As kids head back to school this week, there are a few things that we can all agree on as we pray for them and their year, no matter what schooling situation they may be a part of. Having had a child in almost all of these at one point, I'm well aware of the pitfalls and potential for Satan's snares inherent in each.
For the public school students:
Lord, give them strength and nobility of character to stand alone, no matter what friends, teachers, or the cool kids say or do. Let the Scripture that's been planted in their hearts rise to the surface with every challenge. Let your truth come from their mouths as they answer their tempters, and with every true word spoken, let their hearts grow stronger. Allow them to see their school as a mission field, filled with hurting people who long for truth and not be swayed by the popular opinion of the day.
For the Christian school student:
Father, even within the supposedly Christ-centered hallways, darkness lurks and temptation waits, hiding in the hearts of those who are not there to learn truth, but to disrupt. Protect our children from themselves, and the tendency to become careless or shallow in their faith, assuming that anything they hear or do must be Christian, since that's the name of the school. Let them see clearly the difference between those professing the Name, and those with You entrenched deeply in their hearts. Let this time of growth and discovery prepare them with the ability from now on to tell the sheep from the goats and to never be led astray by false prophets.
For the homeschooled student:
As hard as we try, Lord, no parent can train the sin nature out of a child. They are each your unique creations with a free will. Guard the homeschooled child from puffed-up pride and self-centerdness. Rebuke the tendency to assume spiritual superiority. Just because they can quote whole chapters of your word doesn't meant their hearts are any more tender than the most hardened criminal. Let them see the struggle others must face and develop compassion for the lost and hurting who they may not see as often as they would in another mode of schooling. Help them to recognize that their relationship with You is not based on Mom's relationship with you and that God holds each one accountable for what he's been given.
For the college student:
Lord, this is a tough time in the life of any kid. The buffet of the world's choices is spread before them, tempting, inviting them to just "have a taste." Deepen their convictions now, Lord. Strengthen their minds that they can make the standards they were raised with their own. Bind the spirit of confusion that will try to muddle Your clear mandates and let them think clearly and rightly and refuse to be sidetracked. Give them a vision for their future, for a path You've created for them. One that will excite and motivate them to finish the race. Deliver them back to us whole, stronger and wiser, ready to use all they've been given to impact their world.
We pray that this school year will produce mighty warriors for God's kingdom from every school in the nation and from every family. Amen.
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