Pray with us for our schools, educators, and students this year.

Dear God, We come before you today, Lord, with humble hearts. A new school year is beginning. Our children are at the forefront of our thoughts and plans for the coming year. In our feeble and human way, we have great visions and plans for them. However, we know that as our Father, you want the best for us as your children even more than we want what is best for our children.  (Luke 11:13 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” ) 

Father, we bow before you in prayer today and will continue in the coming days with some big requests. However, You tell us in Matthew 7:7 that we should ask, seek, and knock. So we are asking for Your guidance and seeking Your direction and knocking at the doors You’ve placed in front of us. Guide us through those that will lead us closer to You. Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Your Son, You have made a way for us to come boldly before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), and so here we are to thank You for that opportunity and to pray specifically for this new school year and the people and circumstances in our lives that will influence the next several months. You tell us in your Word that if we ask anything in Your name, you will give it. (John 14:14) You clearly outline in Scripture those things that are Your will for us, and so we pray Your words back to you, Father, in faith believing that these are the things that You want for us.

Ezra 7:10 tell us “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” As Ezra prepared his heart, we start today by praying for a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within us. (Psalm 51:10) Before we ask for anyone else, we ask this for ourselves. A new year is a new slate. New beginnings and new opportunities. Forgive us where we have failed in the past. Forgive us when we haven’t made the right decisions and haven’t fostered the right habits. Prepare our hearts for this new year with a right spirit. A spirit of love and peace, compassion and caring one for another.   A spirit that is modeled after Your own.

1. WISDOM – As we face a new year and the beginning of many choices to be made, remind us that we don’t know it all and we don’t have all of the answers. We want to take time to seek your guidance when we are faced with decisions every day. Whether those decisions are seemingly inconsequential or whether they are life and death decisions, you have promised to give wisdom if we ask. And so we pray for wisdom for every decision, both great and small. We pray for decisions that we make, decisions that our children will make, and decisions that others will make that impact our children and families. You have promised to give that wisdom liberally and generously. We thank you for the wisdom You will give this coming year. James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him”.

2. LEADERSHIP – We pray for guidance and direction in the appointment and hiring of new staff and leadership. We pray specifically for the coming superintendent of Hamilton County.   We pray that it will be a person who specifically requests, acknowledges, and follows Your will. We pray for their obedience. We also remember the leadership of the surrounding counties. There are so many opportunities for politics, finances, and other things to impact decisions. We rest in your promise that their hearts are in Your hands and You can change their course and use the decisions they make. Regardless of who is in position, whether as the superintendent of a county, or the leader of our country, we know that You can control and use for Your purposes even those who make choices with which we do not agree.  “Proverbs 21:1 – The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

3. STRENGTH – Lord, our days start before sun-up and often do not end until well after sun-down. Teaching and administration are exhausting work. We pray for strength for those who feel they have no strength left. Being a student and going to school daily, doing homework, juggling extra-curricular activities, takes stamina and energy. Lord, provide all that is needed. For those who have special healthcare or other special needs that add additional strain and stress, we pray an extra measure of strength. You have promised to give power and increase strength and we ask for those things today, Father, for our families, our educators, and administration. Isaiah 40:29 “He giveth power to the faint; and to them who have no might he increaseth strength.”

4. FINANCIAL RESOURCES – Education requires funding, especially for students with special needs. Sometimes it is difficult to discern what we need vs. what we want. We pray for adequate financial resources to do what needs to be done. Give wisdom to those who are involved in the budgeting process. Help unnecessary expenditures to be eliminated and priority to be given to those expenditures that are needful. Change spending regulations as necessary to positively impact the greatest number of students. Then, Lord, help us to see Your unlimited riches through Christ that may not always look like dollars and cents on a budget sheet. – “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

