For some parents, [back-to-school] is the most wonderful time of the year. For others, it is filled with sadness as they watch their kids head back to school. Whether your child is starting their first year of Kindergarten or their final year of post-secondary, you have probably had a lot on your mind the last few weeks. We rush to make sure we have bought all the right school supplies, made sure the shoes still fit, and are buying groceries so we can pack lunches once again. mark[ed] the 19th back to school routine in our home. Three of our four children are now in post secondary school as our daughter begins her journey in Nursing. In all of the chaos involved with preparing for our kids to go back to school, there has been one activity that has become the most important activity for me as a father: prayer.
People will often talk about prayer as though it is the last resort. We will say, “the only thing I can do is pray.” Prayer is not our last resort, it is our best response. Why? Because prayer is where I bring God into the life and education of my child. Is there a greater gift I could give to them? I don’t think so.
Here are some ways you can pray for your child as they head back to school:
1. Prayer Walk Their School
Go to their school and walk around it before the year begins. As you walk around the school, take the time to pray for God’s blessing and protection on your child and everyone else who will be part of that school. There is something powerful about seeing what you are praying for.
2. Pray for Their Minds
Ask God to help their minds to grow and learn well. Also ask him to guard their minds and help them discern the difference between truth and error they may be taught.
3. Pray for Their Success
I know, that may sound weird to some of you. But success may not just be grades. It can be success in growing more as a person or in finding direction for their life. God knows what success looks like for your child, so ask Him to give them success.
4. Pray for Their Friendships
Their friendships will significantly shape their life. Pray for God to give them great, supportive, faithful friends. Pray for the gift of Christian friends in their life so they can support each other in faith.
5. Pray for Their Teachers
Pray for God to bless and protect the teachers who will influence your children throughout the year.
6. Pray for Their Impact
Your child is in that school for more than an education. God is placing them there to be a life giving ambassador of Jesus Christ. Whether it is through some large initiative or through being an encouragement to a friend, pray for your child to positively make a difference in the life of that school.
7. Pray for Their Character
School will test various elements of your child’s character. They may need to learn greater discipline in their life, the courage to speak out on an issue, or even the humility to admit they aren’t perfect. Pray for the development of godly character in their life throughout the school year.
Please don’t just pray for your children in private. Take some time with each one of your children – personally – and pray for them so they can hear you. They need to hear your heart for them. They also need to know God is with them and for them as they return to school.
God is ready to work in your child and their school this coming year. Trust Him.
For more thoughts on being a great dad in the various stages of life, check out my book The Seasons of Fatherhood.