By Betsy St. Amant Haddox, Crosswalk.com
Going back to school each fall brings a load of rollercoaster-type emotions for parents, kids, and teachers alike.
Often, younger children feel nervous about meeting new friends, wondering whether their teacher will be too strict, and if they’ll be called on in front of everyone to answer a question. They hope they’ll be matched with a friend as a desk partner in the classroom and worry that they won’t be invited to their classmate’s birthday parties or have anyone to play with at recess.
Meanwhile, teenagers struggle with wondering if they’ll have what it takes to make their favorite sports team, whether they’ll be asked to the first school dance, and worry over how in the world they’re going to be able to focus on maintaining good grades when they’re in the midst of navigating friendship drama and fragile dating relationships.
At the same time, parents are dealing with their own emotions over being grateful to be back in a steady routine but feeling somewhat nostalgic and missing the extended time summer provided for the family to bond. Just like their children, they’re mourning the lost freedom that allowed the kids to stay up late barbecuing, swimming, and watching movies.
Teachers are also feeling the full gamut of emotions. Not only are they often parents of school-aged children themselves, but they’re also feeling the pressure of starting a fresh school year off strong and making sure their classroom is a safe and comfortable environment—all while walking out their own anxieties.
This sudden life we’re living post-COVID-19 has added an entirely new level of concern to all involved regarding fear, procedures, and protocol. It’s certainly understandable to feel all the things! That’s why I’m so grateful that we have a Heavenly Father we can approach with confidence. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:16 NLT).
We are not alone in the new school year—not as students, parents, or teachers. God promises in Proverbs 4:11 that He will instruct us in the way of wisdom and lead us along straight paths. That’s true for all of us, regardless of our individual roles or concerns. As believers, our ultimate Teacher is the Holy Spirit. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26 ESV).
Whether you’re homeschooling, sending your kids to public school or private school, or have a kiddo heading off to college for the first time, there’s reason to pray—and reason to remember that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
Here are five prayers to pray this Back-to-School season.
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A Prayer Over Kids
We thank you that as your children, we can call you Abba. We praise you for being Father to us. We know that you have good plans for our kids, and we ask that this school year, you wrap them in your arms and bring them comfort and security. We ask that you ban all anxiety, and in its place, unleash a desire to learn, to grow, and to mature. Give our kids peace and joy and excitement during their school day. Help them to absorb the information taught and retain it for the future. We ask that lifelong friendships are formed, that learning becomes fun, and that knowledge is obtained in all the ways that will bring You glory.
A Prayer Over Teens
Being a teenager in today’s world is hard. We ask right now that you fill the teens going back to school this year with grace, mercy, and strength. We ask that you give them everything they need to succeed in ways that glorify Your name. Help them not to be so inner-focused that they miss the joy and blessing of serving someone else. Help them manage their time well. When they’re stressed, help them to remember to breathe and turn their eyes to You, the Prince of Peace. When they have discord in their relationships, equip them with wisdom and discernment. Let them be quick to listen and slow to speak. Help them respect their teachers and strive to do their best—but protect them from the pitfalls of peer pressure and performance. Let them rest in the knowledge that they are Your child, and that they are loved regardless of their grades or ability on the field.
In Jesus’ name,
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A Prayer Over Parents
We ask right now that this school year, you’ll give parents everything they need to be the best support they can be for their children. If the parent is homeschooling, Lord, please give them the time, energy, and patience needed to lead their kids well. And if their kids are going away to school, then we ask that you equip them to encourage, support, and come alongside the teachers in a way that benefits everyone. We ask that you strengthen parent/child relationships this school year, and that the stress of homework and busy schedules won’t create a divide of short tempers and irritation, but rather that you’ll overcome with the fruits of the Spirit. Fill each home and family with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. We ask that you bless them.
In Jesus’ name,
A Prayer Over Teachers
We ask that you equip our teachers this year with everything they need—and that list is long! Being a teacher has always been a high-stress, incredibly important and often under-valued job, and in recent years, even more so. So, we ask this school year that you bless our teachers in special ways. Let them feel supported and held. Let them feel encouraged and equipped. Give them confidence. Give them wisdom. Help them as they navigate not only the educational needs of their many students, but their spiritual and emotional needs as well. Give them a listening ear, a long fuse, and energy for the tasks before them. Teachers make such a difference in the lives of students every day, so Lord, please help them to feel appreciated, loved, and motivated to continue through the mundane tasks they face in their daily schedules. Put a burden on the hearts of our teachers’ students and parents to pray for them regularly throughout the year so they never feel alone.
Bless them, Lord, for Your glory.
A Prayer for Health & Safety
The world can be a scary place at times. Parents often struggle with fear and anxieties as they drive away from the school after dropping of their student. Likewise, teachers and students feel the weight of the “what-if’s” all day. So, we ask that you provide a blanket of peace and security this school year over our parents, teachers, and students. We ask for protection and safety for them all. Keep our children, their families, and the school staff safe from the various dangers of this world. At the same time, we ask that you guard their minds and hearts from unnecessary fear and worry. We also ask for good health for all involved. Despite the differences in viewpoints of COVID-19, Lord, we all agree that we want our children healthy and safe. Please protect our students, families, teachers, and school staff from illness. Give those in charge wisdom and clarity on what precautions to take while maintaining an environment suitable to learning. We ask that you give everyone calm heads and calm hearts in the face of any potential emergency and provide everything needed to navigate those situations well.
In Jesus’ name,
This article is part of our larger Prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
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