or worship song”
■ A partner’s prayer intention
■ Our leaders in government and in the Church
■ “Write in a prayer journal”
■ “Pray one decade of the rosary”
■ “Go to adoration” (if available)
■ Something you are worried about
■ The name of someone who is hurting or in need
Using the prayer rocks
At the beginning of class, have students gather around your prayer table. Select a student to choose a rock from the basket. Read aloud the prayer prompt and have the class pray in that specific way. You could have students say the prayer in their head, write it out, share with the class, share with a partner, and so on.
Depending on how long it takes, you may want to choose a few rocks each time to guide your prayer time. You could also finish up class by selecting a rock and saying a closing prayer. Instead of using the rocks with the whole class, you could set up the basket of rocks at a prayer table and have students visit it and pray quietly by themselves or with a partner.
IDEAS FOR YOUNGER STUDENTS
■ Send a painted rock home with students to have them add a prayer prompt with the help of their family.
■ Model each type of prayer or prayer intention until students are comfortable with different options.
IDEAS FOR OLDER STUDENTS
■ Have students paint, decorate, and add prayer prompts to the rocks themselves.
■ Choose one or two students to guide the prayer time each week.
Let us pray
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the different ways to pray and talk to you. Help
us to pray always, making sure that our prayers come from our hearts and are not just routine. 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, March 2019
PHOTOS: SARA JONCKHEERE