Using Prayer Intentions Notebooks

notebook and pencils

One idea/activity that I have highly encouraged catechists to use in their sessions is inviting young people to write down their prayer intentions as soon as they enter the room. This is a good way to get them on task immediately and to begin establishing a climate of prayer, which is key to an effective catechetical experience.

As I’ve been sharing this idea in my presentations recently, I’ve encountered a few catechists who shared a wonderful idea to expand and enhance this practice. In short, their suggestion is to provide the young people with a little notebook in which they can enter their prayer intentions each week. One catechist told me she was inspired to do this when one of her students asked what she does with the prayer intention slips each week when they’re done. She was embarrassed to say that she threw them away! Keeping them recorded in a notebook is a nice way to show more reverence for those prayers and to preserve them, much the way we light a candle as an outward sign of our prayers continuing to be lifted up to God.

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


  1. Every week I do something different to practice prayer. The first month, I had the kids just be quiet for first 10, then 20, then 30, then 40 seconds. Later I had different practices to illustrate prayer.
    1) I had them write something they were happy for and something they worried about on two separate papers. Then, I passed around a gift bag into which they deposited the papers. I said these were our gifts to God. I then passed the gift bag to the church for inclusion in intentions.
    2) I had ready on the board when they came in different kid problems: grades, peers, parents, etc. Then I had them all erase all the problems, and each write over the cleaned board: “God.” This illustrates a number of ideas. I’ve also done this with small eraser boards I bought at the dollar store, and everyone gets to erase/write on their own.
    3) I passed around small squares of aluminum foil onto which I had pasted hearts with the word God. I told them to focus on it during the silence time. I told them the foil was to remind them that we are mirrors of God.

    • Alicia, I may borrow that eraser idea. The kids like going to the board anyway—might as well incorporate a lesson!

    • Thanks for sharing your creative ideas, Alicia! You are creating a climate of prayer in your sessions that enables young people to develop an affective relationship with Jesus that is absolutely crucial to lifelong faith!

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