“I Pray for All Those Affected by the Government Shutdown.” – 6th Grader Prayer Intention

BXP56700sWho says that kids don’t know how to pray? Not me! Last evening, as part of our usual opening prayer, we shared prayer intentions (which I usually have the kids write down as soon as they enter the room). One young man shared the following:  “I pray for all those affected by the government shutdown.”

Wow. There’s someone who is not only in touch with current events, but also knows that these are the kinds of things that we bring to God in prayer, asking for his help and guidance and for protection of all those who are vulnerable.

That was one of the highlights of last evening’s session. Here is a summary:

  • All 9 students have now brought in their own symbol for the prayer table. One young lady who forgot last week, brought in a beautiful stone from the gift shop at the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona!
  • The prayer petitions are going so well at the start of class that I will no longer require them to write down their prayers as they enter…I think they have the knack of it now and can pray spontaneously.
  • After allowing time for the young people to complete the Bible Basics Learning Stations, I assigned each group a station and gave them time to study their topic after which they had to stand up behind their poster and “defend” their topic (i.e. my wife and I asked questions that they could answer from information contained on their poster) without looking at their notes or the poster! They did really well…I was impressed with how quickly they can assimilate knowledge and I thought it worked as a good assessment.
  • The above took longer than expected (so, what else is new?) but it was worth it. We then distributed Bibles and I drilled them a bit on biblical citation and how to find passages in the Bible.
  • I had everyone find the Bible reading for the session – Luke 1:39-42 – which includes Elizabeth’s words to Mary: “blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” We used this as a segue between Bible Basics and an intro to the Rosary for the month of the Holy Rosary.
  • I led the young people through the PowerPoint on the Month of the Holy Rosary, and I thought it went very well! I had the young people fill-in the blanks on a Mysteries of the Rosary Note-Taking Sheet  and, while that was effective, again, it slowed things down. So, we only got through half of the PowerPoint. The good things was, we spent a good chunk of time focusing on the Mysteries of the Rosary which is time well spent.
  • We had barely enough time to give them their Homework Notification sheets and to explain their assignment for next week (complete a Bible Blackline Master and to pray the Rosary for someone in need)

Bible Bookmarks

Next, week, we’ll begin by completing the Rosary PowerPoint and then we will pray the Rosary together before distributing their Bibles and introducing them to my “Bible Bookmarks” from my book, The Bible Blueprint, which we’ll use to walk through the 8 sections of the Bible:


  • Pentateuch
  • History
  • Wisdom
  • Prophets
  • Gospels
  • Acts of the Apostles
  • Letters
  • Revelation

That will set the stage for the next couple of months during which we will begin exploring Old Testament stories!

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.


  1. Joe, congratulations on doing a great job of forming your sixth graders in an active prayer life. I loved this line: “I think they have the knack of it now and can pray spontaneously.”

    This is always one of my biggest challenges with the catechumens. Even though I work with adults, often their prayer life is either non-existent or at a very child-like level. Next time I have the opportunity, I’m going to try your idea of having them bring in their own prayer symbol.

    Another technique I use is to always ask them where they have seen God in the past week. I think just getting the catechumens to start noticing God in their lives is a good first step toward developing a prayer life.

    Thanks for the all the great work you are doing in this ministry, Joe.

    Nick Wagner

  2. Thanks for sharing this inspirational post. It is obvious God loves Children and surely answers their prayers. When children are taught how to pray and worship God wholeheartedly we would be able to raise a generation full of God-fearing leaders.

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