I know that I need to make a stronger effort to pray frequently and specifically for my students and their families. Prayer matters and can change things, even if it is just the attitude of our hearts.
So how to do that with meaning and regularity?
I'm going to be honest right here and say that praying the Rosary is not my most favorite of things. (ahem- I know.) I enjoy praying it while walking, or driving with a group, or sometimes even when I am having trouble sleeping. But I don't naturally gravitate towards it.
However, I do a lot better at really praying the mysteries if I intentionally involve Scripture (love this book to help with that) AND if I make that mystery relate to the specific person or cause that I am praying for. As an example, if I am praying for a sick family member and using the Sorrowful Mysteries, I might ask that they be given strength to offer up their suffering while meditating on the Agony in the Garden. During the Carrying of the Cross, I can pray that they receive patience and comfort from people they encounter, etc.
Recently when praying the Joyful Mysteries, my CCD and school families were on my mind. As I worked my way through the Joyful Mysteries, I realized that they are a great example of Christian fellowship that we should strive for in the Church. So I started asking specific things for the families I worked with through the intercession of Mary, following her example in these events. And then I went home and wrote down all of it so I wouldn't forget :)
The inside details the five mysteries, a Scripture verse to set the context, and an intention geared towards students, their families, and the Church.
Here are the intentions, to give you an idea:
The First Joyful Mystery
We pray that our students’ homes will be places of grace, and that the work of the Holy Spirit will bear great fruit in their families.
The Second Joyful Mystery
We pray that our students and their parents will have the fellowship and support of a close circle of family, friends, and church members.
The Third Joyful Mystery
We pray that every child will be loved with awe and wonder, and cherished as the gift that they truly are to their families.
The Fourth Joyful Mystery
We pray that parents will find importance in bringing their children to the Church for reception of the sacraments and continued faith formation.
The Fifth Joyful Mystery
We pray that families will support the gifts and talents of their children, encourage their religious growth, and aid them in the discerning of their future vocation.
If you like this idea, you can try the technique the next time you pray the Rosary. If you would like something to get you started or to share, feel free to print out the booklet by clicking on the picture below: