But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
When I struggle, I lean on Isaiah 43:1-4 for comfort and guidance. This verse helps me understand that I am not alone. Whatever the enemy throws at me, the Lord will be there as I go through it. For the past thirty-two years, I have been an educator at all levels of education, including special education. Having become a Christian just a few months before accepting my first teaching job, I have been able to grow as a teacher and administrator, and at the same time, I have been able to grow in Christ.
For the last seventeen years, I have had the opportunity to serve as an administrator in an elementary school in Kansas. There have been joyous times, along with times of sorrow. I have had the chance to watch thousands of children grow up and move on to their adult lives. I have also experienced the grief of saying goodbye too early to others. The one thing I can be sure of is the Lord has placed me here for a reason. I am not here to question why I am facing these trials, although, like many others, I often struggle with questioning. I have been placed in this position to help lead others and to stand in the gap for those in my school. I can only do this by using the Lord’s guidance to pray for His intervention and protection. Thanks to the Lord’s blessing, the years I have experienced working within education have given me immeasurable joy.
During my time in education, I have seen firsthand the slow fade of our schools away from allowing Christian values and ideas in the building. The culture of keeping beliefs hidden seems to be developing into an outright hostility toward Christianity. Ponder this for a moment. Many reading this might be the only Christian educator in their building, the last hope of so many to experience Christ in their lives. In our society, it is easy to come into the building each day with the understanding we are surrounded by some unseen struggle. Too often, as Christian educators, we see ourselves as alone, fighting a losing battle to keep Christ first in our lives. It is easy to hear the world tell us repeatedly that prayer does not belong in schools.
As a reminder, the Bible informs us that we are in a battle, a struggle with unseen forces. This enemy wants nothing more than to have us retreat into our classrooms or, better yet, leave education altogether. We will not win this spiritual battle by hiding and withdrawing from the attack. Instead, Christian educators should do everything possible to face these trials head-on. Remember, we are not alone. Not only are there most likely other Christian educators nearby, but the Spirit is living in us. The Lord will go before us and stand with us during these trials. He will not forsake us.
Prayer is something the enemy does not want us to do. He will give us reasons why we should not pray. The more he attacks, the more we are tempted to remain silent. Our nature is to withdraw from the situation and be quiet. Too often, we leave the battlefield to the enemy and pull back. When this thought enters your mind, I challenge you to pray harder. Take on the fight and refuse to back down.
Do whatever it takes: walk the school hallways, pray silently in your classroom, or start a small study group. Find any opportunity to invite the Lord to move in your school. Make sure to take the fight throughout the building. Go past each room and pray for the teachers and staff who work there. Know their hearts and be specific about your prayers. If they seem to oppose your faith, pray for them even more diligently. Let the enemy know that there will be daily prayer as long as the Lord has you in this school.
As hard as it is sometimes, pray for the leadership in the building and district. Ask the Lord to surround them with protection to allow them to think clearly when they make decisions. Remember, the Lord has placed these people in leadership positions for a reason. Our job is to pray that the enemy does not gain a foothold in their lives. Frustrate the enemy’s attacks whenever possible. If a leader happens to be a Christian, find out specifics on what you can pray for. Do not be bashful or fearful; ask your administrators how to call out to the Lord on their behalf. The enemy does not want a Christian leader to be successful. He will attempt to isolate our leaders and steal their confidence. You can let them know at least one person is praying for their success!
I would like to tell you that prayer will make everything better, but the Lord may have other plans. He will stand with us when times are hard and give us the strength to face these trials, but He may not take the trial away. Prayer is our not-so-secret weapon to take the battle directly to the enemy, but the enemy will be determined to find ways to stop you.
The most critical piece to remember is the enemy has been in this world since the beginning of creation and understands the power of our prayers. He desperately wants us to refrain from using that weapon and will use whatever means he can to stop us. He also knows our weaknesses and struggles, so there will be times when we are a force through prayer that he will attack repeatedly. He will make us doubt, frustrate, and feel isolated. Don’t let him use his cunning attacks to convince you to stop serving the Lord in our schools and praying for other students and staff.
If Christ is living in you, you have the power to face the enemy head-on wherever you are. You can combat the Father of Lies using the power of the Spirit. Call out to the Lord, pray earnestly, and stand in the gap for those students, teachers, and staff who need Him. Most importantly, remember that you are NEVER alone.