I stood in the line of nervous parents and excited-though-apprehensive elementary school children at Open House last year.
My kids squealed when they saw their friends from last year, waving from our line to others behind us, beside us and in front. After families stepped up to the table to receive their classroom assignment for the year, they walked by us as they headed to the classroom. We asked them, “What teacher did you get?” and then we cheered or compared notes and gave advice.
In between greeting other parents and kids, I prayed.
Sometimes I mess up and treat God like little more than a pagan idol–acting as if maybe if I cross my fingers, rub a rabbit’s foot, do a fancy jig and offer to sacrifice something, He’ll answer my prayers just because He sees how desperate I am.
“Oh Jesus, please give me daughter a great teacher this year…..please, please, please, pleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaasssssseeeee.”
Yet, while He loves the sincerity and passion I have for praying for my kids, He knows what they need without me trying to manipulate Him into giving me my way.
And while standing in line at Open House isn’t a bad place to pray, it’s not the only time to pray.
After all, when it was our turn, we stepped up to the table and the principal handed us an index card for each daughter with their room number and teacher’s name for the school year. The decision, however, had been made weeks in advance as teachers met to match students with the right classroom, teacher, and classmates.
So, maybe that’s when to start praying?
Or maybe the answer really is that we never stop praying for our kids.
We move from need to need, praying today for today, but also for tomorrow and for five years from now and on into their adult years, their marriages, their careers and ministries.
So, here are five prayers I start praying before the school year begins, long before I step into that line on Open House night and certainly before I kiss my kids on the head, pray for them quickly and watch them step onto the bus on the first day of school.
- For the right teacher and classroom: God, you know my children best. Yes, you know them even better than I do. You know exactly what teacher is going to work with their strengths and weaknesses and what teacher will help them reach their potential and be excited about school and learning. Please give the teachers and administrators wisdom as they place our children into classrooms and help my children be matched with the perfect teacher and the classmates who will be good friends rather than bullies, mean girls, or distractions this year. Please bless the teacher’s summer, helping it be restful and fun so he or she can start the school year with enthusiasm, excitement and energy!
- For safety: Lord, it’s hard for me to let my children go where I can’t see them or be with them all the time. I want so much to be there to protect them and guide them, intervene for them, and love them through the hard things. But, I know You are with them even when I can’t be. You can care for them better than I can. Please watch over them with Your providential care and protection.
- For their choices: Father, my children will be making tons of decisions every day. Please help them to know they can always turn to You for help when they need it and please help them draw on the wisdom from Your Word that we’ve tried to teach them. Let Your Holy Spirit direct their steps and guide their hearts to do what is right. Help my children be a witness for You all day, on the playground, in the lunch room, in the classroom and more.
- For us as parents: God, we need just as much help as our kids do for this school year. Help us make wise decisions and know how to mold their character, give advice, when to get involved and when to let our children handle things on their own, and how to train up this child in the way that he or she should go.
- For their friendships: Lord, one of the biggest decisions my kids will make this year is about who to befriend. Please give them discernment and wisdom to know how to choose good friends, those who will lead them to you, those who will encourage success and help them do the right thing. When there are children being picked on or ignored, I ask that you will show my child how to give them compassion and to reach out to them in love. Give my children the strength to lead others to You rather than be led by others away from You. Please protect them from bullies, mean girls, and bad influences and help them know how to stand up for what is right when necessary.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Heather King is a busy-but-blessed wife and mom, a Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King