Dr. Jackie Minor
PRAY, PREP and PRAISE
August is just around the corner. Can you believe it? Educators are gearing up while children (and parents) are counting down the days to the first day of school. I love the start of the school year! There is a buzz in the air as rejuvenated educators enter spotless, empty classrooms awaiting their special touch. Magic happens here. Students who were lonely over the summer will feel part of a family once again. They will learn. They will grow. They will make new friends. It is such an exciting time!
During these last few weeks, many educators will be designing lesson plans, developing resources, attending professional development and organizing classrooms – all necessary activities to be fully prepared to welcome students.
However, as important as these activities are, it is just as critical to begin the school year spiritually prepared. God has a special plan for you this year. You may have a student who needs an extra dose of patience and love. A colleague might struggle and you will be the person they turn to. You may be working for a new leader who needs your visible support. Whatever your situation is, rest assured nothing and no one we encounter is by accident.
May I suggest three P’s for us to consider as we look forward to a new school year?
Never underestimate the power of prayer. It is our lifeline! There are so many verses in the bible about prayer but one of my favorites is Luke 5:16: But He himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Do you know who this verse is referring to? JESUS! Not only did Jesus pray OFTEN but he isolated himself. When praying he chose to be completely alone, free of distractions. If this was important for Jesus, the son of God, how much more critical is it for us? As you prepare for this year, frequently find time to be alone. Consider praying for the students, parents, colleagues and leaders God will purposefully place in your path. Pray the Holy Spirit will guide your thoughts and actions as God uses you to shine the light of Jesus to those around you.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
No good teacher walks into class without a lesson plan. Likewise, we shouldn’t enter into a new school year without a plan to align ourselves with God’s word and purpose for our lives. While prayer will assist us in this preparation, spending time in God’s word provides guidance as we discern daily actions and decisions.
To begin the year, choose a few guiding verses. Put the verses on a sticky note on your desk or computer. Refer to the verses often. Let those verses guide you. Remember, God has a plan for you this year. Prepare your heart and mind.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
There is something that happens to us when we maintain an attitude of praise. An attitude of praise takes the focus off of ourselves and reminds of who God is. In the Old Testament, David experienced a great deal of turmoil and persecution and yet in just about every Psalm you will read verses like the following:
“Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me.” Psalm 103:1-2.
In the New Testament, Paul and Silas were in prison when we read: But about midnight when Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise and the prisoners were listening to them…. Acts 16:25
In prison and still singing praises! You may be starting this school year with trepidation or with excitement. It doesn’t matter. We can always praise God because He is good. He is kind. He is faithful, He is sovereign and He promises to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Praise Him!
Teaching is hard work. Plain and simple. Teaching is also a high calling. Influencing the lives of children everyday is not to be taken lightly. Don’t begin this school year unprepared.
Pray, Prep and Praise!