Archive for December, 2012

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Lack of Prayer in School – Your Fault!

December 18, 2012

school_prayerAs I listen to the diatribe inflicted on us by well-meaning religious people and politicians, there are several things I can conclude about prayer in schools.

  • Mandated school prayer was probably not effective anyway. The Bible is clear when it tells us not to give in to empty,. repetitive prayers as if God magically answers us because we’re trying. We are told to pray “effectively“, “fervently” and “asking according to the will of God“. The Lord’s Prayer every morning in school does nothing other than teach children to treat God superstitiously.
  • We left the leading of prayer up to people who may not even have believed in God.
  • In the New Testament, prayer was something done with particular focal points, not as rituals, rites and religiosity.

Therefore, it is not the responsibility of schools, governments, civic leaders, military or big business to promote or initiate public prayers. It is the responsible of every God-follower to allow God to use them in prayer. Therefore, I have compiled a list of ten ways YOU can bring prayer into schools. (Note: Though some of these ideas apply more to parents and grand-parents, many of them can be employed by anyone who is a God-follower).

1. Know the name of the teachers at your nearest school and pray for them individually. This is especially true if you have children attending that school. Ask God what you should pray; don’t just offer a generic “Lord, bless this teacher”.

2. Pray for students you know personally at that school. Pray for safety, freedom from bullying, disease and injury. Pray they will know the right choices and will make them when they are called upon to do so.

3. Get together with others – parents, concerned citizens, friends – to pray for specific schools. As with every item on this list, stay away from praying generically. God will show you what to pray by laying burdens on your heart.

4. Have prayer walks around the campus (remember, you have to have permission to go on campus in most districts). Pray for God’s presence to fill that place. (Note: Several friends of mine and I did this recently and were allowed on campus by the principal. He reports that the incidence of violence and drug use went down after we prayed).

5. Volunteer on Campus. Pray for God to give you burdens for individual students you may meet. My wife and I did this several years ago at our daughter’s school. Through prayer, I was able to befriend a young man who always dressed in black and had no friends. Over a six month period, I prayed for him every week. By the end of the school year, he was making friends and no longer wore black. I know my prayers made a difference. He could very well have grown up to be like one of the Columbine kids.

6. Pray for the Principal, Vice-principals, counselors, nurse, custodians, librarians and other technical staff that they will view their job with optimism and not with an eye toward their paycheck only. Pray they also will have a positive impact on the students.

7. Attend school board meetings. Get there early and pray for a spirit of unity and creativity. The School Board sets policies that change the lives of thousands. Yet so few God-followers attend unless they have a problem they want to address. We had a sticky situation in our school district some years ago. They wanted to close one of the schools. There were times people almost came to blows because of the intensity of their emotions. Another believer and I started going to the meetings early and praying for God’s presence to fill the room. From the first meeting we did that, there was a much greater spirit of cooperation.

8. Go to the shopping centers/stores nearby the campus and pray that kids going there after school will not be inundated by drug dealers. Go to the same location and pray that God, by his justice and mercy, will ensure all dealers at those locations are arrested or move out of the area. Several principals have told me they are more worried about what happens immediately after school in nearby stores than what happens during class.

9. Learn the names of the students in your kids’ classes and ask Holy Spirit to give you revelation on how to pray for them. I got to know many of the students in my kids’ classes and even ended up having prophetic messages in prayer for them. Several of them came to me for counseling and I was able to bring truth to their lives.

10. Make the first question when your kids get home from school, “Tell me about the people in your class” instead of “tell me how you did on the test”. Someone devoted to prayer will look for this kind of information as fuel to get their prayers started.

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How To Respond to this Tragedy in Connecticut

December 14, 2012

As a counselor, let me give two pieces of advice, especially to parents right now.

1. Please, please turn off the Television. This is one time that seeing all the images will not help you. Visual stimulus will fuel that fear center and cause you to be focused on an artificial focal point television networks think you need to gaze at (much of which is speculation and sensationalism). Therapists always report a huge uptick in fear-related illnesses and mental pathology after tragedies because of television.

2. Spend the hours you would be watching television reflecting on what this means for you and your family…and for our nation. Then begin to pray.
UPDATE: Here is a tremendous paper written on the effects on children who watch tragedies (such as this one in Connecticut) on television. This excerpt really tells the tale:
Nevertheless, repeated television coverage may perpetuate fear, panic and despair associated with a disaster. A child potentially re-experiences the trauma each time it is witnessed. Many children witness these images without adult supervision. Moreover, media coverage may create anxiety in caregivers which impairs their ability to comfort children impacted by the coverage(6).While media serves an important role in delivering news and current events, often there is a degree of sensationalism and insensitivity to such reporting. The following is an example of a tragedy and the response of the media to such an event.
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