Praying in school
““Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4–9 ESV)
It’s the start of a new school year! And what an exciting year it is. Christ Lutheran Academy is now at Messiah Lutheran Church, Little Lambs Learning Center has the beginning of their re-tooled pre-school program, and Sunday School starts up on September 12. I love fall. It is the season of new beginnings.
Here at Messiah Lutheran Church, every day is a day of prayer. Morning Prayer (Matins), Afternoon Prayer (Vespers), the Divine Service, school openings and closings, pre-school chapels, there is always somebody praying around here!
It is entirely appropriate that we spend so much time in prayer at our schools, because prayer must be taught. Praying does not come naturally, or if it does, these prayers will quickly run out of conversation with God, and will degenerate into talking either to ourselves or at least about ourselves. So how do we teaching praying at Messiah Lutheran Church. Let me count the ways:
- We teach praying by doing it. Lead by example. At home or at work. Before meals or after. When you get up and when you go to bed. What we actually do as adults teaches far more than anything else.
- We teach praying by giving the words. Just like a child repeats words back to their parents, in the same way a student repeats the words of prayer back to their teacher. These words may be the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms, the collects (prayers) of the church, or praying for various needs. But we teach children how to pray by giving them what to pray. They will learn and build upon that foundation throughout their lives.
- We teach praying by being diligent yet patient. Moses in Deuteronomy six exhorts us to be diligent in teaching prayer. Holy persistence, I would call it. That kind of persistent work means that we must also be patient with our children, our parents were patient with us. It means giving them the time they need to learn the words. It means going slow enough so that they can follow and eventually lead. It means praying for God’s guidance as we pass on the faith once delivered to the saints.
That is how things tick around here at Messiah Lutheran Church every day. It is a new day, a new year. Receive what God has to give you in His Word, and say it back to Him in words of prayer!
+The Lord be with you+ ￼￼
Pastor Todd Peperkorn
From Messiah’s Messenger, September 2010