September 2020 – Proverbs 4:13 says, “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.” As students, teachers and parents navigate the new reality of the School Year 2020-2021, there is untold pressure on each group. Students are trying to manage virtual learning without direct contact and personal instruction from their teachers. Other students are facing the new rules, routines and perhaps fears of in-person learning at school. Teachers are asked to find new and creative ways to impart learning on their students without benefit of their classroom and the ability to offer one-on-one mentoring to those who may be falling behind or struggling. Parents and grandparents are asked to step into a roll that is very unfamiliar to them and are trying to balance jobs, family and now being a home teaching assistant. Meanwhile, we are all trying to make sense of the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic and it’s intrusion into our lives. Everything has changed. Will it ever be the same as before?
So this is an opportunity for the people of God to spend needed time in prayer for all these concerns. I often hear people say, “Well, all I can do is pray” as if it was the least important and least helpful thing a person can contribute to any situation or crisis. But prayer is a powerful force in the life of a believer. God hears our prayers and petitions and brings change and healing! Psalm 107 speaks of the times when courage “melts away” in our calamity and we are at our wits’ end. Verses 28-30 encourage us – “they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress”. God hears our prayers and answers! So, with the gift of prayer we lift up all those who are making their way through this new territory that God will bless them and guide them.
For our students we pray for God’s blessing in their learning. For those who are learning in person we pray for safety and the absence of fear, for joy and good friends. For those learning at home we pray for patience and perseverance in their new environment. We pray that they will not feel alone or isolated and that they have joy and the support and encouragement they need to excel.
For our parents and grandparents we pray for calm and strength as they juggle many roles during this time. We pray for wisdom and patience through this wilderness when they cannot clearly see the way forward or what the future may hold. We pray that they may be given courage when they are afraid and fortitude when they feel weak and overwhelmed. We pray for joy in the midst of the storm knowing that they can entrust themselves and their children to your loving care. Bind families together in this season to have greater love and respect each other and to grow in their faith together.
And finally, for our teachers and school workers who are on the very front lines of this uncertain journey we offer this prayer on their behalf:
As countless teachers continue to prepare for a new school year ahead, grant them an abundance of Your wisdom. Prepare their hearts to welcome and love our loved ones, and may we make sure to show them love and respect in return. Give them grace as they help students who aren’t thriving, courage to say what needs to be said, tools and knowledge on how and when to speak love, and strength when they feel weak. When they feel unseen, remind them that no moment goes unnoticed. They are shaping the future in one million small – yet incredibly important – ways every day. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift of learning they share with our children. Bless them, Lord, and may they see even just a glimpse of how their faithfulness will forever impact generations to come. Amen.