5 Prayers for our Schools

prayers for our schools

It was one of those statements in a sermon that sticks with you forever.

About nine years ago, one of our pastors said, “If when you pray for me all you ask is, ‘God, please bless my pastor,’ then don’t worry about praying for me.”

Not pray for him?  Who, after all, would reject a blessing prayer?

But really, he didn’t mean to reject prayers, just to emphasize the importance of specific prayers for others.

It’s true for husbands, for children, for pastors and other ministry leaders, and for our schools.  If my idea of praying for them is, “God please bless these people today,” then I’m really not requesting much, not petitioning God much on their behalf.

I want to be specific, be particular, praying in faith that God knows best, but laying my requests all out there before His throne.  Not just a “pray-and-run” kind of petition, shooting out a list of people or places to bless in one minute and then rushing on with my day.

I want to get knee-deep involved in intercession like the Levites who prayed for the refugees returning home to Israel to rebuild the Jerusalem walls in the book of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 9).

How to pray then?  What to ask God for?  You might have ideas, too, but here’s a prayer tool to get us started as we begin this school year:

5 Prayers for our Schools

Mondays:  Safety and presence of God:  God, we pray for Your presence in our schools, public, private and home-school settings.  We ask for peace to reign in the hallways, the classrooms, and playgrounds.  Please protect our children and school staff and prevent evil from infiltrating the school grounds.

Tuesday: School administrators and office staff:  Lord, we thank You for the administrators and office staff who keep our schools running smoothly and who are responsible for making decisions both about our children’s education and their safety. We ask that You give them strength and wisdom and help them establish a positive learning environment.  Help them balance the pressures of standardized testing with the goal of encouraging a love of learning.  We pray that they can foster an atmosphere of creativity, passion, and joy among all the educational staff.

Wednesday: Teachers and assistants:  Lord, we pray for the teachers and assistants who are putting long hours in during the early days in the school year. There is so much to get set up, students to assess, routines to establish. Please give them the energy they need and strength for each new day. Help them to know You are with them. Give them wisdom as they get to know each student—reveal strengths and needs, highlight situations that need intervention, show teachers where students deserve encouragement and praise!

Thursday: School nurses and counselors: Lord, we ask that you bless the school nurses as they run their clinics and the counselors working with our kids.  Our nurses not only manage the intricate schedule of medications for our students, but they are also a source of compassion and love every day.  Our counselors need to rightly discern students who need help and intervention and fight against bullying and other problems in our schools.   Give them wisdom, gentleness, and compassion.  Fill them up daily with Your love as they pour so much of themselves out for others.

Friday: Staff (Cafeteria, janitorial, bus drivers and more):  God, there are so many men and women who work in our schools, providing food, transportation and more for our kids.  They are often the ones responsible for keeping our schools healthy and our children safe.  Please give them joy in their work, bless their hands as they serve each day.  Help them know how much we appreciate their efforts on behalf of our kids.

How do you pray for our schools and their staff? 

Heather King is a wife, mom, 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 book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

5 Prayers Before the School Year Begins

I stood in the line of nervous parents and excited-though-apprehensive elementary school children at Open House last year.  I was praying….a lot.

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.prayersbeforeschool“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 before.

So, maybe that’s when to start praying?

Or maybe the answer really is that we never stop praying for our kids.

Not ever.

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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Originally posted August 2, 2013

Heather King is a wife, mom, 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 book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

Praying for Our Kids Through the Day

It’s the Last Day of Summer here in my household.  My kids will speed through the morning routine tomorrow and step on the school bus to kick off the busyness and craziness of the school year.  So, today I’m sharing the reminder to pray with this post from May 2013—-pray for our kids, pray for their schools, pray for their teachers and other school staff.

Originally posted May 22, 2013

**********************************************************************************

News reports and tears.  How could they not go together at times?

I don’t think my momma’s heart can handle watching the live footage of Oklahoma after a tornado, not when it crushed a school with other women’s babies inside.

Still I wake up this morning and the next and the next and I rush my children through the routine and watch the clock count down the minutes to the school bus’s arrival at the end of our driveway.  I kiss blond heads and say the simple things: Have a good day.  Behave.  Learn lots.  I love you.

The temptation is always there to snatch them up and try to hide them from a world out of control and full of so much evil and such pain.

But here is my daily choice: To parent in Fear or to parent in Faith.

It’s prayer that faith-parenting demands: this incessant and heart-all-in-it intercession for our kids because we just aren’t enough to protect them from everything and we can’t ever do it all right on our own.

Today, I’m choosing to pray around the clock for my kids:

7:00 a.m., before they wake–For Me:

Lord, please help me be the mom You want me to be today.  I give this day to You right from the beginning.  Forgive me for yesterday’ s mistakes and give me grace for a new day.  I trust You for the wisdom, strength, grace, patience, and energy I need to do this most important job.  Thank You for trusting me with the care of this family.

7:30 a.m., as they wake–Praise and Thanksgiving:

Thank You for these children, Lord.  They are so unique.  I see how this one hops out of bed with joy and how this girl drags her blanket and stumbles out to the sofa for a slow move into the day. Help me remember how they are each a precious treasure.

8:25, the school bus arrives–For Safety. 

Lord, I trust them into Your hands today and ask for their safety.  Please watch over them.  Even when they are with me, I can’t get it all right and don’t know how to protect 007them from everything.  Your hands are so much bigger than mine, Lord. Please hold them in Your hands today.  Keep them safe from evil and those who want to hurt them.  Protect them physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

8:50, school begins– For their school (or work);

God, please help my children be seekers of truth.  Grow in them the skills, the knowledge, the abilities they need to fulfill Your plans for them.  I pray that You will choose the perfect teachers who will be an encouragement to my kids, will help them discover the joy in learning, and will know exactly how to guide, direct and care for them today.  Thank You for these teachers, school staff and administrators.  Please give them wisdom, strength, energy, and joy.

