In honor of the beginning of the school year, I’d like to challenge you to spend the next few days in prayer. Even if you don’t have school-aged kids or aren’t connected to a particular school, please pray. God grows our hearts when we spend time in prayer. Don’t believe me? Pray fervently for someone you don’t like. I guarantee God will soften your heart toward them. You can start this anytime, but it would be great if you spent time in prayer for each of these groups over the next five days. Thank you in advance for joining me in the prayer challenge.
Pray for Teachers
As a former teacher, I can say with confidence, we covet your prayers. Not just when we go back to school, but throughout the year. Teaching is a noble profession, but it’s also sometimes a thankless, difficult, and lonely one. It’s hard to imagine feeling lonely when surrounded by students at all times, but it’s lonely in the sense that teachers don’t get much of time to interact with colleagues. When I was a teacher, I would often eat lunch in my room while grading papers or in the car on the way to the school I traveled to in the afternoon. There just isn’t time in the day for all the things on a teacher’s to do list.
When you pray for teachers, pray that they don’t lose heart when they’re trying to reach a difficult student. Pray for those wonderful moments when they see a student really get something for the first time. Pray for an extra dose of patience on the days when…well for all the days. If your kids have multiple teachers, or if you have multiple kids, pray for their teachers by name. Don’t just do it for them. Do it for you. That way, if a situation arises with a particular teacher, you may be able to be more fair to the teacher because your heart is with them. That’s what happens when we pray for others. We begin to root for them. Even if we don’t always agree with them.
Teachers are especially on my heart today because the teachers in Columbus City Schools are on strike. It breaks my heart that instead of readying their classrooms for students, they are standing outside to fight for them. Their students deserve better and these brave men and women are going into battle for them. Please join me in praying for any teachers that are starting their year this way. Pray for a resolution that is quick and equitable for the staff and students.
However, you choose to pray, pray for teachers. They are equipping the future and that’s not an easy task no matter the circumstances.
Pray for Administration
Great schools are the result of great leadership. Administrators are the heart of the building and they need your prayers. Pray that they will lead by example and with kindness. Pray for their spirits when situations out of their control arise. Pray that they will find ways to connect not just with staff and parents, but also with students. Pray for their safety and for their families who have to give up time with them when they have school functions to attend. Pray that they understand just how important they are to the success of future generations.
Pray for Students
I’ve written a few posts about this, but the beginning of the school year is incredibly stressful for students. Pray by name for the students in your life. Pray that they will find a place in their schools where they feel accepted and loved. Pray for students with special needs that they will get the help they need each day. Pray for all students to have enough success to be excited to go to school. Pray for students who are new this year. Pray for those who don’t have enough to eat at home and those who go to school to feel safe. Pray for the student leaders -that they will know their influence and use it to make their schools better. Pray for the safety of every student in every school in the country.
Pray for Support Staff
One group that is often overlooked, but absolutely necessary to the school is support staff. These are the people who open your kid’s yogurt at lunch, help them learn to read, and do hundreds of other unrelated tasks throughout the day. They are the glue that holds the school together. Pray that they know how important they are to their schools. Pray for their patience as they work with students. Pray that they get the joy of seeing students make progress in the classroom, socially, or emotionally. Pray that they don’t lose heart. Pray for an extra dose of energy so they can keep up with their kids.
Pray for Parents
One of the biggest factors in a student’s success, is his or her parents. As a mother of four, I’m sometimes tempted to put my kids on the bus and think, “Now, I’m off the hook.” But we’re never really off the hook as parents. We must be involved with our kids’ education. And that looks different at different stages. Sometimes it’s doing math flashcards, and sometimes it’s stepping out of the way not giving into the temptation of doing the work for our kids. Spend some time praying for parents today. Pray that they will be sober-minded when dealing with their kids who are under all kinds of pressure. Pray that they’ll have the right words to say to encourage their kids. Pray for grace when dealing with teachers and administrators. Pray they will have the time and energy it takes to nurture their children. Pray for those who are teary-eyed because they have a brand new kindergartner and those who are teary-eyed after dropping off a kid at college. Pray for parents. They want to be the best they can be and only God can do that.