Children today live in a different world than adults knew.
Along with buying school clothes like their peers and getting the latest haircut to start school, they have more serious concerns. Violent acts in schools happen all too frequently.
Today many schools require mesh or see-through backpacks and have metal detectors, security cameras, locked doors, uniformed policemen and safety drills.
“Our congregations want to make an investment in the lives of our students and teachers,” noted Randy Kellough, pastor of Woodland Baptist Church in Brownsville, Tennessee. “They are concerned about the overall well-being, as well as the violent acts committed against schools.
“We must remember, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline,’” he said, quoting Proverbs 1:7. “Parents need to have confidence their children are protected.”
Baptist churches have always been at the forefront of addressing social concerns and now is the time for action.
Children need congregations to make praying for schools a priority. Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them.”
How can churches make a difference? First, they must pray.
- Schedule a churchwide prayer service.
- Appoint a time for Sunday School classes to gather and pray.
- Assemble in homes to pray for schools. Include individual daily prayers.
- If you drive by a school, pray God will keep students safe and in His care.
Schools have numerous needs, but here are 10 suggested ways to pray:
- Pray for the safety of children, students, teachers and staff since school shootings have become so common. May we never become so acclimated to violence that we don’t see the tragedy and how families’ lives are affected forever.
- Pray for dedicated teachers who see each child as a success. Benjamin Franklin is known to have said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
- Pray each child will be seen as an individual loved by God. When we work together, differences can make us strong.
- Pray students will embrace racial and cultural distinctions. In addition to racial and ethnic diversity, many schools have immigrants who have moved to the U.S. for various reasons. Imagine the difficulty of being in a strange place where you cannot speak the language and everything is new and different.
- Pray students will show compassion and kindness to people with disabilities. Pray students will help others who need companionship.
- Pray children will learn how to make friends and how to be a friend to others.
- Pray for off-campus trips — that bus drivers will be experienced and competent.
- Pray for students and leaders who participate in extracurricular activities sponsored by the school.
- Pray for parents and the community to support schools through volunteering, attending school functions or offering encouragement to teachers and staff. Churches could adopt a school, or Sunday school classes can adopt a classroom, providing needed supplies and materials.
- Look for opportunities to let others know how church members are praying for schools.