School is back in. That means early morning alarm clocks, big yellow buses, #2 pencils, complicated syllabi, Friday night football, report cards, PTA, faculty meetings, ridiculous traffic in front of my house on Perrowville Road (AHHHH!!), and so much more.
Whether you have kids or grandkids in public school, private school, home school, graduate school, or trade school – we probably all know someone who is learning, growing, and being impacted by these institutions. Hence, prayer is in order for us all.
With that in mind, here’s a “Back to School Prayer” that you might use as a guide. Post this on your fridge. Stick it in your Bible. Read it from time to time as you pray.
Heavenly Father, Scripture tells us that “fools hate knowledge.” (Prov 1:22) Indeed, Lord, we know that, rightly understood, “all truth is Your truth.” We thank you that education is a common grace gift. Our world is a better place when men and women learn to read, write, add, and subtract. May this school year be used by You to awaken a love of learning in many. In the spirit of Jeremiah 29:7, help us “seek the welfare” of the schools and institutions where You have sent us. We “pray to the LORD on its behalf.”
For elementary students, we pray. May little minds be shaped in big ways as they learn basic ideas, skills, and truths. Grant grace to those with special needs. Help teachers be sensitive to each. We pray against bullying, abuse, and any form of hatred – for these are the spirit of antichrist. For children attending a new school, surround them with good friends. May playgrounds overflow with giggles, encouragement, sharing, and love.
For middle schoolers, we pray. Help these future men and women grow into themselves. For the anxiety that comes with changing classes, changing in locker rooms, and changing friend groups – grant peace. Help each student become studious. Instill a sense of value for learning. May lunch tables be adorned with laughter and joy. Keep them from reckless paths as they are exposed to foolish trappings. As they wrestle, many for the first time, with issues of meaning and identity – may their search for truth lead them to the Truth.
For high school students, we pray. May these years be fruitful, as they explore young adulthood. Help the Christian students pressure their peers towards love and good deeds. May they “be on guard so that they are not carried away by the error of immoral men and fall from their own steadfastness.” (2 Peter 3:17) Grant them discernment, we pray, to spot unbiblical worldviews, unhealthy values, and misleading assumptions. May they ask bold questions with deep respect. Give teenagers a desire to be industrious and a clear-headedness to match. Help those that are popular to leverage this blessing for others.
For those in college, we pray. May this season of new freedoms, new opportunities, and new temptations be navigated well. Help each learn the proper balance of responsibility and privilege. May their maturity exceed their biology. Help them grasp the value of hard work, discipline, and the reward of right priorities. As they think towards their future – may they seek out the advice of their parents, wise mentors, and ultimately You. For every ounce of ambition grant them two parts humility.
For teachers and professors, we pray. Help those in their first year to have confidence, patience, and recall. Help those in their last year to feel a sense of accomplishment. Help those in the middle years to see good fruit for their labors and sense a greater calling to do their job well. Help teaching assistants and student teachers: may You bless them as they seek to be a blessing to others.
For support staff, we pray. May bus drivers be alert, warm, and safe. May custodians be loving and loved. May coaches model healthy discipline, encourage honesty, foster accountability, and build character – win or lose. May school nurses tend to the sick with care. May substitute teachers be eager, shrewd, prepared, and beneficial.
For administration, we pray. Give principals and leaders a sense of modesty, unity, respect, and camaraderie. We ask, Lord, for those who serve on boards and in head offices to be honest, truthful, resilient, and caring. As they craft policies, approach problems, and cast vision – may they do it with excellence, insight, and patience. Provide the funds they need to spend and the wisdom to spend it well.
For men and women pursuing advanced degrees, we pray. Grant graduate students a sense of God-given purpose to propel them forward. Bless their research. May their contributions to science, business, economics, art, history, literature, medicine, music, and engineering advance human flourishing and promote the common good.
For Christian seminaries, specifically, we pray. May the orthodox ones be strengthened, may the unorthodox ones be reformed, and may the heretical ones be closed. May each classroom be a Great Commission classroom. We pray that there would be “a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility.” Help aspiring ministers learn of church history, of Bible backgrounds, of textual criticism, of counseling, of theology, of missionary endeavors, of ethics and philosophy. But we pray, Lord – more than anything else – that our seminary students would “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Help their professors to be men and women of integrity, faithful witnesses for Christ, active church members, and robust champions of the faith. May this sacred training be done with sober-mindedness.
For all, we pray. May this school year be marked by safety. Stop those who would prey on children. Thwart every evil purpose. Keep our community free from scandal. May every facet of education reinforce beauty, truth, goodness, and virtue for student and teacher alike. Instead of thinking as education as usual, may Your children think of education as worship. Help each one to love the Lord their God “with all their mind.”
Finally, Lord, for the gospel, kingdom, and glory of Christ, we pray. We know that, “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” (Prov 1:7) Use this school year to glorify Yourself. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…” In Jesus’ name, Amen.