Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pray for teachers

"God, giver of all wisdom, bless our schools, and help our educators and administrators to faithfully perform the work that you have given them. Amen."

~Adapted from a prayer by F. D. Maurice (received in today's Sojourner magazine's daily "Verse & Voice" email).

Teaching is a pretty beleaguered profession lately- whether it's Republican governors revoking their right to collective bargaining, nasty editorials blaming them for poor test scores, anxious parents frustrated by their kid's report cards, or disrespectful students who treat them like retail clerks- teacher's are really getting beat up by society. But even if you agree with everyone who dislikes teachers- remember that Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).

So... instead of resenting teachers, complaining about teachers, trying to get them fired, or seeing how far you can push them until the quit or have a nervous break-down... why not pray for them? (This fits pretty well with Timothy 2:1-2 if you're still a student, rather than a parent or not involved with schools anymore).

Teachers spend their days trying to prepare children for adulthood in the real world. They're not perfect, they're human just like you are. Wait? They're human? So maybe we should help them "bear their burdens," like it says in Galatians 6:2 or maybe we should try to encourage them and build them up like 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

Supporting, encouraging, loving and praying for people. I don't know many teachers that don't try to practice these things all day long and all school-year long for their students. I'll stipulate that there are selfish jerks out there, but fortunately, in my experience, they're pretty rare. You usually don't become a teacher if you don't genuinely care about kids or making a difference. There are a helluva lot of better ways to make more money- that's for sure!

Since most teachers care for (or at least try to care for) our children, why don't we return the favor. Come to think of it, maybe the teachers out there who aren't as supportive or encouraging as we wish they would be need our prayers even more! All teachers need out patience and understanding. They're under a lot of pressure and have some pretty lofty expectations demanded of them.

It's not some special holiday or "be kind to teachers" week or anything like that- it's just a great idea. Whether you're a student, a parent, or just a former student, take a minute to pray for the teachers in your town. God knows they need it. And the next time you're tempted to complain about a school, a principal or teachers- please take some time to pray for them first, then decide if you still want to complain later.

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