FIRST-PERSON: Prayer in school
ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)--There is still power in fervent, effectual prayer in the public school. In spite of legal opinions or administrative pressure, a parent, teacher or student can have a robust, personal prayer ministry. Prayer is far from the "least" you can do for someone. It is the greatest privilege God has granted His children. The Bible says the prayers of the righteous benefit much.
Suppose for a moment you have a direct telephone line to the president of the United States and you have a close, personal relationship with Him. Then suppose you knew a child who was suffering and you thought the president's influence and power could eliminate the suffering. Wouldn't you call him?
Prayer is powerful because you are placing a need directly in the hands of the King of all kings. As you go through the halls of your school, pray for people. When you become aware of teachers or students experiencing problems at home, ask God to bring healing to their families. For people who are struggling spiritually, intercede for them asking God to give you an opportunity to be a verbal witness.
If you are a teacher, then, before class, take a few moments to prayerwalk your classroom, going to each desk, praying for each student by name. Pray for your students as they enter your classroom. Your time to pray for your students may be at night when you are grading their papers.
When you pray, ask God to open doors for you or your church to minister to the needs of students' families. You, of all adults, are aware that some of your students will share information with you they may never share with another adult.
Don't forget to be open to opportunities to pray for your co-workers, as well. I know of several teachers who regularly share prayer concerns, meeting before or after school to pray. Sometimes the teachers swap prayer requests during breaks or on the playground. At other times, the teachers share those needs through e-mails or in private conversations on social networking tools.
Parents, you can be mighty prayer warriors on behalf of both your student and his or her teachers. I know of one parent with a child in an elementary school who volunteered to read every few weeks in her child's classroom. As she entered the school, she prayed for the receptionist and the administrators. With her bright yellow visitor's pass on her blouse, she prayed for teachers and students as she walked down the halls.
However, her prayer ministry didn't stop there. While in the carpool line, she prayed for parents she saw. Every morning and evening, she prayed for the police officer who provided security for the school and for the safety of the students. While watching the children walking by with loaded backpacks, she prayed for their spiritual and physical needs.
Your work may not afford you the opportunity to walk the halls of your child's school, but you can pray during parent/child field trips or while attending special school activities or sports. You can even get a list of all the teachers and pray for a different one by name during your private prayer time.
The consistent practice of prayer by believers can have a tremendous impact on our schools. Prayer may not be a corporate activity allowed in your setting, but no one can hinder the silent, yet powerful, prayers of a student, teacher or parent from reaching the ears of our Heavenly Father.
Keith Manuel is an evangelism associate on the Louisiana Baptist Convention's evangelism & church growth team.