5. PROTECTION – Lord, protect your righteous servants. Remove from influence those who would do evil to their colleagues or to the children in their care. Protect us from those with evil intentions, whether it is someone with a personal agenda instead of the care of all students, or someone who would intentionally do physical or emotional harm. You have promised to hear our prayers and we thank you for your promises to not just hear but to answer our prayers. “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”I Peter 3:12

6. SOVEREIGNTY – In the last several months and in the coming days there will be events playing out on the world stage that we as parents and teachers will have to explain to our children.  Help us to remember and give us wisdom in relaying to the children in our care that You do not cause evil, but sometimes You allow things to happen for a reason that we may not see or truly understand.  Help us to learn the lesson for which You allowed the circumstances to occur. Enable us and our children to understand and trust Your sovereign wisdom and strength when we don’t have all of the answers to the question “Why?”.   “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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.” Isaiah 55:8

7. FOUNDATIONS  So many things in our lives and world seems to be unstable.  Financial changes, political changes, and day to day changes in our family circumstances.  Lord, help us to know what is sure and solid.  You and you alone are our strength and our rock.  We run to You when we are overwhelmed because You are our fortress, the person who will protect and deliver us.  Help us to remember in the most difficult days that we can trust You.  Let our peers and the children in our care see Your faithful deliverance as we call upon You in our own lives and we pray for them to ultimately learn this truth for themselves.  “ I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” – Psalm 18:1-3

8.UNITY – Father, bring unity to meeting rooms, classrooms, and school yards.  Whether it be teachers, staff, or students, let them be of the same mind – Yours.  Let their goals be the same as they seek to work for the education of all students, regardless of their ability, socioeconomic status, or skin color.  Let nothing be done for personal gain or glory, but for the advancement of the whole school and community as we consider others above ourselves. We pray that decisions are made from a posture of love, putting the needs of others above the needs of ourselves, knowing that will bring You joy. – “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” – Philippians 2:3-4

9. HARMONY IN SPEECH Our schools and classrooms are full of tongues, Father.  Every one of us has one and we have the choice of how we use it.  Lord, even in our own home, in our living rooms, kitchens, and in every living space, let there be harmony as we each work to honor others with the choice of words we use.  We are often kinder to the stranger than to those we know well.  It is hardest to esteem those to whom we are in closest proximity every day.  Remind us, Father, when we bite heads off, or push too hard, or push too fast.  Help us to remember the powerful effect of our tongue on others.  They will hear our voice in their heads long after our mouths are shut.  Help us Lord to control our tongue and say those things that edify and build confidence and share grace. “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” – James 3:8

10. ENCOURAGEMENT – When we look at the tasks before us, whether it is educating students with special needs, addressing issues of bullying, or balancing the budget, there are times that the task seems insurmountable.  Especially for parents of children with special needs, it is often hard to imagine the future because today is so full of so much.  Encourage our hearts to rely on You because when we are weak, then are You strong.  When it is impossible for us, all things are possible for You!  Matthew 19:26 – “Jesus looked at them and said, With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – II Corinthians 12:10 

11. TRUTH – Injustice is part of life and invariably every school year brings with it reports of those who have been hurt by others.  We think of the gang wars, and street fights that seem so prevalent these days.  We think of students being bullied by other students and even at times by their elders.  We consider politicians who are tempted to use our children as pawns in their game.  Lord, every year there are stories of abuse and neglect in school classrooms.  Protect every child, but especially those children with special needs who have no voice.  Bring to light the truth in situations that need to be investigated.  Lord, don’t let the truth be covered up, glossed over, or purposely hidden.  Reveal the truth, however difficult the consequences may be.  Job 12:22 “He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light.” (NIV)  “Let the lying lips be put to silence: which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.” Psalm 31:18

