As I write this it’s the morning of the first day of school for the Bellingham School District. I know some of our students and teachers went back in August, and others won’t return ‘til later in September (I’m thinking especially of some of our college students, staff, and faculty). But this day is still a good one to take a moment to remember and pray for those who do the work of education in our community, both as learners and as teachers.
I hope you will consider taking a moment to pray for our educators and students today and consider making a practice of prayer for them in the months to come. This will be a challenging school year by any measure, and we don’t know how the effects of the current coronavirus surge will impact classrooms that are already thin on resources, and hosting teachers and students that carry stress in their minds, bodies, and hearts. Perhaps you want to choose an educator or student you know and regularly send them notes or texts of encouragement. Perhaps you want to offer a word of prayer when you travel by your neighborhood schools. Our tradition reminds us over and over that the work of education is sacred work. I’m sure there will be lots of ways to support our schools in the weeks and months to come, but prayer is a good starting place.
Here’s a prayer I shared with our youth and parents the other day, if you’d like some words for today:
God, may this school year be a time of learning and growth for all our students. We pray for the health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.
For students who are starting at new schools, or who are starting in-person at new schools: God, give them courage, community, and compassion for one another.
For students who are beginning their senior year: God, give them peace in the midst of big life decisions, and patience and hope during a year that may seem both too long and too short.
God, we pray for students with learning challenges, that they would have all the resources and support they need, and that their teachers and staff would respond to challenges with creativity and persistence.
God, we pray for our teachers, that they would have moments for rest in the midst of a stressful time, moments for meaningful connection in the midst of challenge, and moments for their own learning in the midst of the service of teaching.
God, we pray for administrators, staff, school boards, and all the other caring hearts who make our schools run, that they may know their own beloved-ness and come to their work with joy and kindness.
And God, for our parents, we pray, that they would find comfort in this season of hard decisions, and that they would find ways to bless the students in their life while they attend to their own work, rest, and renewal.
God, in this season when so much seems impossible, we pray that you will bring us all new visions of what is possible. Thank you for the gift of our students, our teachers, and all who participate in the great ministry of education. Please God, continue to teach us all, so that we could continue to grow in love.
In your many names we pray,