By Eva Juliuson
Who says you can’t pray in school? Every day prayers go up to God by moms and dads sending their little ones to school for the very first time, or dropping off their precious child to a new middle or high school. Parents are praying, “Father, protect my child while she is away from me.” “Lord, help my child learn and obey.” “Please give my child a teacher who loves him.” “Help my child shine out for you.”
Prayers go up from students wondering who their teacher will be for the next nine months, or who they will share a locker with, or if anyone will sit by them at lunch, or if they can find their way to all their classes, or if the bully from last year will be back this year, or if that cute boy or girl might smile at them, or if they can handle chemistry! Parents pray for their college students who are stepping out into new areas in their lives—away from Mom and Dad. “Please guide them, Father. Help them to listen to you and know that you are always with them!”
Many classroom teachers are praying as well. Their prayers might contain some of the following: “You pick the kids to be in my class this year, Lord.“ “Lord, please don’t let them assign that kid to my classroom!” “Help me with the huge responsibility of teaching these young minds.” “Give me extra patience and understanding!” “Don’t let me miss a student who needs my attention.” “Let them see Jesus in me!”
Administrators, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, and staff members will be praying as well. Audible prayers may be prohibited, but there is likely no end to the silent prayers that are being offered. May we all continue year-round praying for our schools, students, and staff. No one can keep us from lifting these great needs in prayer before our Father.
Praying for Students
Parents and grandparents are the front line prayer warriors for our children. We cannot depend on anyone else to pray for our kids like they can.
Fern Nichols, founder of Moms In Prayer International, challenges us with her well known quote, “If we’re not praying for our children, then who is?” It is our responsibility, honor, and calling to lift our kids up before the Lord every step of the way as they grow.
Most of a child’s waking hours during the weekday are spent in school, which should put it at the top of our prayer list. We cannot be with our children every moment of the day while they are being taught by others. But our heavenly Father is. Wise parents do more than pray for their children at the start of the school year; they start each school day with prayer, lifting their kids and their schools before the Lord. Amazing things happen when we invite God into our schools and into our children’s lives.
Mornings can be a hectic time for most families. That’s all the more reason to make prayer a priority in our morning schedule. You might consider praying during the drive to school while you have a captive audience in your car. (Just remember to pray with your eyes open if you are driving!) Consider keeping a children’s devotional book in the glove compartment. The older kids can take turns reading the day’s devotional thought on the way to school before praying.
Pray for Students, Teachers, and Staff
Today’s school campuses come with security drills, lockdowns, police officers, metal detectors, and security systems. Some schools are considering arming their teachers.
Nationwide news of school violence frightens children and adults alike. In addition to physical violence there is the threat of spiritual danger. Christians should not be surprised that spiritual battles rage within the walls of our schools. As Paul explained in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
This spiritual struggle is a battle for our children’s minds and souls. We need to stand beside our kids and pray for them—and for those who work with them in schools. How can we send them off to school without calling on God’s protection, guidance, and provision? If we provide clothes, food, books, and supplies yet fail to cover them in prayer, we are falling short of what God calls us to do as parents and grandparents.
Not only are our children blessed by our prayers, but so are all those who work in the schools they attend.
Waiting lines often form in the afternoon when parents arrive to pick up their children from school. These are opportune times to lift up the needs of our children and their schools. Opportunities to volunteer in the public school abound, and they provide excellent opportunities to pray for specific teachers and needs. A lunch date with your child or grandchild in the school cafeteria, a holiday party, or a school program can double as a prayer time for the school.
Pray for Specific Needs
As we pray generally for the schools our children attend, we should also pray about specific events and situations. It builds our faith—and our children’s faith—when we see how God works in the specific circumstances we have prayed about.
Each school day brings its unique challenges. Perhaps your child is stressed over a test or project. Maybe she has had a disagreement with a friend. Your child may be dealing with a bully or a teacher who doesn’t seem to care. Instead of rushing in to try to solve our children’s problems for them, we can teach them to take their concerns to the Lord in prayer. Pray with them over the specific issue and encourage them to look for ways God may be helping them work through it. Then make sure to point out that we need to thank God for what he has done and is doing. The more we pray with our children, the more we will see God work. It will help the entire family to grow in faithfulness.
We can ask God to help specific teachers and administrators grow in their relationship with him, to stand strong in the faith, and to be faithful witnesses for Christ. When we hear of problem children or staff, we can pray for them to turn to the Lord. As issues about textbooks, lessons, movies, and literature surface, we can ask God to intervene and show us what we need to do. We can ask him to give us a Christlike attitude as we follow his leading.
The schools our children attend are like a large mission field. They contain a host of children, families, teachers, and staff who may or may not be believers—and we encounter them every day. They may not be getting any public prayer through our school systems, but we can stand in the gap and pray. Then we can watch and see how God answers!
Eva Juliuson is a freelance writer in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Creative Ways to Get Involved in Your Local Schools
1. Attend school board meetings to find out what’s going on around the district.
2. Bring snacks for the teachers or collect gift cards to encourage teachers during the holidays.
3. Attend sporting events, even if you don’t know the kids on the team.
4. Be a room mom/dad/family member.
5. Get your high school youth group involved helping elementary school kids.
6. Tutor, mentor, or be a reading buddy.
Moms in Prayer
Are you a mom who deeply loves her children and longs for them to grow up to be loving, confident, and successful? Do you fear that influences outside your control will steal their hearts? You are not alone.
Fern Nichols is a mom just like you. When her sons entered junior high, she had the same apprehensions. But overriding those fears was a deep trust that God, and only God, could protect and keep her children. Only God could change the lives of friends and coaches and teachers. She knew that if moms gathered together to pray for the needs and concerns of children and schools, that he would not only hear those prayers, but answer them.
Fern brought together like-minded moms who gathered each week to pray for their children and school, and thus began the first Moms in Touch group, now called Moms in Prayer. What started so simply in 1984 has grown into a worldwide community of praying moms in every state and in more than 140 countries around the world.
Moms in Prayer International is:
• Two or more women who meet regularly to pray for their children, their schools, their teachers and administrators.
• Mothers, grandmothers, or anyone who is willing to pray for a specific child and school.
• Moms who believe that prayer makes a difference.
• A nonprofit, donation-supported ministry in 140-plus countries.