My favorite quote on prayer comes from Thomas Lye. He said, “I had rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.” His point is obvious. Christian prayer is a powerful tool.
James says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and Heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit” (James 5:16b-18).
The prayers of righteous people are powerful. Not only is prayer powerful, but prayer is the most accessible way to participate in God’s work. One doesn’t need to be a teacher, bus driver, principal, or student to participate in the work that God is doing within our schools. All we need is access to God.
Therefore Christian, with the power of prayer in mind and the work of God at hand, let us consider four ways that we can pray for the upcoming school year.
Pray for Wisdom
First, let us pray for wisdom. Knowledge is important, but wisdom is needed to act rightly upon that knowledge. Knowledge can be learned from textbooks and training, but wisdom is a gift from God. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
As you bow your head in prayer during the coming months, pray for our school staff to receive wisdom to make right decisions, handle difficult situations, and give our students the best possible education.
Moreover, pray for the students to receive the wisdom that they too would make good decisions, develop healthy relationships, focus on what’s important, and rightly use the knowledge that they gain for their growth as individuals.
Pray for safety and security
Second, let us pray for safety and security. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield…” A shield is used as armor and defense. It also serves as an Old Testament image to God’s protection.
In fact, to be under God’s shield is to have the greatest protection, the greatest armor, and the greatest defense.
Now, more than ever, Christians must pray that God would put a hedge of protection around each school in our community. Let us pray that he would serve as the shield of every student, every teacher, every cook, every custodian, every parent, and more.
Pray for perseverance
Third, let us pray for perseverance. God created each of us to work hard. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” In the beginning, work wasn’t intended to be so difficult. However, because of sin, work has become drudgery.
Being married to a teacher myself, I know that teaching can become overwhelming and exhausting.
And while students are excited for their first week of school, in a short time it will become more difficult for them to persevere in their studies. Therefore, let us make it a point to pray throughout the school year that God would grant them a spirit of perseverance, that teachers would work diligently to teach and students would work diligently to learn.
Pray for salvation
Fourth and finally, let us pray for salvation. In Romans 9, Paul writes about Israel’s unbelief and then he says in Romans 10:1, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.”
While we certainly need to pray for wisdom, while we certainly need to pray for safety and security, and while we certainly need to pray for perseverance, faith in Jesus Christ is what our students and school staff need the most. While we are thankful that there will be many Christians who roam the halls of our local schools, we admit that there are many who don’t believe. In fact, there may be some who are hostile to the faith. Let us then pray that those Christians, staff or students, would be a positive witness to Christ Jesus.
May we also pray that hearts will be softened and that those who hear the Gospel message will believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
There are many ways that we can pray for the upcoming school year. Yet, this short list gives us a starting point.
Let us approach the throne of grace with 1 John 5:14 in mind, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” Christian, have confidence as you pray for our schools.
Landon Copley is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Olive Hill and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at FBC Olive Hill at (606) 286-4191.