Back to School

This has been a busy summer for me, as I bet it has been for most, especially parents whose children have been set loose from school for the last few weeks or even months. Around here, school is beginning, which means loads of school supplies are being rounded up, lunches are being prepared, and parents are waiting for that blessed moment when their children step onto that school bus and begin a new year of education.

There is one group, however, that I always find on my heart at this time of year: teachers. As a former teacher myself, I know how exciting and stressful this time of the year can be. I also know that with each new year and each new educational law or regulation passed in the US, American teachers take on more and more responsibility. It is a terribly heavy weight to bear, the shaping of both minds and lives, but one that teachers feel called to do day after day.

So, with those amazing people who care for our country’s children every day in mind, I would like to offer a prayer. I found this prayer in an article from Dayspring.com and thought it was beautiful, so I adapted it a bit for this post:

Dear God,

As countless teachers begin the new school year, grant them an abundance of Your wisdom. Prepare their hearts to welcome and love the young souls that fill their classrooms, and may we make sure to show them love and respect in return. Give them grace as they help students who aren’t thriving, courage to say what needs to be said, tools and knowledge on how and when to speak love, and strength when they feel weak. When they feel unseen, remind them that no moment goes unnoticed. They are shaping the future in one million small – yet incredibly important – ways every day. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift of learning they share with our children. Bless them, Lord, and may they see even just a glimpse of how their faithfulness will forever impact generations to come. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

The article mentioned above also included some beautiful verses to act as reminders:

If you are a teacher, hold onto 1 Corinthians 15:58 and James 1:5 throughout those days ahead:

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. (1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT)
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. (James 1:5 NLT)

If you are a student, make it your aim to never lose sight of Proverbs 4:13:

Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.
Guard them, for they are the key to life. (Proverbs 4:13 NLT)

Remember that teachers have an extremely important job to do, and they do it whole-heartedly, every day, despite the things that might be happening in their lives outside the classroom. Keep them in your prayers and be understanding in your dealings with them. They are a blessing to us all!

Hope you’ve had a beautiful, blessed summer!

Effective Prayer

This Thursday, May 3rd, is the National Day of Prayer, a day when Christians from all over our vast nation gather in churches, small groups, schools, homes, or go out on their own to pray specifically for the United States of America. This year’s theme is “Unity,” and the foundational scripture is Ephesians 4:3, “Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (You can learn more about this event at their website.)

While the National Day of Prayer is special to many, every Sunday at Colona Community Church is a special day of prayer for us. We set aside time in every normal Sunday service for “Praise and Prayer Time.” It is during these moments each week that members of the congregation can share their joys and burdens with each other, so that we can rejoice alongside and pray for one another. It is a privilege that our small congregation cherishes.

Prayer is so important to and such a blessing for those who believe. Taking our requests to God is a privilege for believers that Christ paid for with His death on the cross. It was then that the veil separating the Church from the Holy of Holies was torn, granting us direct access to the throne of God. Now we can take our hearts right to God, and He will hear our requests.

Does that mean that God will give you that new sports car you’ve always wanted or the big house on the shore of a beautiful lake that you dream of? No. Sorry to say, but that’s not what God means when He says, “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours” (Mark 11:24, NLT).

Note that John 15:7 says it even more succinctly: “But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” (NLT). There’s the key: remaining (or the old KJV word abiding) in Christ, planting His words in your heart, growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. As Rick Renner wrote: “Jesus knew that if His words take up permanent residency in your heart and mind, you will never ask for something that is out of line with His will for your life. His Word will so transform your mind that your prayers will always be in accordance with what He has already said.”

So as we work out our salvation (Philippians 2:13-14), as we draw nearer to God (James 4:8), as we abide in Him (John 15:7), our prayers become more effective, because we are praying His will (Matthew 6:10), we are seeking Him first (Luke 12:31).

If we want America to be “great again,” if we desire for our nation to turn back to God, it must begin with each individual believer feeding on the Word, filling our hearts and minds with its Truth, abiding in Him, so that our prayers may become even more powerful and effective, and we can spread our joy and peace and hope and love to all those around us.

I do hope that you will join me and countless others this Thursday as we pray for the U.S.A. and all who live, work, and play here. May God bless America again!

And if you have a burden that you’d like the fellowship of Colona Community Church to be praying for, please click on our “Prayer Requests” page and send us a message. We will be honored to take it to the throne for you and come alongside you in your time of need. God bless you today and always!