Thursday, March 28, 2013

Praying an ACTS Holy Hour

"Can't any of you stay awake with me for one hour?" Matthew 26:41

Today, Holy Thursday, we commemorate the start of the sacred Triduum- the Last Supper, the washing of the feet of the Apostles, the Institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood, and later the Agony in the Garden.

Christ's comment to the Apostles after they had fallen asleep about staying awake one hour is seen as the origin of the Holy Hour, a perfect amount of time to spend in prayer.

I am able to have Holy Hours with my students occasionally, and while they usually are respectful and not disruptive, I sometimes wonder how much they "get out of it."  Merely being in the presence of Christ is enough, but I want them to develop the ability to have a conversation with their Lord including time to sit in silence and listen.

When I covered the prayer chapter in my religion book, we talked about different ways to pray, including all of the things that we should talk to God about.  I taught them the acronym ACTS, standing for Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  It is very easy to only ask God for the things that we want and forget about praising him, expressing our sorrow for sin, and thanking him for his blessings.

Fulton Sheen made a promise when he was ordained a priest to make a Holy Hour everyday.  You can read his own words about the promise and how it changed his life here.

This week, as I was preparing my students for their Holy Hour, I decided to try something different.  I gave them a copy of the second printable below and reminded them of what the words mean.  They then taped them in their Fulton Sheen notebooks flap style and I challenged them to journal some thoughts to God.  We talked about how journaling can be one style of prayer that helps us talk to God.
The flap ensured that their prayers could remain private, which enabled them to be more comfortable in journaling during the Holy Hour.
The verses and short explanations helped them remember what they were praying about without needing my help.

Armed with their notebooks, pencils, and directions, we went to the church...and had the best, most attentive, quietest Holy Hour that we have had all year.  The student response was overwhelmingly positive.  I think that kids should do Holy Hours, but also I think we need to teach them and guide them through it so that it can be a fruitful experience with God.

Whether with a Holy Hour or in another way, here are some ACTS prayer printables for you to use:

Link to ACTS words on a single page, no Scripture verses:
Link to ACTS words, two per page, with Scripture verses:

Link to ACTS large words, one per page, with Scripture verses:


  1. lovely printables. i plan to use them with my own kids and share them with the girls group that i lead, rosa mystica girls' society. +AJPM+

  2. thanks, Lena. This has been one of my students' favorites!

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  5. How have I not seen this blog until now! Another wonderful idea!!!!!!!!