Back to School 2021: 5 “P’s” to Pray For
By Maggie Meadows Cooper
As I sent my babies off today, five things were on my mind and in my prayers. I want to share them in hopes that they will give you some encouragement, reassurance, and direction in your own prayers as you lift your families up as well. The scripture references (NLT unless stated otherwise) would be great to post around your home as reminders of the One who is holding us all during this time.
Five things to pray for this school year:
There are so many needs right now: increased materials like extra cleaning supplies, masks, sanitizer, lanyards, and technology. Custodians to keep our buildings safer during this time. Heightened demand for substitutes, should large numbers of teachers get sick. Childcare needs for parents and others (as well as other practical things). But more pressing is the need for the Lord to provide us with the three remaining things on my list. And at first glance, it can all feel overwhelming….to us. But not to Him.
Not long ago, I heard a sermon at Elevation church and loved this quote: “God is not only the Provider…He IS the Provision.” I think we so often forget that. You see, it’s not really the items on our list that can fulfill our longings…as much as the One who does the filling. Don’t mistake that. Look for Jesus in the midst of your struggles, my sweet friends, and He will meet your needs…sometimes in ways you never imagined.
“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8
“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” – Luke 12:23-25
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:9-11
While this is always on my list, I know it is on people’s minds more than ever. And while the obvious need is for protection from sickness, let’s not forget to come before the Lord asking for protection of our babies’ hearts and minds from the things of this world. Through technology, television, music, social media, and yes, some classmates in their schools, they are bombarded with things that are not God’s best for them. They face choices, sometimes multiple times a day, that many of us never had to. And in those moments, they will decide to choose God’s way…or the world’s. As parents, we must stand in the gap and cover them with our prayers because though we can’t always be with them, the Lord can, and will.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber, indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121
Y’all, some people will tell you God is everywhere. And He is. But scripture makes it clear that we have the choice to ask for His presence or not. We have the privilege of being able to invite Him into our lives or not. And I don’t want there to be any doubt that I want the Lord surrounding my babies, their classmates, their teachers, and our schools as a whole. So, although it is true that He is with us in general, don’t take for granted the opportunity you have to boldly call on His name on behalf of your babies this year.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 NIV
“The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18
“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.” Psalm 37:7
“From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.” Acts 17:26-27
“My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8
I was watching Miss Congeniality recently and giggled when the girls were asked what the world needed most. “World peace” was the answer from every contestant. It seems like the cliche answer, but it is what we all long for right? That ability to turn on the news and see everyone loving each other and being kind. No war, no riots, no sickness or earthquakes or death? But that’s not what this world has to offer, y’all.
The beautiful truth is that through Jesus we can have peace even in the midst of these things, though. We don’t have to earn it or hunt for it or hope for a lucky break. We just have to surrender our broken lives to the One who loves us most. To come before Him and ask Him, not to change our circumstances, but to change our hearts and perspective in the midst of those circumstances.