6 Things to Pray For as Your Kids Go Back To School

508776878-54f946fd58b0156ff7408f4e83d39bebOne event, two (of many) possible perspectives:

The first: you celebrate the first day of school like your kids celebrate the last. With any luck, you just might be able to take that one flickering spark of sanity that you have left and fan it back into flame. And your kids—who currently identify you as something like the mean troll under the bridge who jealously guards the enchanted Land of Fun—might even come to appreciate you again in time.

The second: the first day of school looms for you like tax day. Or root canal day. Or “I have to call the cable company and then go the DMV” day. All the fun and flexibility of summer now must now give way to a regimented boot camp of alarm clocks, lunch boxes, and homework assignments.

Maybe you fit in one of those camps. Maybe you fit in both depending on the day (…or minute). Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about. But whatever the case may be, one thing remains the same: the start of school means you’re sending your children into a situation bursting with learning experiences and relationships—and therefore a lot of opportunities and challenges along the way. With that in mind, here are a few things to pray for your kids now and throughout the school year:

1. For their learning.

This is such an obvious goal we might forget to pray for it. But of course we should want our kids to acquire knowledge and skills that will help them to become responsible and productive adults. That’s good for them, their future families, and society as a whole. So we can pray that God would give our kids the grace to learn.

2. For their teachers and administrators.

Every time I eat lunch with my kids at school I marvel at anyone who can surround themselves with dozens of children all day long. Just…wow. And that’s an encouragement to pray for our kids’ teachers and administrators, that they would have the patience, energy, passion, etc., to teach our kids well day after day.

3. For their protection and discernment.

Of course we want our kids to be safe on the playground (if they’re young), driving to school (if they’re older), and so on. But we can also pray that God would protect them in the countless situations they’ll face involving relationships, moral choices, time priorities, etc. We can pray that God would give them discernment to navigate those things wisely (and the ability to learn from the times when they don’t). Likewise, increasing knowledge is one thing. Integrating and using that knowledge appropriately is another. We can pray that God would help kids connect the dots in a way consistent with God’s reality.

4. For their hearts.

This is closely tied with the previous point. But at the end of the day, I want my kids school experiences to help foster a deeper love for and trust in Jesus. How can biology or literature or calculus do that? Maybe that’s a subject to flesh out another time, but suffice it to say that God can do this in a thousand ways. So I want to ask him to.

5. For their relationship with you.

I know, I know. It’s not like we as parents have it all together. I know I act like BoBo the clown far too often. But the fact is that we’re usually a bit further down the road than our kids. So I want my kids to share with mom and dad not only their joys and victories, but also their challenges, questions, disappointments, and defeats. I want them to trust us enough to help them navigate all those situations in a way that will contribute to their good and God’s glory.

6. For their impact on others.

Jesus tells his followers that we’re supposed to be “salt” and “light” to those around us, which involves living out the gospel, drawing others to it, and ultimately glorifying God himself (see Mat. 5:13-16). Again, there are countless ways this can happen. And Jesus nowhere says that the process should only involve adults!

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