praying with middle schoolers.

One of the classes I teach at school is called Christian Living. We do all sorts of stuff in the class ranging from watching videos/movies, debates, discussions, current-religious events, workbook pages, small group work and praying. Something I have really been struggling with with them is prayer…if you didn’t guess from the title!

Prior to me joining the class, I have found out that the class would typically spend the  period with prayer partners and would switch every so often. From my observations, not much praying was going on…rather goofing off, gossipping or just not communicating with their partner. Something needed to change.*

I was looking around for a few resources, online and things I have done in the past and I settled on Praying in Color, visual prayer, and Lectio Divina, spending time with a verse or section of the Bible. Today was the day that I introduced Praying in Color/visual prayer. The responses were so enthusiastic and I could not have been happier!

Sybil MacBeth, the author of Praying in Color, starts out sessions with an activity about speaking and listening. Getting into pairs, each partner takes a turn speaking for one whole minute and then listening to the partner for one whole minute. We discussed what was hard about doing either of those tasks and how it is important to remember both while praying!

Our next step was to practice some of the designs – some 7th graders were super nervous but they were glad to see that most of the designs were simple shapes such as circles, triangles, half circles and squares. Here is the example I put up on the smartboard.

praying in color ideas


Then, I showed them some examples of prayers that I had previously done in my prayer journal:

my prayer journal

prayer for mommom

prayer for mom and dad

Before they started, I reminded them that each color, line and shape was a prayer lifted up as they remembered the person that they were keeping on their minds.

Here are some of their examples that we will finish next class period:

student work

student work

I am so glad that this lesson was received so well and I can’t wait to introduce the next style of prayer next Wednesday! Maybe we will make it a prayer unit!

*Please note that I am not speaking against prayer partners! They are a wonderful resource for your spiritual life and I hope you have one — just not in a room of more than a dozen middle schoolers for half an hour!

With Joy,


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