12. CONFIDENCE – Today’s successes or failures are not the end.  Even if we make mistakes, give us confidence to try again, knowing that we are a work in progress. As parents, students, teachers, or administration, give us confidence that when we are walking in Your will, You will shore up our steps.  Lord, especially our students who struggle academically or socially tend look at the mistakes they make and give up, but please help them to see that You don’t give up on us. Give them confidence in your because You have committed to it in Your Word.  For those who are in a position to instill confidence in these students, let them be a model of Your faithfulness, knowing that God hasn’t given up on them, either.   “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  – Philippians 1:6   “For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” – Proverbs 3:26

13. NO COMPLAINTS – This world is a negative place.  Every time we turn around someone is tearing down someone else or complaining about their circumstances, from politicians to leadership to our own homes.  May teachers, staff, and parents work intentionally this year not to complain about those things we see that are wrong, but work to bring them right through resolution and restoration and reconciliation.  Father, help us to use our words to build up and not complain when things don’t go our way.  Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” Philippians 2:14 

14. REST/PEACESo much of life is a relentless cycle of hard things.  It seems there is no rest for the weary. We bury our restlessness in more activity and useless words to cover up what we feel inside. And yet, there is rest and peace in doing things Your way. You specifically instruct us to come to you when we feel heavy and burdened by our circumstances and you offer rest and peace deep down inside our very souls.  When we follow your path and accept the tasks from Your hand, we can learn about You in the daily journey.  The more we know of You, the more we know You, the more we will understand Your heart, Father, and the peace that is there.   “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28

15.PRAYER – I Timothy 1:1-2 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men:”  Lord, you have clearly instructed us in the particulars of prayer.  Today, we offer supplications and requests for ourselves.  We pray for the administrators, the teachers, the therapists, the aides, bus drivers, psychologists and counselors, maintenance staff, and the students involved in each of our schools.  We intercede on the behalf of those who don’t know You and beg for their salvation.  Use us as a tool to that end.  And Lord we give thanks.  We give thanks for everyone that is involved in our lives.  If we were honest, there is that one person, Lord, that we just feel like we can’t stand, and yet, they too, are important and valuable because they, too, are made in Your image.  We give thanks for even them.  For those who teach and invest in our students lives every day in any role, we give thanks. Thank you for the administrators, the teachers, the therapists, the aides, bus drivers, psychologists and counselors, maintenance staff, and the students involved in each of our schools. Help us to not just give thanks silently to You, but in tangible ways speak thanksgiving into their lives as we follow your instructions.

16. PURPOSE No job is too big or too small in Your kingdom.  Lord, we often want the position that comes with a big paycheck or the name on the door, but every one of us has a role to play, whether large or small. And for those thankless and often forgotten jobs like maintenance and bus driving, secretaries, lunch room staff, paraprofessionals, and others who are often behind the scenes and forgotten, we pray especially for them today and give thanks for their supportive role.  They are just as important as those who work behind that desk with their name on the door.   Lord, today we ask that you help us all to remember the purpose for our role, whatever that role is.  It’s not a paycheck.  It’s not even for thanks.  It is for the glory of God.  May every single thing that we do today, however large or small, be done only for your glory.  “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31

17. INVESTMENT – Lord, we ask for your care and ministry through teachers to those children and families who have emigrated here from another country.  Keep them from using the language and cultural barriers as an excuse not to care for those who have come to America for whatever reason.  Break down language barriers and protect those children from physical, educational, and emotional harm.   For those children without a father in their family, home, or life, we pray for a father figure who will come alongside them and be the earthly picture of Your heavenly love.  If that person is me or my spouse, please show me into whose life I need to invest.  God, we ask you to frustrate the ways of those who would do harm to children in any way.  Data tells us that students with certain diagnoses and in certain types of classrooms are more prone to abuse and neglect.  Protect them as the Father that You are to all of us.  Psalms 146:9 says “The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.”

