God, as we begin the school year we bring the heaviness of the past few years before you. We lay it at your feet and we let it go. We ask for a refreshing wind of your spirit to blow through the hearts of all who serve your children. Help us to see them as you do. Help us not to be distracted by outside voices who place blame for every evil on our shoulders. Help us not to be scared for our safety as we enter the doors of learning. Help us not to be burdened by all the requirements laid upon our shoulders by others. We lay all of this down. We remove it from our minds and trust you to remove the wounds of it all from our hearts. We put resentment aside. We put discouragement away. We banish weariness and embrace fresh renewed energy that the new year always brings. Open our hearts to receive this new vitality and give us the ability to release the negativity that chases us everywhere we go.
Instead fill our thoughts with creative ways to reach every child. We use the gifts you have given us to identify strengths and weaknesses, and to teach in a way that is uplifting and meets each need. We lean on you to help us pour knowledge into children that will create better people, not just meet some standard. We choose to love kids. It is our calling. It is our lives’ work. That is all. We want to love them like you love us. Help us to simplify everything we do to that task. Give us your eyes to see each student as you see them. Give us ears to hear what they are saying. Give us the right words to speak to them as people, not just lessons, but heartfelt care for them.
Help our students to feel valued. Help them to know they are important in the world. Help them to see themselves as worthy. Free them from fear. Free them of insecurities. Free their minds of all the craziness of the past few years. Let them feel free to be kids again. Kids who love to play. Kids who love to care for others. Kids who have friends. Surround the lonely ones with people who will reach out to them and include them. Surround the struggling ones with people who will help them find their way. Give them the tools they need to keep moving forward. We pray for those who feel stuck or unable to go on, give them confidence to take the steps they need to take to get the help they need.
Help the counselors and administrators who discern the needs of these kids. Give them wisdom and compassion. Give them your grace. Give them the ability to know the best course of action and the courage to follow it. We ask for creative solutions. We ask for deep heart connection. We ask for students to feel they are safe, not only physically, but emotionally as well. Show us how to have the ability to give them the gift of safety.
We pray for parents to have the trust in us. We pray they will know we have the best interests of their children in our hearts. Remind them we are parents too. That we do not conspire to take their children away from them, but rather encourage them to be respectful and responsible people. We love their children and want to work with parents not against them. Help them to know we are all working towards the same goal, helping them become good citizens and even better people. Give the parents wisdom. Give them eyes to see what a gift their kids are. Give them energy to keep up with them and down time to refresh their spirits. Give them the ability to discern what their kids need. Help them to listen with an open heart and love with open arms. Help them to focus on their kids individually and give them the words each one needs to build them up. Help them to discipline with fairness and compassion. Give them eyes to see what their kids need at home. How they can help them outside of school to learn the teachable skills of respect, responsibility, perseverance, diligence, how to work, how to play, how to have fun in healthy ways and how to interact as a family. Parenting is a big job and God, you show us all how to love our kids. Help parents to know we are aware of how hard it is, and that we are working with them to grow healthy kids.
We pray for all the leaders. From top to bottom. Give them blinders to block all the outside influences. Help them to have laser focus on children and their needs. Do not allow them to get distracted by the swirling vortex of our culture. Help them to remain true to the call of educators; to teach, to inspire, to care and to love kids. To love like you love. To forgive grudges. To let go of bitterness. To pour out and nurture. To create fun. To uplift. To build confidence. To educate the whole child.
We love you. We serve you as we serve these students. Give us grace for this new year.