12:00, lunch time–For health and physical disciplines:

Lord, I pray that You will be the healer and protector for my children.  Help them to make wise choices about eating, exercising, and their bodies.  Show them how to say “no” and stand firm against addictions and harmful substances.  Give them a healthy body image so they will care for the body You’ve given them, but they will not fall for the lies of this world about beauty.  Remind them that they are beautiful the way You made them.  Please protect them from any struggle with eating disorders.

1:00, recess—For friendships and relationships:  

Father, Proverbs says: “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (Prov. 13:20 NIV).  Help my children make wise decisions about their friendships and relationships.  Show them how to love others, be kind to all, reach out to the ignored, the ostracized, and the downtrodden.  Give them compassionate hearts.  But please help them choose close friends who will lead them to Jesus and not encourage or dare them to rebel and walk astray.

For their future dating relationships and marriages, I ask now for wisdom and purity.  Let them be passionate about pursuing You above all and let a passion for You be what attracts them to others.  Prepare them for their future as friends, wives, and moms and give them the relationship skills they need now to fulfill those roles later.

3:45, school ends and afternoon and evening activities begin—For their future:

Lord, You know the exact plans You have for each of my children. I ask that You will reveal their gifts and hone each of their talents so they can use them for Your glory.  Give them hearts that are passionate for You and Your will and help them choose to walk in Your ways in all things.  I ask that You will teach them discipline, faithfulness, and hard work so they don’t give up too soon, but instead always strive for excellence, giving their very best offerings as praise to You.

8:00, bedtime—For their salvation and their walk with God:

Above all, Lord, I ask that You draw the hearts of these children to You.  Help them to know You as their Lord and Savior and let that be personal, real and life-changing.  Stir up passion in them for Your Word, for worship, and for the things of God.  I place them into Your hands again this night, trusting them to Your care.  Please don’t let them be afraid, but to learn to trust You and turn to You for whatever help they ever need.

In Jesus’ name….Amen.

Interested in learning more ways to pray for your children?  My favorite resource is Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying® ParentShe also wrote a book specifically for parents of adults: The Power of Praying® for Your Adult Children.

Heather King is a wife, mom, 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 the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Keep On Keeping On

Lunches packed for the last time. Desks cleared, backpacks cleaned out and stowed away. Field day over.  Class parties celebrated.  Awards ceremony concluded and certificates photographed.  End-of-the-year pictures taken of each daughter and compared to the photos from the first day of the school year.

And now we collapse.  We did it.  Somehow it feels like a joint accomplishment, not just theirs.  Sure, my kids worked hard. So did I.  And somehow, by God’s grace, we made it here to this first day of 006summer vacation.

It’s only taken 15 months of prayer.  I started praying for this school year last March, praying for this teacher, this classroom, these friends, this school, these character issues, and these lessons.

On Monday, a friend and I bowed heads for the last time this school year and we gave thanks.

Thank You, Lord, for answering our pleas for our children.  Thank You for helping them learn, being with them in all of the struggles that have sent these loving (and worried) mamas to their knees.  Thank You for helping them with difficult concepts and friendship drama, bullies and mistakes on tests, report cards and forgetfulness. Thank You for these teachers You chose specially for our kids.

And we began again, just that quickly, one sentence to another, thank God for this year and then praying for next year: for classroom placements and teacher assignments, for the responsibilities of a new grade and for the friendships they’d make.

So it continues.

“Pray without ceasing….” that’s what Paul wrote (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

He meant that living prayer, that breathing in and breathing out of living life alongside God, taking in crises and handing them right on over to the Lord, receiving blessing and offering up spontaneous praise.

It means no more arbitrary separations between the sacred and the secular, between the holy parts of my life where God is welcome and invited and the dusty living rooms of our hearts where we try to hide away the clutter in corners.

Having kids, though, reminds me of this, too:

Prayer is perpetual; it’s insistent and consistent.

And sometimes I’m not.  I’m driven to the throne by need and I’m pouring out pleas of desperation until the need eases a bit.  Or perhaps I just grow weary or fall back into the coziness of complacency and apathy.

I’m not praying so fervently any more. It’s more like unemotional have-to prayers, perhaps performed out of duty, perhaps totally forgotten and not prayed at all.

We pray for that intervention, that salvation, that redemption, that rescue…for us or for another….and then slowly we cease the praying.   We need the reminder to keep on keeping on, to not give up asking God for that healing and to refuse to stop praying for a loved one’s salvation.

With kids, you can’t really forget, not for long.  Time just pushes you right through from prayer need to prayer need.  I’m not even done praying over one school year before I’m on my knees for the next.

I read the Psalms and here is the reminder anew:

“But I keep praying to you, Lord, hoping this time you will show me favor.  In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation” (Psalm 69:13 NLT).

“But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more” (Psalm 71:14 NLT).

“We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal” (Psalm 123:2 NLT).

Keep praying….keep hoping….keep looking.005

Keep at it and when He answers, press on in more prayer.

With this fresh resolve, I flip through the pages of the neglected prayer journal.  What did I pray then….and what do I still need to pray now?

What have you neglected in prayer?  What have you given up on and long since stopped asking God for?  Who used to be on your prayer list but somehow slipped off?

It’s discipline to begin again.  And when we cease praying, which feels like the inevitable failing of us forgetful ones, we return again and resolve again to be insistent and consistent in seeking God and hoping in His deliverance.

What have you stopped praying about that you need to pray for again?  What prayers are you already praying for your children’s next school year?

Do you have a prayer journal?  How does it look and how do you use it?

Heather King is a wife, mom, 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