18. GENEROSITY – As we look back over the last year, the last month, and even the last week, all of us see areas where we think “I should have…” or “I could have…”  Help us during this coming school year to give with no regrets.  To be able to look back at this time next year and say that we gave whenever we could.  Not only will there be times to offer resources, but there will also be times that we have the chance to offer hope, or opportunity, or time.  Lord, you gave it all!  Everything you had!  You gave Your very life. Be it far from us, Lord, to do any less. Help us to err on the side of grace and mercy when faced with the decision to give or not to give.  Help us not to withhold any good when it is within our power to provide it“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” Proverbs 3:27

19. FORGIVENESS – Sometimes, Lord, we are weighed down with bitterness because of what someone has done to us or to our children.  Feeling the need for constant advocacy on behalf of those who struggle can make us jaded and cynical.  Repeated offenses can make us angry and bitter.  Help us to grant that same grace to them that has been granted to us through Christ.  We know that we cannot forgive others their sins without help.  We thank you that You are faithful to forgive us and help us forgive others.  I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

20. WISDOM Everyone has an opinion these days.  It is apparent as we listen to the radio, television, internet, friends, family, and educators.  Please give us ears to hear and really listen to those who have wise counsel to share.  Surround our children with those who give godly counsel and give them a heart that is open to receive the instruction and guidance because we want them to grow up to be wise.  Surround our teachers and administrators with godly counsel and prepare their hearts to receive the guidance offered.  Let us look back at the end of the year and see the difference it has made.  Be specifically with our guidance counselors in the schools, dear Lord.  Those who have been specifically tasked with guiding our young and tender hearts.  Let them BE the wise and godly counselors and give instruction in such a way that our students will hear and receive it. “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” – Proverbs 19:20

21. INJUSTICE – When injustice is done, it is so very easy to be angry, to hold a grudge, to get revenge. Lord, please help us to remember that no one ever saw You in actions that fell short of love and truth even in administration of justice. Let us trust You to right the wrongs against us.  Help us to stand up for truth, but not to take Your place in the retribution of a conflict.  “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19

22. COMMUNICATION – Oh, Lord, my mouth! How very many times it gets me into trouble. Someone said the average person speaks over 16000 words per day, and Lord, that is 16000 opportunities to build someone up or tear someone down. And we know the source of our words is what is in our hearts.  Please cleanse our hearts.  Purify them.  We pray for all of the words uttered in our school building today.  Help us, especially me, to meditate on Your Words.  May the overflow of my thoughts be acceptable to You and encouragement to all.   “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”  Psalm 19:14

23. POSITIVE – May teachers, staff, and parents look for those things that others are doing right, keeping their focus on the positive instead of the negative. Whether in the writing of IEP goals or the conversations in the hallways and buses, or even in corrections of students’ behavior, help us all to dwell on those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, and those things that are virtuous and praiseworthy. God, may we use our words, written or verbal, to focus on the positive!Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”- Philippians 4:8

24. FELLOWSHIP – Father, there are those for whom we feel an immediate kinship when realize the other has an understanding of Your gospel. We give thanks for those teachers and staff who are believers and who share a Biblical world view of the value of all human life, regardless of ability, color, or status. Let us not quarrel over denominational lines, but, Lord, let us work together as the Body of Christ to encourage each other and edify one another in the fellowship of the gospel.  We thank you for the kinship of Your family and we pray that our fellowship will be an encouragement to those who do not know You.  “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,  Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;” – Philippians 1:3-5

25. STEWARDSHIP – Every year there are more standards to meet, more tests to take, and more assignments to process. But Lord you chose to only give us 24 hours in a day for a reason.  Make teachers good stewards of their limited time.  There are temptations to waste time all around us, but please give us strength to use our time for good.  Help our students to use their time wisely and take advantage of every opportunity to learn.   Let us manage our time without succumbing to the tyranny of the urgent.  Give us wisdom to make choices in how to use our time for the greatest impact.  Let us think intentionally about where and how we spend our time so that we can be most effective.   “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16 

