So, two things have been bouncing around in my heart this summer.
One, I have been working on my prayer life. It is a weakness of mine. I could catalog all the reasons and excuses, but let’s just say I have trouble controlling my thoughts (I know, go figure). As one of the solutions, I have been praying scripture and making the Word apart of my prayer life.
Two, I have watched several videos by Angela Carter and in one of the videos she is talking about our ministry in the classroom. She says many things that I believe and have even discussed here on this blog, but then she says something that was mind blowing and kind of a “duh” moment, all at the same time. She talked about asking the Holy Spirit to enter our classrooms, making our classrooms a safe, comfortable, loving place – as church should be.
Now, that really hit home for me because I also struggle with keeping God at the center of my teaching. I get so bogged down with the minor – and major – distractions and obstacles of teaching that I often forget to consider God while teaching. I practice many things to encourage change, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty, I go right back to the flesh.
So because of these two things, I am working hard to increase my prayer life, specifically when it comes to teaching. I want to abide in my teaching – not just in my life outside of teaching.
As a way to encourage prayer in my classroom, I have created a list of 10 scriptures to pray over the classroom. These scriptures are based on my room and my needs, but I have a feeling that you made need some of these too.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
So maybe it is obvious why I chose this scripture and also why I chose to put it first. This is our purpose. No matter what our career, we are to be the salt and the light. And just like the scripture says, if we lose our saltiness, then we are worth nothing. I don’t want to be a worthless teacher… Instead I want the light of Jesus shining in me in such a way that I am that town on the hill. You cannot help but see Jesus in me.
2 Chronicles 6:40
Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.
I have this scripture posted in my office/prayer room. It is one of the first I put up because I knew that is where I would do most of my studying and praying. And when I think about, just as much prayer – and maybe a little studying – needs to happen in my classroom. I want God to hear and be aware of all the prayers I lift up while at school.
But more than that, I want God to hear the prayers of all the students in my room. I don’t know what groanings may come from them or what silent prayers may be lifted up while they are in my room, but God does. I want Him paying special attention to all those babies in my room. My heart breaks to think about some of their prayers, but I find comfort in knowing that God will hear them.
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
A miracle. Many days that is what I need. A miracle. Or at least that is what I feel like I need. And you know what, God will give that to me. He will show me many miracles in my classroom if I call to Him first. If I give Him my focus.
And how many days have I called out to other sources – Google, co-workers, coffee, chocolate – to help me handle my problems, when God clearly says that all I have to do is ask and he will show me more than I could even imagine.
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
This goes with the previous verse a little bit. Why is it when my dad was diagnosed with cancer I immediately turned to God in prayer, but when a troubled student gets on my last nerve, I run to a teacher friend to gripe? Why do we not believe that God can work as powerfully in our classrooms as He does in the rest of our lives?
I mean I know if you asked me, I would give your the right answer. I would tell you He can do great and mighty things, but my actions in the classroom prove otherwise.
I need God to help me with my unbelief. And I know if pray for my students, my lessons, my co-workers, and my school in general, then He will prove to me what He can do.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
You had to know this verse was coming… After many days in the classroom, my soul yearns for peace. The world has been giving to me all day and I need just a little bit – okay maybe a lot – of that God-given peace.
And most importantly, I need to remember that it comes from Him. I don’t need to look for that peace in junk food, complaining, or even exercise. Sure, there are some great ways to relieve stress, but that still will not give me the peace that Jesus can.
But not only that, I want to pray peace over my children. Many of these poor babies may not have ever experienced true peace in their lives. I would love for them to have a sense of that in my classroom. I want to be an example of contagious, Godly peace.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Okay, so we might just need to stand firm on that peace we are talking about. Don’t let the devil, or anyone else spreading his lies move you.
I know you have seen the memes about starting the day off with a great attitude and then how it looks by lunch. Yes, we have all been there, but only because we let our circumstances move us. We failed to focus on who we are working for.
We may feel used and abused. We may feel like we have reached our last straw, but maybe we need to just take a breath and breathe a prayer. God, I am working for you and I certainly do not understand why I am in this situation, but you do God. Guide me. Show me what I need to know. And give me the faith to trust you even when things are tough and I feel like I am attacked and worn to the bone.
God will not leave us hanging. He may not change our circumstances, but He will change us.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
This is our Amen verse for those moments when we need to stand firm and remember we are working for the Lord. When we breathe that oh-my-Lord prayer that comes from the groaning, both literal and spiritual, this is our promise.
We don’t have to be afraid. God is with you. Stop. Think about that a minute. That moment that you let your head sink to your desk at 3:10 in desperation, God was there. He will strengthen you – as a matter of fact, He probably did strengthen you. It might have been down right scary to see you in that moment without him.
And I love this last part, He will uphold me – you – with his righteous (meaning He knows just what I need) right (the most important one) hand. God is holding on to me with His hand. He will hold me up. He is holding me up. And if I take the time to recognize that, then I can stop working against him and realize I have nothing to fear.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Okay, so you may not need this verse in your classroom. This may just be me. You may not be at all jaded by years of teaching burnt out students and bitter parents. That may just be me.
But for me, I need this. I need a reminder of how to act, regardless of how everyone else is acting. I need a clear standard of behavior in my classroom, and this is it. This is how God wants me to act. He didn’t put qualifiers on it. He didn’t say teachers were exempt. Nope. He just said, act like this! And I need His help through constant prayer to make that happen. But I know if I do, he will bless me for it.
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
So, ditto to what we just said, right? But we could all use another reminder – or again, maybe that is just me.
But I do want to draw your attention to one word there. It is probably the word that hurts the most – humbly…
Pride causes us the most problems. I mean think about it. Most of what we complain about in school stems from the I-don’t-deserve-that mentality. This is not my job. I don’t have to put up with that. Nobody treats me like that. You know the comments. You know the thoughts. We become the most bitter, often times, when our pride is hurt the most.
It is hard to be humble. The world screams attitudes of pride. Humility fights against our human (sinful) nature. Because of that, I know I need to work on my humble attitude as I move into the next school year.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.
Okay, I am going to lovingly say this, because we have all got them – shoot! We may even be them at times. Those co-workers that fuss about everything. Those co-workers that can suck the joy out of a moment faster than my daughter sucks up a forbidden Coke.
Scripture says to keep away from them. And I know that is hard. I like them. We are friends, but if we are going to continue to grow Christ in our classroom, then we have got to keep away.
Now, I don’t mean be rude. No, ma’am. But politely excuse yourself from a conversation if it goes south. Don’t join a group if you know they will be griping, and definitely don’t run to that co-worker when you have a complaint. Sure they will make you feel better through agreeing with you, but you have only pushed yourself further from “the teaching you have learned.” And when we lose sight of God’s promises, we really have no hope in teaching.
I plan on visiting my classroom – alone – some time before school starts and genuinely praying through these. I have also created a 10 scriptures to pray over your classroom printable for easy reference.
Another idea to consider with printable: print it off and cut the scriptures out. Place them all over the classroom. They can be small, almost like a “where’s Waldo” with the Word.
I have done this in the past. I printed off some scripture and placed them all around my room – in the corner of the door, in the corner of my bulletin board, on my filing cabinet – all places where they would not be obvious, but I would know they were there and could look to them for comfort if I needed.
I hope these scriptures are helpful for you and feel free to comment with other scriptures that you believe could impact our classroom through prayer.