“Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to You at a time that You may be found. When great floodwaters come, they will not reach him.” Psalm 32:8
When I was a child we started every day in elementary school with the Pledge of Allegiance, a Bible verse and a prayer for the day. I think this was after the ruling that removed prayer from public schools, but that didn’t bother us much in Belton back in the 1970s. Those days are past and prayers are not often practiced in our public schools. I hear people bemoaning the demise of prayer in school. They say, “Everything has gone downhill since prayer was removed from schools. We need to get prayer back into our schools.”
I’m not so certain that re-instituting a ritual prayer in our school days would turn the course of history back toward the Lord. But I do think prayer is the answer. We complain about our inability to pray in our schools while we pray too little in our churches, where we are free to pray. Prayer doesn’t have to take place in a school building to be effective.
What if those who love the Lord prayed faithfully for our schools in our churches and our homes? And while we pray outside the schools, I am confident that many administrators, teachers and students are praying quietly but powerfully on the inside.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the privilege of approaching your throne through prayer. While people may seek to limit where we can pray publicly, no person is able to stop us from the powerful privilege of bringing our every concern to you. And we come with all confidence that you are “the One who hears prayer” (Psalm 65:2).
So while we may not pray openly in our schools, we do pray confidently for our schools at the beginning of the year. Prayer is shut out but you are not shut out of any place. Your Spirit moves freely through the halls and in the classrooms of our school buildings. Therefore, we ask for your blessing upon our students, teachers and faculty. We pray that though unseen, your presence will be realized and your light will shine out brightly through the lives of those students, teachers and faculty who call on your name. May you give them special strength and wisdom to serve you well and spread your glory through their daily life and work.
We pray that the creeping evils that threaten our students would be thwarted. May our schools enjoy a safe and healthy environment for growth in knowledge, skill, and character that is pleasing to you. Give vision, wisdom, strength and grace to those who lead so that they may direct the affairs of the schools in accordance with your will. We ask these things thankfully and confidently in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Rev. Mark Kemp is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Copperas Cove.