26.  SAFETY – PEACESo much for our world seems out of control, Lord, but we know that in You we have peace and rest.  We pray specifically for those students who don’t have a place of safety and peace to go home to.  Make it possible for the parent(s) and caregivers in those families to provide for that place.  For those who may not have peace outside the school walls, we pray that You will help the teachers in their classroom to provide that place of safety where the students can learn and grow physically, emotionally, academically, and medically.  Give special insight and wisdom to school nurses tasked with providing medicine and care to those in their building.  May their medical decisions be sound.  For the student who lives in fear and danger, and there are so many more of those than we can imagine, Lord, give them peace.  Give them a place and a person in their lives that will be an earthly place of peace, but we ask that You will help them find You, in whom there is eternal peace and safety“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” – Psalm 4:8

27. INTEGRITY Every day our administrators, educators, aides,  maintenance for buses or buildings, and even our students have multiple opportunities to take a shortcut.  To be dishonest.  To do half a job and not put forth a complete effort.  There are opportunities to lie, steal, and cheat.  Lord, please help us all to walk in integrity.  Whether in administrative leadership or in the classroom, bring to light where there are crooked paths that need to be brought straight again and give us all strength to align our paths with truth.   “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9

28. FAMILY – The last hundred years especially has brought an unprecedented attack on the family unit.  Father, in Your wisdom, You have designed that family unit to protect and teach and love and grow our children into young adults.  You have given Your relationship with the Church as the example of marriage.  Help us to emulate that picture in our day to day relationships with our spouses. Lord, we beg your protection on the marriages represented in our community.  Protect the marriages of the parents in our schools.  Protect and grow the marriages of our teachers and leaders, staff, and administration.  Prepare our students for marriage by giving them a glimpse of a godly, loving and unified marriage relationship.  We know that for many, that picture of a godly and loving marriage won’t be in the four walls of their own home, but we ask you, Father, to bring into each young life some family who can and will model Your plan for them.  Ephesians 5:31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”

29.  ADOPTION – We pray for those families who have chosen to adopt.  We are so grateful for Your choice to adopt us into Your family through Your shed blood on the Cross and we give thanks for those families whom You call to this ministry.  We pray specifically for the families who are choosing to follow that calling and working through the process of adoption.  Give them necessary resources, wisdom, and all of the components necessary to provide forever families for these children.
God, we know that sometimes adoption brings with it extra challenges for families as they navigate mental health and other services that a child may need because of the unhealthy impact of their biological family or other pre-adoption circumstances.  Lord, give patience and wisdom to those who need to make trauma-informed decisions and interactions with these children.  Give safety and guidance and support.  For years many of these children have lived with various levels of fear and anxiety because of their circumstances.  Our Abba, Father, we ask you to take away the spirit of fear and to give them a peace, a feeling of safety, of comfort and a feeling of their own place in the home You have provided.  
Romans 8:15 – For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry “Abba! Father!”

30. HOPE – All it takes is one look around us to see hopelessness and depression.  We see angst and frustration portrayed in the media, in our communities, and yes, Lord, even in our own homes.  Remind us that our ultimate hope isn’t in anything that this world has to offer.  There is nothing material, no earthly relationship and no position that is greater than the hope that we have in You.  Fill us with joy and peace and the faith that we are able to have in know knowing that we have access to not just a little bit of hope, but we can ABOUND in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost .  Romans 15:13 – “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

31. APPEARANCE America is a melting pot and metro Chattanooga is no different.  Children from many countries with many different skin tones will walk through our school halls today.  Help us to look past the color of their skin and see the image of God stamped on each heart.  Students these days come to school dressed in many ways.  Some because of poverty.  Some to make a statement.  Some for other reasons. Help those who interact with those students to show grace and mercy as they remember that the outward appearance is not what is the most important.  Help them look beyond skin deep to see and appreciate the heart of the child.  “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – I Samuel 16:7

