Using Sacred Space for Small Faith Groups

Sacred Space

One of the most important “ingredients” for small faith groups is establishing a climate of prayer at the beginning of a session. Small groups each have their own unique focus: exploring the Sunday Scripture readings, discussing a book, watching and discussing a video series, and so on. What remains constant, however, is the need to create a climate of prayer in which the “work” of the group takes place. Some of the resources that small faith groups use come with a prayer built in. What can you do, however, when the resource you’re using does not include a prayer?

Try using Sacred Space!

Where is it written in stone that an opening prayer needs to be on paper? Today, you can use your mobile phone! Sacred Space is a popular prayer website that provides you with everything you need to invite a small group into a reflective prayer experience. Sacred Space guides users through a self-paced session of prayer centered on a Scripture passage.

The prayer is arranged in six stages, including preparing your body and mind, and culminates in reflection on a Scripture passage chosen specially for the day. The stages are:

  • The Presence of God
  • Freedom
  • Consciousness
  • The Word
  • Conversation
  • Conclusion

Although they are written in the first person—“I”—the prayers can be shared communally. Each stage is a kind of exercise or meditation aimed at helping participants get in touch with God and God’s presence in their lives. The prayer can be led by one leader using his/her mobile phone or all the participants can use their smartphones, moving from one stage to another when signaled by the leader (perhaps sounding a hand chime or ringing a bell) and taking turns reading aloud. The prayer experience—depending on how you pace it—takes about seven to ten minutes.

Sacred Space need not be limited to use by small faith groups. Any parish meeting can take place within a climate of prayer if Sacred Space is used as an opening prayer experience. Of course, you can always embellish the experience by adding a simple sung refrain at the end or by inviting the group to join in a traditional prayer.

Any time two or three or more of us meet in the name of Jesus, we should do everything in our power to honor the gathering as sacred space!

About Joe Paprocki 2164 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.

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