Once our children reach the age of entering school, they are under the control of the teachers for 1/3 of their day each day of school. The influence that that can have in moulding their life is incredible.
Our children are like open receptacles – ready to absorb information communicated verbally and nonverbally. Friendships at school can have a lasting impact – good or bad. Words spoken can encourage or pierce the soul.
Thus, our children’s education is not something we take lightly. It can be quite a topic of prayer even just selecting the most appropriate means of education for our children, then the school etc.
Our family home schools because when we were beginning to look at schooling options for our eldest, I clearly heard God’s voice telling me to home school. After a few years of home schooling, I clearly saw the reason why God wanted us to home school our two children. I again clearly heard God’s voice telling me to not stop home schooling two years ago when we were seeking God on what to do for the senior years of my daughter’s education. Home schooling is not for everyone though.
We, as parents, whether home schooling or not, play an important role in the schooling of our children. How we talk about the school and its leadership and teachers and support them, how we communicate with the school, how we challenge negatives, how we assist at the school etc, are all important. Most importantly, how we pray for the school and our children’s education is so vital.
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.
I encourage you to also actively involve your children in praying for their school and education. 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, friendships, which teachers your children have, words spoken over your children etc are all things that could be prayed about.
Ask God to show you not only what to pray for but also the creative methods of going about it. Brainstorm creative ways with your kids. Eg grab some leaves and write positive encouraging words on them that would be great values for the school yard. Visit the school grounds on a weekend and scatter those leaves around in the garden.
Several years ago, our church, Stairway, led a morning over the January school holidays for children and creative ways to pray for their school. There were some great ideas that the children were exposed to.
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 though 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.
Several years ago I realised that I needed 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 jotted down to get my children to talk to God included some of the following very simple ideas.
- Paint a prayer. Give them a blank sheet and get them to paint their prayer.
- Have a photo wall of the things you as a family are praying for.
- Have them write encouragement or thank you notes to people involved in their education.
- Find some small rocks and paint them with a word of someone/something they want to pray for. Similar thing could be done with blank ice-cream sticks by writing 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.
- Play a game using the scrabble board and tiles, making words of prayer requests.
- 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 and praying for what that colour represents.
- 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 home schooling, 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. Don’t forget to include your children in praying about their education as a home schooler. 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. 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 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.
I would love to hear how you and your family pray for your children’s education.