Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Lenten Prayer Challenge (with an editable version!)

Hey all! Just a quick post to share an activity I've been using for a couple of years to help my middle schoolers pray during the Lenten Season. 

I set aside Mondays as a day for prayer of some kind in my classroom- that might mean we are working on the Virtues, spending time in Lectio Divina, going on a walking Rosary in nice weather, or visiting the Adoration chapel. During Lent, I schedule time for us to spend in the church so that the kids are in the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus, but have room to spread out, can get up and walk the Stations of the Cross, have time to actually look at the stained glass windows and art, etc.

To keep them motivated and focused, but to also honor their choice and different preferences about prayer, I designed this "Lenten Prayer Challenge." They each tape one in their prayer journals and with a few instructions we head off to the church. 

Here's the deal- it's not a quantitative assignment, which can be hard for teachers (and some kids). There is no prize for finishing, or timer going off when it is time to switch. Instead I created sixteen different Lenten themed prompts and ask them to try all of them at some point during our 4-5 visits to the church. I recommend for most that they try 3-4 each time we visit, allowing them to focus on a task for about ten minutes at a time. If they want to switch more often, ok. If they want to do one of the same prompts every week, fine by me. As long as they are trying and praying, the activity is successful. I often ask them to write a quick reflection or exit ticket to let me know the fruit of their prayer, but this isn't your typical graded assignment.

I adapted our version for one that would work in most churches and I'm sharing it with you below. But knowing you might want to change it to fit the need of your students or children, there is also an editable version you can make your own. I hope that they are tools that lead to deeper prayer this Lent!

If your audience is middle or high schoolers (or even adults) here is the printable to the ready-to-go version:

And if you'd like to adapt and make it your own, click on this Google Slides file, make a copy or download, and edit away:

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