Our kids were fortunate enough earlier this week to be involved in an amazing opportunity at our church, Stairway. They participated in a session on ‘praying for your school’. There were fifteen children who came along and were led in creative ways to pray for and encourage their local school. One of the creative things they did was to make prayer boxes where they decorated small boxes and then wrote the names of principals, teachers, friends, classmates, bullies, etc on slips of paper and folded these pieces and placed them in their box. They then picked a slip out of the box and asked God what He wanted them to pray for that person. They were encouraged to place the box somewhere in their home where they would see it on a regular basis and keep picking slips of paper out of it to pray for the people.
They also made bottles of ‘prayer dust’ (coloured sand) and were encouraged that although it doesn’t have any magical powers, they can use it to see where they sprinkle it to pray for the school buildings, grounds, atmosphere. A prophetic act that they also did was to write an encouragement letter or thank you to their principal.
They had a two hour jam packed program where they also did many other creative prayer activities. Parents, I can’t encourage you enough to make use of sessions like these if they are offered near you. They complement what you do at home. We homeschool and the leader had made it a very inclusive session so it was still very applicable to my kids.
It motivated me to start thinking about how important our children’s education is. It is not something to be taken lightly. We are just starting a new school year here in Australia and we, as parents, have an important role in the education of our children. Not everyone can or should or wants to homeschool. We are homeschooling because I clearly heard God’s voice telling me to do it and I haven’t heard different yet. I now also totally value having a say in my children’s education and how they most effectively learn.
If you are sending your child to a school, you can still play a very important role in praying for your child’s education and school. I encourage you to also actively involve your children. Look for creative ways of praying. Prayer changes so much, we would be remiss to not make the most of it. The attitude of teachers, student’s behaviour, the atmosphere, values of the school are all things that could be prayed about. Brainstorm creative ways with your kids. Eg grab some balloons and write positive encouraging words on them that would be great values for the school yard. Visit the school grounds on a weekend and release those balloons into the atmosphere. Ask God to show you not only what to pray for but also the creative methods of going about it.
I have been realising lately that I need to enlarge my children’s prayer life and that it is my responsibility, not something I can leave to the children’s ministry in the local church. Some creative ideas I have jotted down to get one of my children to talk to God about more than “apple (iPad/iMac) products” include some of the following very simple ideas.
1. Paint a prayer. Give them a blank sheet and get them to paint their prayer.
2. Have a photo wall of the things you as a family are praying for.
3. Have them write encouragement or thank you notes to people involved in their education.
4. Find some small rocks and paint them with a word of someone/something they want to pray for.
5. A similar thing could be done with blank icecream sticks -write in texta the name of people to pray for and put them in a cup. Daily take out a stick and pray for the person on it.
6. Play a game using the scrabble board and tiles, making words of prayer requests.
7. Grab a packet of ‘M & M’s’ and get them to identify categories for each colour eg teachers for all green ones, friends all yellow ones etc and have fun eating them together.
8. Encourage your kids to make up an origami chatterbox with different people or things they could pray for under the flaps.
I found a great blogpost about an idea of using coloured pencils from http://rachelwojo.com/school-prayer-tool/ Rachel gave categories to the different colours to help her kids pray for the school eg red = safety, orange = social, yellow = learning, green = growth, blue = peace, purple = creativity, brown = work ethic, black = wise choices and no confusion.
If you are a parent who spends time praying for their child’s school but are feeling alone in this venture, remember that your family can join you in it. You can include your children and you immediately have a team. Pray and ask God to highlight to you who else to ask to join you. God loves questions so keep asking Him.
If you are homeschooling, you already have control over a lot of things related to your child’s education. In other ways it can be a lot harder due to the pressure of knowing what is suitable material for your child, how much, methods etc etc. I have never included my children before in praying about their education but I have now started. There is power when you have several people praying together. Plus, you will discover amazing insights about your child and they will see answers to their prayers.
I love spiritual mapping and prophetic intercession. This is something you can do as a family and it is easy. Grab some pieces of paper. Write the major buildings, playgrounds etc of your school ground on different sheets. (If you homeschool, try it with the areas of your home & yard.) Spread them out on your lounge room floor roughly in position to each other in the real. Then each go to a sheet and stand on it and ask God to reveal His heart for that area of the school ground. Write on the sheet of paper what you sense, think, or feel. When you have finished standing on each piece of paper, read out what is on them. Brainstorm some encouraging acts you could do to release that feeling, sense etc into the atmosphere. An example is if there is an area of the playground where it is common to see bullying, a prophetic act you might consider doing one weekend in that part of the playground is taking a cake and, as a family, sharing it and eating it together in that place for something that signifies togetherness, unity, sharing, fun etc. Be creative. I find that my kids come up with far better ideas for prophetic acts than what I do so brainstorm all together.
School takes up a major part of your child’s day. Have you stopped to consider how best to use your time in the car of a morning if you drive them to school. I encourage you to spend a few minutes reassessing the way you do all the things before and after school. Create a blank slate and see if there are some new ideas or new ways of doing things that could make a huge difference to your child and their education.