Our School Prayers
Prayer at St. Bede’s Catholic Junior School
Children have a natural aptitude for prayer. They are open to God. They respond in joy, wonder, anger, disappointment and elation to the world around them. The whole of creation is new to them and their days are full of endless exploration and discovery. The task of the teacher is to recognise that this is the beginnings of prayer and to create and maintain an environment where this is fostered and developed.
It is desirable to create a visible prayerful space in each classroom, which will usually reflect either the topic or the liturgical season. Each person has to find the ‘space within’ where the encounter with God takes place.
In Come and See the process offers specific opportunities for sustaining and deepening this natural aptitude for prayer.
Informal words for prayer: the ordinary, everyday language of praising, thanking, asking and saying sorry are provided in the stories and activities. The prayers suggested take account of the need to avoid a simplistic view of God, so that children are not left disillusioned when, for example, a sick or dying person, especially someone they love, does not recover. For example, Be near to …… who is sick. Give your peace (love, strength) to …… who is dying. Help me to bring them your love and care.
Formal words for prayer: These are introduced gradually throughout the programme. Children will become familiar with them:
- by hearing them said and by joining in with them;
- by singing them;
- by focusing on small phrases which are incorporated into the topic work when and where this is appropriate. For example, in the Eucharist topics, focus is on the Eucharistic Prayers, especially those for use with children. In the Reconciliation topics, the penitential rites are a focus for prayer. In the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the promises give good openings for prayer and reflection.
Prayer Experiences in St. Bede’s Catholic Junior School
Children are introduced to a variety of forms and styles of prayer:
• Praying the psalms “I thank you for the for the wonder of my being.” (Pslam 139)
• Traditional prayers Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father
• Repetitive prayer phrases eg ‘Jesus, I love you’,
• Scripture – reflection/meditation/ use of imagination,
• Bodily prayer raising hands in praise, bowing, dancing, genuflecting.
• Prayer of the heart, stillness to listen to God:
“ Be still and know that I am God.”
• Contemplation – looking at trees, a sunset, an icon, work done in the Topic.
• Gestures – the sign of the cross, sign of the cross on forehead, lips and breast before the gospel, the sign of peace, genuflecting etc.;
• Hymns both traditional and modern are suggested;
• Music – listening to quiet reflective music;
• Litanies e.g. for all creation: Thanks be to God;
• Prayer services and liturgies;
• Celebrations – gathering in prayer, song, scripture, celebrating all aspects of life.