Leading a classroom devotion—for any grade level—not only starts the school day on a positive note but also creates a sense of family and community within the classroom. Classroom devotions don’t need to take up much time, but being intentional about leading them begins the day in the best way: with Jesus.
Prayer Requests and Time
Now, what if you’re like me and you have a hard time keeping prayer request time short? Often, prayer requests can easily turn into a five-minute story about Jimmy’s cat’s hurt paw, which sparks other students’ concerns for their furry friends at home. I aim to find a balance between showing genuine care for the things going on in the lives of my students while also using our devotion time wisely. Some days, for example, I try to summarize each student’s concern for their pet by praying for “the animals we love.” But I also wanted to try something new.
A New Routine
After I led a few “Jesus time” lessons or devotions on prayer, I started a new classroom routine that I sustained throughout the rest of the year: on Fridays, we began our day by reading a devotion together at the carpet, and then students went back to their desks to write in a prayer journal (each student had a designated spiral notebook for this purpose). I would turn off the lights, flip on a Christian music playlist, and allow quiet time for prayer. Using the smartboard, I could post prayer requests as well as prayer prompts to consider, such as: What can you thank Jesus for? What can you repent for? Who in our community can we pray for? This is a great opportunity for students to write and pray about their personal concerns, while at the same time providing practice in handwriting and writing in general.
A special part of Friday prayer journals is that I participate in this time as well. I sit in the front of the classroom—not at my desk, which is full of distractions—and write my prayers in a journal just like my students. I think it is valuable for students to see that teachers have a prayer life and that they practice quiet time with Jesus as an established routine. Modeling prayer is important for teachers to do with their students. You can also use the time to write each of your students’ names, say a prayer for them, and share with them that their requests are known by God.
Toward the end of the year, after the routine had become ingrained, I modified it by asking students to share their prayers. For our last Friday devotion, I bought packs of mini journals to give to my students and illuminated the classroom with battery-operated candles to create a special space and to encourage students to continue quiet time with Jesus even after leaving my class for the next grade. Demonstrating prayer and leading a classroom devotion each day is an effective way to encourage our students to grow in a lasting, personal relationship with Jesus.
Teach students how to pray by …