And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him…
Well, this is good news for us, especially us public school teachers! We can’t pray in front of our classes, and the bible tells us not to, so win-win! But friends, I think prayer is the most powerful tool we’ve got…so use it! I mean, praying must be a big deal, the bible talks about it A LOT. Just look at Jesus, one with God…even he escaped to pray! I mean, if anyone could just be near God while doing their thing, it would be Jesus! But Jesus left the crowds and got away. He needed to commune with God, to be filled up, to lay his burdens down. And if Jesus, who had a very busy schedule and his Father on speed dial made a point to get away and pray, than we better do it to. And as Christian teachers, we’ve got a lot to pray about!
You can read every classroom management book, blog, study you can get your hands on…but really prayer is what changes hearts, behaviors and attitudes. I can say with 100% certainty that the only reason I’m a good teacher is because I pray. And I pray a lot: for my students and lessons. I pray for favor and strong relationships. I pray for my classroom and school and fellow teachers. I pray for my administrators and school board and the big decisions they’re making. I pray for me…for patience and grace and peace when I’m surrounded by the craziness and the crazies. I pray for discernment and wisdom and to know the right thing to say and do. I pray for safety and protection to blanket our space and for his Spirit to wake up hearts.
Do you pray for your students by name? For their hurts and hearts and situations? Oh, they so desperately need it! They’ll never know…but your Father hears you. And prayer plants something in us too… I’ve found, every time, without fail, when I pray for the kid who is unlovable, who make my job really hard, who I’d rather he be in someone else’s class, my heart changes. It’s so weird, but when I pray for them I start to like them. And when I like my students, they usually like me back. And the kiddo that was unlovable, made my job hard, who I wished was on someone else’s attendance, more often than not, becomes a kid who I develop a great relationship with. And I’m positive that I can’t take credit for it. At all!
Teaching is too hard not to pray!
He replied, “This kind can only come out by prayer”.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter what we try: new seats, parent conferences, phone calls home, building relationships, behavior contracts, detentions. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what we give: encouragement, lunch money, a quiet place to escape at lunch, a kind word, a high five. Sometimes the only think we can do for our little darlings is pray. And if you’re a Christian teacher, praying for your students is part of your calling.
Who’s on your heart? Lift them up! What are the needs in your school? Bring them to Jesus! When was the last time you prayed for your administrator, supervisor, superintendent, school board members? This might be a good time to bathe them in prayer.
Also…I find having a prayer strategy helps me to be intentional about praying for my students. Some year’s I keep a class list on my fridge and I pray for them during breakfast (1st period on Monday, 2nd period on Tuesday, etc). Other years I commit to praying for students during my morning commute or while I’m entering their grades into the grade book. Before school starts in August, I like to sit in each and every chair and pray for the kiddo who will occupy that seat. Think about ways you can strategize praying for the precious ones in your care…and do it!