Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Prayers to Start a New School Year

This week, as I walked into church on Sunday morning there was a very large table set up in the entryway. On the table were hundreds of clear plastic sandwich bags. In each bag were two items: a picture of a child, and a magnet bearing this phrase: "Please pray for me!"

The assignment was simple: each family in the church takes a baggie. Each child's picture goes on someone's refrigerator. The family prays for that particular child as he or she begins a new school year. That way, every child in the church is being prayed for specifically by someone.

I really love that! And what I love most is that many of us don't even know the child we are praying for. The church has a Spanish ministry and a Chinese ministry, and though we sometimes come together for fellowship they have their own worship services in their native languages. Shoot, even the fluently English-speaking among us don't all know each other because there are two morning services on Sunday! But there they were, all of our children, laid out on a table. One thing in common, and one goal for all of us: pray for these kids as they head back to school.

My family chose Kevin. I don't know Kevin or his family, but I wrote a prayer for him and you can see it below. We pray for him every day. And I know enough educators to know that it's not just the kids who need strength and encouragement to start a new year, so I've been borrowing Kevin's prayer for the teachers too.

So here's a fun exercise. I would like for every one of you who reads this post to find one person (or more, if you're feeling ambitious!) among your FB friends--a child going back to school, or a teacher trying to guide many--and say a prayer specifically for that person. You can borrow Kevin's prayer, or you can say your own. And feel free to share! Let's see what happens when we are intentional about putting this 2013-14 school  year in God's hands!

Heavenly Father,

As we begin yet another school year, I ask you to be with Kevin.

Starting school can be exciting, but it can also be pretty frightening. Whether it's a new teacher, a new school, new classmates, or new subjects to learn, there's a lot of the unknown to deal with. 

Please help Kevin not to worry about the unknown. Give him peace, and help him know that You are his navigator, and it's not unknown to You.

Please encourage Kevin, guide him to good friends and good influences, and give him strength to resist the bad ones. Help him to recognize the difference when that is a hard thing to do.

Please be with Kevin's teachers; may they lift him up and help him learn all of the things that he needs to, and may they instill in him a love for learning. Give them patience with him on his rough days. Give him patience with them on theirs.

Above all else, Lord, help Kevin know that You are there. Every step, every turn, every quiz and lesson and lunch break--You are there watching over him because You love him.

I ask these things in Your sweet Son's name,

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