32. LEADERSHIP – So many of our school systems seem to be in turmoil these days, God.  They are moving from concerns about testing to what the curriculum should be, and it is so easy to get caught up in the day to day just maintaining function.  Yet there is purpose to our lives and we pray for leadership of vision.  Leadership that will guide with a greater goal than just today or tomorrow, or even this school year.  Give us leaders with a goal for the children, and the children’s children.  It is so easy to be caught up in today and forget that we are preparing the next generation.  Wherever God has placed us in leadership and as we choose new leaders, God, please give us leaders with a vision, not for tomorrow only, but for tomorrow’s tomorrow.  Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

33. CHOICESDeuteronomy 30:15-16 says “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiple: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goes to possess it.”  Years ago when you made this promise to the Children of Israel, Lord, you lay before them two choices.  We have these same two choices today.  We are faced with these choices as individuals, as families, as schools, as teachers, as administrators, and as a community.  Lord, we choose life and good.  We want to walk in Your way.  We want to keep your commandments and statutes and judgments.  I John 5:3 tells us that these “commandments are not grievous.”  We want to live long and multiply and share Your love with others through our lives.  In whatever place you take us today, whether home, or the classroom, or the boardroom, the bus, the playground, the hallway, the halls of court, let us make choices that will lead us to life and goodness.

34. COMFORT – Lord, we know that this year will hold tribulation and heartbreak for many of our educators and their families.  There will be deaths and divorce, financial reversals, hurtful relationships, and other unforeseen events that will take lives by storm.  We pray that you will comfort those who are going through these circumstances even today.  Bring them through these valleys, and then use the circumstances they have weathered as the catalyst for being a comfort to others going through similar experiences.  Give them compassion to comfort others in their trials as they process and share the consolation that abounds only in You. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” – II Corinthians 1:3-6

35. LEARNING – So many of our priorities these days are distorted by what we see portrayed in the media and even around us.  Money and fame and material things seem to be the focus for so many. As we go through this school year, please help us see the value in learning, Lord.  Help us to see that wisdom and knowledge will ultimately bring us more happiness than material possessions.  Help our students to see how their time investment in learning will ultimately set the foundation for their future.  Guide our special education teachers as they work to learn how to give their students access to general education standards with high expectations.  Bless our general education teachers with unusual wisdom and insight into how to teach and include students with special needs.  Lord, help them both to desire to learn more and then, as they work together as a team to find wisdom and instruction, we ask You to then help them pass on their love of knowledge and learning to their students.  “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.  She is more previous than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”  Proverbs 3:13-15

36.FORGIVENESS – Teachers are human and so are parents.  We both sometimes do the wrong thing.  Sometimes we make wrong choices and sometimes we make mistakes unintentionally.  Regardless, Father, please forgive us for sinning against others and forgive others for sinning against us.  We thank you for the forgiveness You have offered us through Your Son as we extend that same grace and forgiveness to others.   “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”   Matthew 6:14-15

37. PROTECTION – Even with the best of screening techniques, there are those adults who may this year come in contact with our students that do not have our children’s best interest at heart.  As much as we hate it, abuse and neglect will happen in this fallen, broken world.  We pray for protection from abuse and neglect.  We ask that anyone who will not build up and encourage and protect and train our children will be taken away and we request the immediate removal of those who would do our children harm “That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.  Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind take them away as stubble.”  Isaiah 40;23-24

38. UNFAIRNESS – Help us to trust when we see those who are doing wrong prosper.  Sometimes it seems so unfair that we try so hard to do what is right and yet we perceive that those who are doing wrong have more material possessions, have fewer problems, have greater respect, or need less help than we do.  Help us to recognize that You love even those who are doing evil and that Your desire is for them to turn from their ways and to do good.  Help us to be that example of righteousness for them.  Help us to trust You when things don’t seem fair.  Let us trust You to bring justice and retribution and reconciliation in Your timing.  “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” – Matthew 5:45

