Saturday, August 24, 2013

Make a Prayer Jar for Student Petitions

Students need to know that they can talk to God about their every little thought- however, encouraging this kind of prayer in a classroom can be tough.  We want our kids to understand that we as a Church need to pray for each other and praise God together, but how do we do this in a classroom of 30 kids? 

Sure as the sunrise, just as soon as I would get rolling with a lesson, a kid would raise a hand to tell me that their dog was having surgery/grandma hurt their ankle/dad was get the idea.  I wanted to encourage and validate their request to make their intentions known and to pray as a class, but the younger the kids get, the more likely it is that they don't have the social skills to know when is the best time to bring up requests and praises.  Also, once one kid shares their story, the other 9 or 29 are clamoring to do the same.

Again, I want my students (and yours) to want to pray for each other.  I am not trying to say that my math lesson is more important that a child's grandma's hurt ankle.  However, we all have a limited amount of time and have to manage somehow, so I created a prayer jar.
This cutie actually used to be a Clorox Wipes container, redecorated and placed in our faith corner.  It has a convenient lid and isn't too big or too small.  I placed some little sheets of notepaper next to it, and then instructed my kids on its use. 

The kids are always welcome to tell me about a prayer request they have.  Depending on the situation or goings-on of the class, I may talk with them a while, or I may say, "That is a great thing for us to be praying for.  Can you go add it to the prayer jar?"

Students could then write the request, drop it in, and move on.  Kids also had an opportunity to write anonymous prayer requests, which was also important.  They got really good at using the jar in the faith corner during appropriate times and not interrupting others.  I even had kids each day that would automatically add all of the names of fellow classmates when they were absent- praying for a speedy recovery if they were sick or safe travels if they were gone on vacation, for example.  It worked wonderfully.

Not to lose the aspect of praying for all of these requests, occasionally, often at the end of the week, I would pick up the prayer jar and we would pray in general for all of the things inside it, known only to God.  As a class, the kids praised Him for the good that had happened and asked for his help with what each was facing.

Prayer requests acknowledged and class time used wisely.  It was one of the best classroom management tools that I made last year, and I think that it will continue working for a long time.

"With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith." ~2 Thessalonians 1:11


  1. As a catechist I love this idea. Our problem is that we only get to see the kids once each week and our class time is so limited. I'm afraid the disruption with kids walking to our sacred space to take time to write a request would throw the rythymn and flow off. I'm thinking of putting this on our reception table outside the classroom. The kids can write down their prayer requests as they come into the classroom each week.

    1. What a great idea, Barbara! We all know how precious those class minutes are!

    2. That's a fantastic idea, Barbara. We have 15 minutes between Mass and the beginning of CCD. That would be a great time for the kids, parents, and siblings to write their prayer requests. I start teaching 4th Grade RE, next week. Thanks for the idea.