This week marks the return to school for most students in Arkansas, and it is a time of uncertainty and excitement for the young people who are connected to our churches. The biggest question is what can we do for them? How do we best support our students while they adjust to new teachers, new classes and new classmates?
We must pray. That can feel like a simple solution, but there is nothing simple about it. God clearly wants us to take our needs and concerns to Him. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (ESV).
Where do we start when it comes to praying for our students? Should we pray for safety or something else? Let me share a few things I think we should pray for as we look at our students as they head back to school:
• Pray for their souls. You may have students in your ministry who are not Christ-followers. As our children and teenagers step back into the classroom, many are hit with voices that will seek to distract them from accepting Jesus. Pray that God will cut through the noise and reach the lost students of our community.
• Pray for their witness. Your students had a variety of experiences over the summer. They may have been to camps and conferences. They may have given their lives to Christ and His ministry. Satan wants to derail the impact these young men and women could have. Pray that God will place a hedge of protection around them so they can be effective witnesses.
• Pray for their teachers. The adults in your students’ lives have a powerful impact. Their positive and negative words can bring life and death. Pray that God will provide the men and women your students need as they navigate school.
• Pray for their families. School brings a number of extra stressors to the family. Additional activities, extra expenses and new schedules are just a few of the difficulties families will encounter. Pray that God will bless them and provide the things they need.
We need to pray for our students because they need the supernatural influence only God can provide.