39. DIRECTION Some of the most difficult choices of each day are made quietly in the recesses of our own hearts.  Every day our hearts are a battleground between good and evil, between right and wrong, and even, Lord, sometimes between good and better and best.  We don’t have to make decisions alone.  You offer us Your understanding.  Help us to take advantage of that guidance and direction You offer through faith and trust in You when our own understanding is lacking.  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

40. ENCOURAGEMENT – Many caregivers would agree that one of the most scary places in the world is in an IEP meeting.  Lord, our hearts thump, our hands sweat, and we wonder “Are we doing enough?”  “Are we doing the right thing?”  Advocacy isn’t easy.  Help us to remember that our strength comes from You.  Calm our fears.  Humans will fail us. Sometimes that failure will show up in a report card or an IEP or 504 document, but Father, remind us that You will never fail us.  Remind us that you are there always.  Whether it is an IEP or 504 meeting, manifestation determination meeting or just a parent/teacher conference, remind us that You go before us and are our unfailing strength and courage. “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee: he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

41. ORGANIZATION Whether it is our schedule, our home, our classroom, or our schoolwork, help us to learn to set priorities.  Let us choose to do those things that are of the most value first.  Give us wisdom to order our homes in such a way that we provide security for our children.  In our classrooms, Father, help us do things decently and in order.  So many of our classrooms are really too small for the number of wiggly bodies that they will contain.  Help our teachers to think creatively in how they use their limited space to the greatest advantage.  Give an extra measure of wisdom to those who are taking time to create visual schedules for our children who need an organized pattern to their lives.  Help us to see the value and then train up our children in how to choose priorities, how to organize documents and how to make the best use of spaces.  Let us model Your plan of order as you have exemplified it in creation of our bodies and in our world. “Let all things be done decently and in order.” I Corinthians 14:40

42. UNITY – Each of us struggle with pride and wanting our own way and our own agenda.  Go before parents, educators, and administrators, and even students into the meeting room and the classroom.  Prepare hearts and soften attitudes and create harmony where there has been fear.  So many parents dread teacher meetings, IEP meetings, and 504 plan meetings because of the potential for disagreement and dissention.  When disagreements happen, and they will, help us to look for the things on which we agree and build bridges from there.  Give us unity in all right things knowing that You are going before us and You are with us.  We cannot fail when we do Your will in Your way.  You will be with us as we purposely choose to follow You.  ”And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.” –  Deuteronomy 31:8  

43. COMPASSIONTeachers and staff members will see things and hear circumstances from the lives of their colleagues and students that will weigh them down and go home with them after school.  Compassion fatigue is a very real struggle.  Remind them to cast all of their cares upon You, for not only do You care for them, but You care for the students as well. Remind us that we cannot “fix it all” but comfort us with the knowledge that You can.  Give us strength as we go back and face hard things each day.  “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”  I Peter 5:7

44. HOPE – God, our hearts are broken today for those who battle mental illness and emotional scars of circumstances beyond their control.  We pray specifically for those who live in fear and paranoia.  Give them comfort and peace.  We pray for those who feel powerless to change their circumstances.  Lord, give them Your power to overcome.  For those who feel unloved and uncared for, help them to see and feel and know Your love.  We know that Your desire for us is not fear, but a sound mind.  Help those who need help to ask for it and for those who consider suicide their only option, to reach out.  Stop those around long enough to listen.  Equip those around who are in a position to provide help.  May each interaction show Your power in love to each and every one who is struggling, whether student or adult.  Renew each mind to understand the difference between our feelings which change subject to circumstance and the reality of who You are.  Give us hope that we can rejoice in Your mercy.  Help us to know that none of us are invisible to You, but you know each and every one of us and the trouble and adversity of our very souls.    II Timothy 1:7 – God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  Psalm 31:7 –“ I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversity;”

