That Time of Year
It’s back-to-school season. And that’s weird to me.
This is only my second year of not going back to school, but it still feels strange. My heart and mind are in sync with the school calendar. And as a student, September seems more like the beginning of a new year than January. It’s a new season—new classes, new teachers, new backpacks, new books, new schedule. The longer, lazier days of summer shift into the shorter, sharper days of fall.
When I was a student, the end of the summer season was all about preparation—getting my books, supplies, and calendar ready, gearing up for the new year.
But it’s only in recent years that I’ve realized there’s something else students should prepare as they approach a new school year: their hearts. They need to recalibrate and tune them to the frequency of focused faithfulness. And the way that they do that is through prayer. Intentional prayer.
There’s something else students should prepare as they approach a new school year: their hearts.
So, students (and those who have or serve students), here are seven specific things to pray as you go back to school.
1. Pray for gratitude.
Education is a profound privilege. Over 70 million young people don’t have access to it, so if you do, that’s a providential gift from a benevolent God. Do you realize that?
Pray that God would make you grateful for it, that he’d awaken you to the rich blessings he’s bestowed on you. Pray with thanksgiving for the opportunities and privileges he’s given you—and pray that you won’t grow oblivious or hardened to them.
2. Pray for humility.
I’m ashamed to admit that, as a student, there were times when I was the know-it-all kid. I was the one who thought she had all the answers, who thought that she and the instructors were intellectual equals. What I regularly lacked (and sorely needed) was humility.
Students, don’t make the same mistakes I made. Pray for God to break any pride in your heart and give you a willingness to submit and grow this year. Pray for a teachable spirit. Pray for protection against self-righteousness and self-pity and arrogance. And pray for empathy and compassion.
3. Pray for witnessing opportunities.
Whether your school is public, private, or Christian, whether you attend university or community college, or even if you’re homeschooled, ask God to give you opportunities to share the gospel and be a witness. Pray for boldness and clarity. Pray for faithfulness. Pray that God would put people in your life and give you the courage to reach out to them with the message of hope that you hold.
4. Pray for serving opportunities.
Pray that God would make you a sacrificial student who’s keenly aware of how you can serve those around you. Pray that he would give you chances to serve your teachers, your classmates, your family, your friends, and whomever you meet—opportunities to comfort the hurting, speak life, encourage, help, heal, love—and then seize those opportunities when they come.
5. Pray for diligence.
Pray that God would make you a dedicated, committed student this year. But don’t pray for praise, accolades, achievement, or grades; instead, pray for diligence. Pray that you would remember you’re working for God, not man (Col. 3:23), and that you would prioritize faithfulness over favor.
6. Pray for the people around you.
Pray for your teachers, advisors, and coaches—that God would give them wisdom, strength, and grace. Pray for your classmates—that God would prepare their hearts, that he’d save the unsaved, and that they would find joy this year. Pray for your friends—that they’d be motivated, faithful, and diligent. Pray for those who work at your school—that God would give them patience, delight, and encouragement. Pray for your family—that God would give them peace in this new season, wisdom in daily life, and contentment in the mundane.
7. Pray for joy.
Pray that you’d find happiness in Christ this year. Pray that your life won’t be marked by discouragement, frustration, and anger, but peace and satisfaction. Pray for trust and confidence in your identity in Christ and ask for a greater desire to serve and please him. Pray for joy this year.
And you can pray with confidence, because we know God hears the prayers of his people. “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).
Students, call on the Lord this year for help and hope and faith and joy—and watch him answer your prayers.
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