August 20, 2018
This week school starts for many schools in our part of Montana, and of course for schools all over the country now or in the near future. Any time that students return to school, our prayers should go with them. As we all know, school includes struggles, both academic and social. Kids need help to find both their individual skills and strengths and also their places in the world.
The subject of prayers in school continues to be a political issue in our country. It seems ironic to me that the decision to end compulsory prayers became a matter of ending all prayer. People of all ages should have the right to voluntary prayer at any appropriate time.
I think the issue runs deeper, however. As a former teacher, I have always been concerned about how much schools are expected to offer. I often felt that I needed to be counselor and even substitute parent when my actual obligation was to teach English.
The question shouldn’t be whether children are praying in school. The question should be whether they are praying at all. Are they attending church school of some kind and learning the basics of their faith? Are they being encouraged to pray at home, to turn to God with their needs and concerns, to look to Jesus for direction in their lives?
Children and teens who are grounded in their faith will pray, whether it is silently or with others, and they will know that their faith is not suspended when they walk through the doors of a school. If they confront issues or instruction in school which is contrary to their beliefs, they will discuss it with parents if those parents are available and open-minded. They also can discuss it with ministers or other faith mentors, as long as they are fortunate enough to have those people in their lives.
Society, including schools, can become more God centered only if individuals are God centered. Let’s spend some time in prayer for all students, that they may practice their faith and know God’s blessings throughout the years of their education.