45. MINISTRY – Lord, keep our work and our relationships in perspective.  Let us not “work at jobs” but “minister to one another” as You have gifted us, both spiritually and academically.   Make us good stewards of the grace You have extended to us.  When we speak, let the words that come from our mouths represent Your words funneled through us.  Let us view our role, whether as parent, educator, staff, administration, or student, in perspective of ministry.  Help us to use the abilities that You have given us knowing that You have given them to us for this purpose.  Let every single word and deed glorify God through Jesus Christ this year.  I Peter 4:10-11 “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

46. FRIENDSHIPS One of the most positive or the most negative parts of our child’s time at school can be in the friends they make and the people they spend their time with.  Please protect students and their leaders from influences that are not goodHelp our teachers and administration to make good relationship choices and to spend their time wisely with people who build good and godly character.  – “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” – I Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2

47.  HARMONY – It seems that everywhere we turn, someone is arguing about something.  It’s at home, in the media, on the school bus, in the classroom, in the board room.  But God, that was never Your design.  You created peace and harmony and You give us instructions in how to resolve conflict in Your Word.  Give us the wisdom in Proverbs that we not strive or argue with anyone without a cause.  If harm has been done, guide our words and deeds that restoration and reconciliation may occur.  “Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.” – Proverbs 3:30 

48. TEACHING NEXT GENERATION – In Deuteronomy, You outline the instructions to parents for teaching their children.  For some families, their choice is public school, and for some it is private school.  But today, for those parents who have chosen to teach and school their students at home, we pray for wisdom, strength, stamina, creativity, and energy as they choose curriculum, plan activities, and organize resources.  Homeschooling isn’t possible for everyone, and please, Lord, do not let us as parents shirk our duty to teach our children while we have them at home at the end of the school day and on the weekends.   Remind us of our responsibility to the next generation to share Your works with them as well as the instructions you have given in Your Word. 

49. PROTECTION – This year, there will be victories won.  When people try to do the right thing, or give You glory for what has been accomplished, we know there will be attacks.  Protect those who are advocating for children, whether teachers or parents or school personnel.  Protect those in the community who are working to make this area safer for all of us.  Protect from enemies both seen and unseen.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.   For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.   Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.   Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

50. ENCOURAGEMENT In the day to day doing of life is exhaustion.  Lord, we get so very tired.  Getting up and putting one foot in front of the other is sometimes a gargantuan task.  We come home and it seems we are asleep before our heads hit the pillow.  Sometimes our “due season to reap” may be a great many days, weeks, months, or even years ahead.  Remind us that we work for a greater reward and that perseverance will bring us to the results we look for if we don’t give up. Remind us that that we may not even see the full harvest of our actions until heaven, but that You see every word and deed and will reward faithfulness and perseverance.  Galatians 6:9 – “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

In April 2016, as a result of Bible study focusing on loving and serving families affected by disability, several parents were praying specifically for a school system that was struggling with serving families with special needs well.  One parent specifically felt like God had impressed it upon her heart that this prayer was not to be just for once a week during Bible study, but daily, in earnest.  The vision in her heart started with a plan to go to schools and walk around the buildings praying for the administration, teachers, and students.

Logistically this was a huge undertaking so her vision evolved into a prayer list based on Scripture that multiple people could pray through together or separately. She and several moms began to pray through Scripture as they put together a way for all of us to plead for God’s favor, His guidance, direction, and provision in unity.   From that time of seeking God, a prayer list based in Scripture poured forth. This prayer list is dedicated specifically to parents and caregivers raising children with special needs but because it is Scripture, it will apply to every family scenario.  We will send out five more prayers each week.  This list has been designed to help you pray a little each day as part of your personal devotion time or as an extended time alone or  together with others as a group from the parking lots as Amanda had first envisioned. However God uses it in your life, it is our prayer that you will be drawn closer to God and will have the opportunity to see His hand at work in educators and students in the coming days.  

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus said unto His disciples “for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”    
Matthew 18:20   “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  

Praying in faith that God will use this journey in your lives as He has in ours,                                                   
 Amanda Alexander, Lisa Mattheiss, Trish Cox, Joni White