Backpacks and schedules and supply lists, oh my! If your home is anything like mine, it's full of the hustle and bustle of the week before school. As we try to cling to our last few moments of summer, there's a bittersweetness to this week: we know that the fun nights, late mornings, jammy days, traveling adventures, sun-kissed faces and sandy toes will soon be the things of another season gone by. And then there's that pesky "To Do" list.
Thoughts of: how are we going to maintain this busy season between church, school, sports, theater, friends, family, homework, etc.? Whose class will my kid be put in? How will my child cope with the challenges of their next level of learning? Did I do enough during the summer to keep their brains "awake?" Where's that math packet they gave out at the end of last year? Is one week enough time to complete it before school starts? Maybe I can have them squeeze in finishing a book this week too? Is "Don Quixote" too much? On which board did I pin that suggested summer reading list? Oh no! I forgot to pick-up that chalkboard from Hobby Lobby to use as a prop for their First Day of School Pics! I wonder if I can find it on Prime? When are we going to squeeze in that last item on their Summer To Do List??
And on, and on, and on, and on, our Mom-brains kick-into Red Alert: School Countdown. But with the never-ending "To Do" lists and the juggling act that this time of year brings, I fear that we are missing a critical opportunity to come alongside our kids as they may be wrestling with some similar "Red Alerts" going off in their own brains. Even though we are doing everything "for them" and "their needs," are we neglecting their most crucial need of all and our highest calling as moms? Are we so caught up in preparing all the things for the new school year that we forget to prepare our kids' souls for the new school year?
A fantastic way to begin preparing them for the next school year is to pray with them. Praying with our kids is such great theological training and offers us a wonderful way to direct their little hearts. First, praying with our kids allows us to teach them how to pray. This may seem like an obvious statement but let me explain what I mean. When I say "pray with your kids," I mean for YOU to lead them in prayer. The majority of the praying should come from your mouth. Just as Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, ("Pray then like this..." Matthew 6:9) we too need to teach our children how to pray. Our children need to see the attitude with which we approach the God of the universe as well as the way we handle presenting our requests before him. And they need to hear our praises to God just as much as our requests, so they can see just how very much we have to be thankful for.
Second, praying with our kids shows them through example how dependent we are on the Lord. When our kids hear their mommy (or daddy) present their praises and requests before God, it's a great opportunity for us to live out John 15:5 for them.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
Third, praying with our kids will provide great opportunities to teach them how to trust the Lord. I know of so many girlfriends who are already spending time praying about whose class their kid will end up in...bring your child into these prayer times with you! When your child gets to see the direct answers to your prayers (even if the answer is "no," on second thought, ESPECIALLY if the answer is "no") it provides us a fantastic teaching moment to remind our kids about the sovereignty and wisdom of God.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
So all that to say, spend time these last few days leading up to the school year to get your and your kids' hearts and minds ready for a new school year. Below I have made a list of purposeful prayers to pray through with your kids. My kids and I are working our way through this same list. If you've already started school, that's ok! Just make some adaptations to this list and spend the next 7 days in prayer, with your kids, for this next school year. Be purposeful to pray for the things that will matter 100 years from now - big picture things!
I'm sure it will be difficult to fight for protection of these times of prayer (I know it's something I have to fight vigorously to protect in my home) but just as a warrior trains and prepares for battle, so must we prepare ourselves and our children for this next season. Pray offensively at the start of the school year and watch the way God shows you his glory in the year to come.
Back to School Prayer Countdown
7 Days Until School - Praise God for creating your child and for granting you the privilege of raising him or her.
6 Days Until School - Thank God for the opportunity your student has to go to school and receive an education. Thank God for specific things about the school your student attends.
5 Days Until School - Affirm that God is sovereign and wise in all his ways. Present your requests to him for which classroom your student will be placed in, but end your prayer with the important phrase, "Not my will, but yours be done." Pray for the teacher and classmates your student will spend the year with and that it will be a great learning environment and productive year.
4 Days Until School - Ask God for protection this school year. Pray for your child's school's protection, for your child individually to be protected from any harm intended for him or her, and for your home to always be a safe place for your family to gather back together at the end of the day.
3 Days Until School - Ask God to help you be a diligent, loving, patient and wise parent this next school year. Confess your need for God to grant you wisdom and guide you as you parent your child(ren).
2 Days Until School - Ask God to grow your child in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man this year (Luke 2:52). Ask God to help your child understand deeper truths about who he is and his word, the Bible.
1 Day Until School - Pray for opportunities to meet other moms and dads in your child's class, in order that you might share the gospel with them and invite them to church.