Voices: How to pray for the first day of school this year

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For students, parents and teachers, this will be a school year unlike any other. In a time when people are quick to share their opinion and leap to judgment, believers should be quick to pray.

Praying for the first day

This year, there are children who will have their first day of kindergarten on Zoom. Their backpacks full of school supplies will spend weeks collecting dust in the corner of the bedroom. After months of talking to their parents about “when I get to go to school,” they’ll start the year learning from home. Believers should pray for those children.

This year, there are parents who will wonder whether they should bother taking a first-day-of school photo, who will leave their child’s first-day-of-school outfit hanging up in the closet with the tags still on, who will cry first-day-of-school tears that are far more bitter than sweet. Believers should pray for those parents.

This year, there are teachers who spent hours decorating classrooms that will remain vacant. They won’t meet their students in person for weeks—if they ever do—and they will only see the smiling faces of children on their computer screens. Believers should pray for those teachers.

Praying for every day

There are children who have spent all summer longing to play with friends, who don’t understand why the school playground is roped off. Those children feel isolated and alone, and believers should pray for these children.

There are parents who have become full-time tutors, having sacrificed their own pursuits to stay home with their children. They miss the routine and the freedom of pick-up and drop-off. They miss asking, “How was your day at school?” Believers should pray for those parents.

There are teachers who are learning on the fly. Their lesson plans are changing every day, and so are their teaching methods. They’re trying their best to understand what to do. Believers should pray for those teachers.

Praying for someday

There are children who are closer to college than kindergarten, whose visions of prom and graduation have become murky. There are parents whose calendars are devoid of recitals and football games, who don’t know what to look forward to right now. There are teachers who are pondering early retirement and wondering if this is all worth the hassle.

There are some who are disappointed and some who are excited. There are some who are angry and some who are hopeful. There are some who are afraid and some who are eager. What they all have in common is a longing for a normal year.

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Believers cannot give them that. But we can give them our prayers. And in Jesus’s name, we should.

Daniel Camp is the pastor of South Garland Baptist Church. This article is adapted from a Facebook post, which was shared by Pastors for Texas Children in a newsletter.

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