By Colleen Pressprich
Lent is a wonderful time to renew and reset your faith life, and that of your family, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
One of the ways that I like to set the scene for our family in Lent is by creating a Lenten prayer table.
What’s a prayer table?
A prayer table is just a table or other flat, horizontal surface used by your family to call them to prayer. If you don’t have a table available, the top of an upright piano, a shelf on the bookcase, or even your mantle will do!
The idea is that you create something beautiful that will draw your children in and inspire their prayers. There are lots of ways to set up a prayer table, and while you can have one out all year long, I like to set one up for the special liturgical seasons of the year.
What do I put on a prayer table?
I like to put objects on our family prayer table that fit into 2 categories: the things that set the scene and the things that we use.
First, I like to set the scene. These are the objects that tell my kids visually that this space is special, that this season is special. During Lent, I use the following:
- A purple cloth draped over the table- whether a full table cloth or a table runner or just a piece of unfinished purple fabric: This helps my kids connect this table to the altar cloth at mass and recalls the liturgical season.
- A simple print: I have a few different liturgical prints that I rotate out. My favorite is a lamb in a thorn bush. Whether you purchase a print or print an image at home, a small framed picture is helpful to engage the imagination of kids.
- A crucifix: Lent prepares us for the Passion, so I like to have a crucifix front and center.
- A crown of thorns: Our family has a few of these, courtesy of our neighbor who let us cut branches from her thorn bush, and I lay one on our prayer table to remind our children of all that Christ suffered for us. In addition to the objects that set the liturgical scene, I like to put out items that will help our kids to respond to what they see and feel.
- A set of meditation on the Stations of the Cross: Our family is in the habit of praying the Stations of the Cross each Friday during Lent. I keep our copy on the prayer table so that the kids can look at it whenever they like throughout the week.
- The new Stations of the Cross Pray and Play Set by Brother Francis and Saintly Heart is also a great addition for a hands-on experience!
- Books for Lent and Easter: We have a collection of picture books for the season of Lent and a few that celebrate Easter. I always keep a basket of them next to the prayer table.
- Rosaries and other prayer aids: Depending on the age of my kids, I might also put out Lenten coloring pages
There are so many different ways to set up a prayer table. Your family’s might not look like mine at all, and that’s okay! But I hope that I’ve given you a few ideas that you find helpful. And remember, the goal is to create a space where you and your children can dive more deeply into the liturgical season of Lent.
Colleen Pressprich is the author of The Women Doctors of the Church and Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children as well OSV Kids’ Stations of the Cross. She is a homeschooling mom of five kids and lives with her family in Michigan. You can find more of her writing and order her books at elevatortoheaven.com