Prayer is central to effective catechesis. If a teacher does not pray, how can she or he possibly expect to open students up to the grace of God? But we all know how busy our lives can get as teachers. Finding time to pray is difficult and it can be challenging to set up good teacher prayer habits.
I recently launched a new website called Prayer Habits. My hope is to share my experience developing good prayer habits (like most people I need help too) and creating an online resource Catholic prayers and everyday prayers that we can use on a daily basis.
Common Teacher Prayer Habits
1. School Mass and Penance Services. The weekly or semi-annually scheduled liturgical events provide students and teachers alike with the opportunity to pray as a community. These opportunities tend to develop prayer habits for us.
2. Five minute prayers. Sometimes teachers only have a few minutes in between class periods or at the beginning of the day to pray. These brief moments can make a powerful impact on the rest of the day.
3. Morning Prayer. There is no better time for a teacher to pray than at the beginning of the day before the students arrive. I know many teachers who use this time to mentally and spiritually prepare for the day. On other hand, many teachers use this time to catch up on work so it can be a challenge to commit to prayer rather than work. If you’re interested in making this commitment, read “How to Add Prayer to Your Daily Routine.”
Tips for Building Teacher Prayer Habits
1. Start small. Too many people try to give their prayer life an overhaul and end up overwhelming themselves. This often happens during Lent. My advice is always to start small and build new habits slowly from there.
2. Plan ahead. Take a close look at your daily routines to find the best times and places to pray. Schedule it, test your success, and adjust if necessary.
3. Set reminders everywhere. There are a number of ways to remind yourself to pray. Schedule it in your calendars. Schedule and email to be sent as a reminder. Post sticky-notes in key areas of your office or home. Get out a prayer book and place it next to your chosen place to pray.
4. Pray with every action. This is a challenge and difficult to understand in a concrete way. If prayer is meant to connect us with the presence of God, then we don’t have to pray separate from our daily lives. We can make our daily lives our prayer by either offering our actions specifically as gifts to God or by acting in such a way that God is present in our life. The simple recognition that in all things you are not alone will go a long way in developing the essential prayer habit to “pray always.”
If you are interested in more help developing prayer habits or just looking for some prayer ideas, check out prayerhabits.com for more.
Photo credit: Archdiocese of Washington blog