Three back-to-school prayers that I really don’t want to pray
Every morning, I pray for our two girls. My prayers are for godly friendships, future spouses, and even that their palate will expand (I love you hamburger… but for real). Yet, at this time of year, I feel a tug to pray more fervently because the unknown of back-to-school looms heavy on this mama’s heart.
A mama’s heart and her brain don’t like unanswered questions like, “Who will be her teacher this year?” When I don’t have answers, I grow fearful and worrisome, and my prayers sound a lot like, “Keep her safe. Let everyone be nice to her. Let there be no accidents at school.”
In my fear and worry, I encircle my babies in bubble-wrap prayers.
While I long for a predictable and, dare I say, boring school experience, God doesn’t promise that, nor does safety seem to be on His radar. The mama in me wants to lift up bubble-wrap prayers for their safety, security, and sameness.
God is a God of adventure, of freedom and liberty, of joy and battle, and of tasks beyond our human capability. He’s the God of abundant life.
Instead of giving in to fear and worry this school year, I’m praying for freedom, even though I prefer safety.
Here are three back-to-school prayers I’m praying over our girls:
1. Grant my child freedom from fear.
God tells us 365 times in scripture that we are not to fear. He knows that we are timid creatures and that fear keeps us from the life He’s created for us. Fear asks us who we think we are, tells us not to bother, and insinuates that we can’t do it.
Fear is a wet blanket over an adventurous life because fear’s favorite word is “no.”
The fearful life is not one I want for our girls, so I ask God to free them from any fear that blocks them from obedience, an abundant life, or loving others.
2. Set them free to be themselves.
BSF‘s study notes from John say that, “Genuine freedom is the gift of living as our magnificent Creator intended,” and I want no less for our girls. I ask that God will free them from the need for approval, recognition, or perfection. I ask that He’ll protect them from the belief that they must hide their talents or be someone they’re not. I pray that they shine as girls who are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I pray that they’ll accept the gifts and talents that God has lavished upon them so that they can serve and love others and glorify Him in ways that fill them up and make them come alive.
3. Enable them to be free to pour out their hearts to You.
As a recovering perfectionist, I struggle with communicating “messy” emotions to God and others, but I want better for our girls. I want them to share every emotion with God and to “feel their feelings while keeping them tethered to perfect Love” (Christy Black Gifford).
I ask that their prayer life would be vibrant because they aren’t trying to clean themselves up before talking to God. I desire that they share their struggles, hopes, heartaches, and where they feel less-than with the God who created them and who can fill their hearts with truth.
It’s scary to ask God for freedom for our kids when we, as parents, gravitate toward safety and protection.
And yet, we know that freedom — not discouragement, sadness, or fear — is what our children were created for. We know that our God is good and faithful to protect and provide for them. We know that He’s the One who is grace and truth and salt and light…
The One in whom, through whom and by whom all things hold together.
The One who takes intentional evil and purposes it for good.
The One who calls us for such a time as this.
The One that cannot be separated from us:
not by death or life,
not by angel or demon,
not by the present or the future,
not by any power,
not by height or depth,
not anything in all creation.
The One who hears and sees and whose arm is not too short to save.
The One who is due all the glory, and the majesty, and the power, and the authority before all ages, now and forever.
Every morning this school year, I’ll lift up our girls in prayer.
I’ll pray for godly friendships, future spouses, and even that their palate will expand. But I’ll also lift up prayers for their freedom because there’s freedom to be found in a God this good. Our brains and hearts don’t need to be wrapped up in the unknown, but only the unchanging foundation that our God is good and He is in control.