Ave Maria Law Review
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” There are approximately fifty religiously affiliated law schools in the United States. As faith-based communities, these law schools can integrate their faiths into the education they provide by, among other things, incorporating in the classroom a central characteristic of most religions – prayer.
This article includes anonymous survey responses from students at four different Catholic law schools across the nation concerning whether the students liked the fact that their professors prayed at the beginning of class. The article, based on those responses, discusses the advantages of a professor praying in the classroom, including the following: (1) prayer creates a reverent, focused, and unified classroom environment; (2) prayer gives the students a chance to enjoy a few moments of peace, gain their composure, and prepare for class; (3) prayer creates community; (4) professors model positive behavior for the students by showing that one may stay true to one’s religion while still being a lawyer; (5) prayer reminds law students and professors of the world outside the law school, particularly when praying for others; (6) the power of prayer can result in positive results; (7) prayer fosters the faith-based communities that law schools promote as a plus to their students and recruits; and (8) professors can help mold law students to become better attorneys and better people. This article also discusses and responds to the real and perceived disadvantages of prayer in the classroom. Finally, the article includes recommendations for a professor who wants to incorporate prayer into the classroom.
This article concludes that the advantages of praying in the classroom can have profound effects on the classroom environment and the law students themselves. Any real or perceived disadvantages of praying by law professors in religiously affiliated law schools are heavily outweighed by the advantages.
David A. Grenardo, Improving The Law School Classroom And Experience Through Prayer: An Empirical Study, 13 Ave Maria L. Rev. 68 (2015).