Vox Pastoris

following the Shepherd's voice

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Level I Presentation Descriptions: Prayer

As Sofia Cavalletti explains, "The prayer of children up to the age of seven or eight is almost exclusively prayer of thanksgiving and praise" (The Religious Potential of the Child, 123). They also pray in silence, so we try to give them many opportunities for silent prayer in the atrium.

There are two presentations under the subject of prayer:

  1. Introduction to the Prayer Corner
  2. Bible in the Prayer Corner

Both of these are given at the beginning of each atrium year.

In "Introduction to the Prayer Corner," the children are introduced to the prayer table as a special place for prayer, either by themselves or with others. They are shown how to set up the table with cloths in the appropriate liturgical color, statues, images, prayer cards, and candles. They are then encouraged to set up the table themselves and spend time there whenever they would like. We usually begin and end each session gathered around the prayer table for communal prayer and song.

The children are also given the opportunity to make and decorate their own prayer cards. For those children who are not yet writing independently, blank prayer cards with dotted-line words are made available so that they can trace the words and then decorate the prayer card. In our atrium, this work is done at a special table reserved only for copying Scripture or prayer cards.

In "Bible in the Prayer Corner," the catechist introduces the children to the Bible. We talk about how the Bible is the most important book in the world and that it contains God's words of love for all of us. We often organize a simple procession into the atrium with the Bible held high in the front; this is called the "enthronement" of the Bible. It is then placed in a place of honor ("enthroned"), and an appropriate verse is read and discussed, such as John 8:12 ("Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life'"). We light a candle every time we read Scripture because Jesus is the light of the world. Our atrium Bible is kept on a special table where the children can access it at any time.

For further reading about the children's prayer life, see chapter 7 of The Religious Potential of the Child and chapter 11 of The Good Shepherd and the Child.

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