Every classroom should have a prayer corner. This is a special place used exclusively for prayer and reflection. Since I have 32 students in my third-grade class, I don’t have much space—my prayer corner is on top of a steel storage cabinet. With a little work, I’ve transformed it into a place that speaks of the beauty of our faith by decorating it with objects that capture my students’ attention.
Some of these objects are meaningful to me. I covered the top of the cabinet with a brightly colored rainbow silk scarf that my mother-in-law brought back from a tropical vacation. I added a lovely icon of the Virgin Mary, which I bought at a fundraiser for our sister school, as well as a Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I also placed a large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which the school supplied to all teachers. Two electric candles on the front corners of the cabinet complete the prayer corner.
Whenever students give me flowers, I place them in the prayer corner. I will add other objects that help me pray for others. For example, my father was a pheasant hunter, so I place a pheasant feather in the area during hunting season; this feather reminds us to keep my father and other hunters in our prayers. When a former student was suffering from leukemia, our school made 1,000 paper cranes for her during her treatment as a show of support. I put one of these cranes in our prayer corner as a reminder to pray for this student’s healing.
I’m fortunate that I have a permanent space to dedicate as a prayer corner. If you share a room with other classes, you may not have this luxury. My friend Sara—who uses my room for her religious education class—came up with a clever solution: she uses a small rolling cart. On the first day of class, her students make a tablecloth using a white tea towel. She invites children to draw a picture or write their names or part of a hymn or prayer with fabric markers. Sara begins each class with a procession to set up the table. She plays a song appropriate for the lesson or liturgical season. Each child carries an object which will go onto the prayer table: the tablecloth, a smaller piece of fabric that matches the color of the liturgical season, a Bible, a statue of a patron saint, and a bottle of holy water. She also invites children to bring objects from home to put on the prayer table. When the children finish setting up the table, the class circles around it and prays. Sara also asks for volunteers to lead the prayer service, which gives them an opportunity to write a prayer for the class and experience many different forms of prayer.
Prayer corners can be places of great consolation and comfort for your class. For example, on April 1, 2005, Pope John Paul II was near death. We all gathered around the prayer corner and prayed for him. We lit a candle and prayed the Lord’s Prayer, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be. This was a beautiful experience to be able to pray for the pope as a class.
A classroom prayer corner is a place of beauty in a classroom and serves as a sacred space where your class can come together and grow closer to God, the Church, and one another.
What objects do you include in your classroom’s prayer corner? How do you use your prayer corner?
Bridges to Faith is a bilingual, supplemental resource for children ages 8 to 11. Children are introduced to Catholic basics through Scripture, prayer opportunities, graphic organizers and activities that reinforce key teachings, and more.