Prayer is generally understood as our conversation with God. Conversations involve both speaking and listening. Developing a prayer life means learning to both speak and listen to God. Sometimes children, with wonderful imaginations, are very comfortable having spontaneous conversations with God. Parents can encourage this by simple expressions of thanks or gratitude to God, as well as requests for help from God and the desire for good things to happen for others. The listening to God can be modeled when we appreciate beautiful things, are awed at special events or allow music and peaceful moments to touch us and share that experience with our children.
The Church has a long tradition of already written prayers that are important for both community worship and private devotion. It is some of these traditional prayers that we want students to know as part of our Catholic faith. These prayers enable people to express some of the core beliefs of Catholicism and Christianity. They are part of our common heritage.
The prayer program identifies prayers that children should know at a certain grade level. Teachers will use the prayer for that grade to open their classes. However, these prayers will only become part of a child’s life if they are used at home. So parents should find ways to use the prayers as part of the family’s daily routine. Children who know the prayer for their grade at the end of the school year will receive a lapel pin for that year. At the end of five years children could have a complete set of five pins. Each pin is a religious symbol that highlights an element of Catholic faith. To receive the pins students must know be able to recite the prayer confidently and know the correct actions that go with the sign of the cross.
Grade One Prayers
The Sign of the Cross
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Touch your forehead (Father), your heart (Son) and then your left and right shoulders (Holy Spirit), in that sequence while saying the words. The action forms the “Sign of the Cross.”
The Doxology (Glory Be)
“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.”
Grade Two Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer (Our Father)
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”
Act of Contrition
“My God, I am sorry for all my sins. I will sincerely try to do better. Jesus, help me and have mercy on me. Amen.
Grade Three Prayer
“Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hours of our death. Amen.”
Grade Four Prayer
"I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen"
(This prayer is used every week at Mass and it has been since the 4th century the official expression of what Catholic’s believe.)
Grade Five Prayer
Come Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created and you will renew the face of the earth.
Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit you have taught the hearts of your faithful. In the same Spirit help us to relish what is right and always rejoice in your consolation. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.