Soon the fun of summer days at the beach, exotic vacations, or simply relaxing around the house will come to a close, and students, teachers, and parents will walk into their new classrooms with anticipation of the school year to come.
Right around this time, I return to my classroom to get prepared for working with the new students who will come to me full of expectation. Sometimes I just stand in the middle of the room and visualize what I want the environment to look like. Sometimes I review books and lesson plans that I want to use for effective lessons. Sometimes I work at setting up bulletin boards and desk arrangements. And all of the time I pray.
I pray silently, minute by minute, hour by hour, to recognize the God-given talents of each student who will walk through the door. I pray that I will reflect only the good that God wants each of the participants in the educational process to receive. I pray to have the wisdom to know what each student needs, and to have the strength to supply those needs or be guided to the resources to provide the needs of each student. I pray to be a window that allows God's love for all of His children to dream and grow into their fully formed potential.
I pray to deny any thoughts or opinions that would try to have me believe that any child of God's is a "failure" or "problem" or "incapable." I pray to see each child as a bright and shining reflection of God.
The Bible states: "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kind of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will" (I Cor. 12:8-11).
As I think about a new school year, I pray to see each student as having individual talents and gifts given to each of them by one loving God, and I pray to be able to recognize and enhance those gifts.
Prayer is a private thing to me. I would never dream of infringing on anyone else's right to privacy and choice in regard to prayer by imposing my belief in God on my students. But I also feel so grateful that I have the right to pray at any moment, in any place. The prayer that I know and love is something that I do deep in my heart, in the solitude of my own private thoughts. And I can do that at any time.
The Bible tells how to pray privately: "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (Matt. 6:6).
Mary Baker Eddy goes on to explain this type of prayer in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." She writes, "In order to pray aright, we must enter into the closet and shut the door. We must close the lips and silence the material senses. In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny sin and plead God's allness. We must resolve to take up the cross, and go forth with honest hearts to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love. We must 'pray without ceasing' " (pg. 15).
As the new school year draws nearer, I'm working diligently to "go forth with an honest heart to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love." I am disciplining myself to "pray without ceasing."
The effectual fervent
prayer of a righteous man