A Prayer Guide: How to Pray for Schools
Why Prayer is Important
Today, more than ever, our schools need our prayers. Whether you pray by yourself or gather a group to pray with you, remember that prayer is doing something! God covets the prayers of his people and our educators, administrators and students need the prayers of the Christians in their schools. Most importantly, by praying, you can remind others to pray as well for continuing needs, such as:
- Students who have difficult home lives.
- Pressure to pass standardized tests.
- Cuts in funding.
- Public perception that schools aren't doing enough.
- Low salaries for teachers.
- Kids who aren't prepared for school.
- School bullying.
- Dealing with Social Media.
Organized Prayer Walking: Yet, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to pray for our schools. Recently, our Acteens group of teenage girls went to prayer walk their own Junior High and High School. In previous prayer walks, we had discussed what to pray for, but this time, we decided we wanted to give the girls a prayer walking guide to help them pray for their schools. Having a guide was a good way to focus the group.
Informal Prayer Walking: Prayer walks can be done by parents and educators as well as teens. You don't have to walk around the school as we did. Many students participate in Gather at the Pole to pray for their school each year. Parents can also make it a habit to pray as they drive their children to and from school each day, and students can pray as they walk between classes, wait in class, or walk to lunch.
Prayer Stations: As we've added girls from different schools, we realized we wanted to cover needs from more than one campus, so instead of walking around the campus, we've set up prayer stations for different campuses in a room at our church. Using candles, Christian art and fabric dividers, we've created a prayer room atmosphere that the students really enjoyed. We had them do a variety of activities, such as:
- Praying aloud as a group.
- Praying silently over needs that were written on cards.
- Praying by writing post-it notes and putting them on a poster with pictures from that school.
- Writing personal prayers for problems at their school and putting them in a box.
- Using the newspaper headlines to pray.
- Praying aloud as a group using Scriptures.
Prayer Walk Poll
Have you gone on a prayer walk before?
Step by Step Instructions
- Get Permission: If you are walking on school grounds, it is important to get permission if possible. Since we had a large group and we were walking on a Sunday evening, we contacted the Principals at both schools to ask their permission. It might also be possible to walk outside of school property if you have concerns.
- Give Clear Instructions: We started off the walk by gathering together, passing out the prayer walk guides and discussing how to pray. Because the girls were walking over their own schools, we urged them to think about people they knew who needed prayer and to use the guides to prompt them about what to pray.
- Walking and Silent Prayer: After praying as a group, we walked single file around each school in silent prayer. Periodically, the girls would refer to their sheets in order to get more ideas for what to pray. It took us about 15-20 minutes to walk around each school. In the past, when we have walked the two school separately, we would sometimes go around twice.
- Gather Together for Group Prayer: At the end of our walk, we gathered everyone together and had a chance for praying out loud. I was very touched at how deeply some of the girls prayed for teachers, friends, and their school.
- Reminder to Continue to Pray: One of the most important goals for our walk was to impress on the girls that they can pray every day as they walk across the school. Giving them the prayer guide is a reminder of things that they can pray for that they may not have thought about before.
Example from One Youth Group
This prayer guide can help you to think about what you can pray for as you do a prayer walk at school.
Pray for Students, Teachers, Administrators and Staff you know: As you walk, think about the different people you know at school. Ask God to bring people to your mind who need your prayers. You can pray that they can:
- deal with the stress they feel without hurting other people
- make good decisions
- be forgiving
- be kind and loving
- be thankful
- have energy
- do a good job
- have an understanding of other people and be forgetful when people do them wrong
- have love, have joy, have peace, have patience, have goodness, have faithfulness, have self-control
- be thoughtful of other people
- do the right thing
- get help if they are hurting
- will do a good job
- will come to know Jesus (if they are not believers)
- will show Jesus in what they do and say (if they are believers)
Pray for People You May Not Know: Along with praying for people you know, you can pray for people in the school that you don't know but God does know. Here are some of the people in schools that you can pray for:
- Principal, Vice Principal and Counselors
- Secretaries, nurses, receptionist, and other office workers
- Staff in cafeteria
- Maintenance workers
- Crossing Guards
- Bus Drivers
- School Board who makes decisions for the school
- P.T.A. parents
- Students who are leaders on campus
- Christian students, you know
- Students who have a hard time doing schoolwork
- Students you know who have a hard time at home, or in family
- Students who are disruptive in class
- Students who are bullies to others or just mean
- Students who get bullied, gossiped about or ignored
- Students who feel like no one cares
Scripture to Use
Matthew 5: 3-16
1 Corinthians 13
1 Peter 2: 12-17, 3: 8-17
Galations 5: 22-26, 6: 1-9
1 Peter 5: 1-11
Ephesians 1: 16-23, 3: 14-21
2 Peter 1: 1-8
Colossians 3: 1-17
1 John 3
1 Thes. 5: 12-24
James 5: 7-20
2 Tim. 2: 15-16, 22-26
Hebrews 12: 1-14
Another effective way to prayer walk is to pray from the Bible, or take a list of Scripture verses and use these in your prayers. You can just read these as prayers, or else personalize them to make them into a prayer for your school or for a person at your school.
What Scriptures can you use? The best Bible verses for a prayer walk are ones which are prayers or verses about encouragement. The Psalms and the letters of Paul (Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians, 1 and 2nd Thessalonians, and 1 and 2 Timothy are my favorites).
How do you Pray From the Bible?
- If you are leading a group in praying, you might want to pick some Bible verses ahead of time for people to pray. You can use my list or find some of your own.
- If you are praying on your own, you may just want to just read through one of the letters from Paul like Ephesians and then stop and pray when you find a verse which is a good prayer for your school.
- You can pray out loud or silently. If you are praying with a group, you can have each person look for Scriptures to pray in a different book of the Bible.
Example of Praying from the Bible:
Praying from 1 Thessalonians 5: 11-13: Dear Lord, I ask that you help the Christian students at the school to encourage each other and build each other up. I ask that you help them to appreciate their teachers who diligently labor among them. I ask that John and Christine will tell their teachers today that they appreciate them and esteem them very highly in love because of their work. I ask that the students in Mrs. Johnson's class live at peace with one another.
Praying from 2 Timothy 2: 15-16: Dear God Almighty, I pray that the Christian students from our Church at the High School will be diligent to present themselves approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. I also pray especially that they will avoid worldly and empty chatter like gossip and mean talk about other people.
Do you have ideas for how to pray for schools? Please share them in the comments so that we can be encouraged with more ideas of how to pray effectively. I'd also love other ideas of good Bible Verses to use in praying for students and teachers in schools.