[Editor’s Note: My wife, Katie (a teacher), and I collaborated on this post.]
The dawn of a new school year is often a time for complaining. Parents complain about the early start to the school year, the local school system, or the fact that their child got that teacher. And teachers may complain about education policy, increased responsibilities (without increased pay), or the fact that they got that child in their class.
Yet a new school year also means that thousands of Christians return to their classrooms to make a profound impact on children’s lives. This is a huge responsibility and privilege — and teachers need your prayers.
Please consider praying for the following:
1. Pray for teachers’ sanity.
Teachers carry the world on their shoulders. School systems, politicians, parents, and society in general place a lot of responsibility (and blame) on teachers. As a result, stress headaches, broken hearts, anxiety, sleepless nights, empty bank accounts, and tear-stained cheeks are part of a teacher’s normal week – particularly those teachers who truly want to make a difference.
So pray that teachers would remember that their work is in vain if God is not in it (Psalm 127:1-2). Pray that they would trust Christ and allow their hearts to rest. Pray that they would be sensitive to discern what really deserves their time in the chaotic day-to-day. And pray that God would show you how to ease the burden for a teacher in the trenches of their mission field.
2. Pray for teachers’ prayer lives.
Want prayer back in the schools? Actually, it never left. It is poured out every day by teachers, teacher assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, front office staff, volunteers, resource officers, parents, and students. It is just done silently.
Pray that school personnel would recognize opportunities to pray for the people around them – including coworkers, administrators, students, and families. You can even ask them for specific prayer requests, and lift up these requests along with them.
3. Pray for teachers’ wisdom.
Teachers cannot openly share the gospel in front of the class. It’s against the law. And while such laws are unpopular, they actually protect all students. Would you really want a non-Christian proselytizing your children away from Christianity? Or would you want an educator with no theological training to teach your kids the Bible? These laws protect the most vulnerable, and they leave room for the church to do its part in educating these children in the Word.
So pray that teachers would have wisdom and discernment when it comes to adhering to these laws. Pray for administrators and school leaders to show grace and set an example of humility when addressing issues that may arise related to faith in our schools.
4. Pray for teachers’ boldness.
You know the old saying “Share the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words”? That’s garbage. The gospel must be spoken. Smiles, fun, and Hallmark-style encouragement may provide momentary feelings of comfort, but they will not be enough to reveal Christ to any person. Nevertheless, that’s the extent of what Christian teachers can do in the classroom.
So pray that teachers would find favor with their students and their families. Pray that they would form relationships with their co-workers and their community so that they can share the gospel freely (outside of school).