A Pastoral Prayer for the Start of a New School Year
By Rev. Daniel Camp
August 11, 2020
The Rev. Daniel Camp is Pastor of the South Garland Baptist Church of Dallas. We are making his prayer for our Texas schoolchildren our own prayer too-- and for the countless thousands of public schoolteachers, staff members, and superintendents whose calling before Almighty God is to teach and nurture them.
Heavenly Father, We come to you on this strange first day of school asking for your blessings.
For the child whose first day of kindergarten will happen over Zoom, Whose backpack full of school supplies will spend weeks collecting dust in the corner of her bedroom, Who has been talking for months about “when I get to go to school,” We ask for your blessings. For the parent who wonders whether to bother taking a first-day-of-school photo, Who bought a first-day-of-school outfit that’s still hanging in the closet, Whose first-day-of-school tears are different than she’d ever dreamed they’d be, We ask for your blessings. For the teacher who spent hours decorating her vacant classroom, Who won’t meet his students in person for weeks—and may never meet some of them, Who will only see the smiling faces of children on a computer screen today, We ask for your blessings.
For the child who longs to play with his friends, Who doesn’t understand why the school playground is roped off, Who feels isolated and alone, We ask for your blessings. For the parent who has become a full-time tutor, Who misses the routine and the freedom of pick-up and drop-off, Who has had to sacrifice her own pursuits to stay home with her child, We ask for your blessings. For the teacher who is learning on the fly, Whose lesson plans and teaching methods are changing daily, Who is trying to understand, We ask for your blessings.
For the child who is closer to college than kindergarten, Whose visions of prom and graduation have become murky, Who just wants a normal year, We ask for your blessings. For the parent whose calendar is devoid of recitals and football games, Who doesn’t know what to look forward to right now, Who just wants a normal year, We ask for your blessings. For the teacher who is pondering early retirement, Who wonders if this is all worth the hassle, Who just wants a normal year, We ask for your blessings.
For all who are disappointed and all who are excited, For all who are angry and all who are hopeful, For all who are afraid and all who are eager, For all who are learning and all who are ready to learn, We ask for your blessings.
This is the day that the Lord has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Amen.