Core scripture: “I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath” (Psalm 116: 1-2).
Message: I have a taped reminder below my keyboard on my desk at work. Every morning when I walk in and toss my shoulder bag down to sit down at my computer, the reminder is there to ground me and keep me focused on what is pure and right: Don’t forget to pray. Four words that need to be said. Four words that need to be in my heart. To prepare myself for the day, I commune with the Lord in prayer, lifting up any praises or concerns that need to be said. And with my “amen” I am able to tackle whatever issues I may come across throughout the day. Not through my own power but through God’s.
This week’s message is dedicated to the importance of prayer. I have never done a blog like this, but I thought trying something new might elicit some new thoughts. When it comes to prayer, many scriptures come to mind. Paul reminds us to, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18). That pray without ceasing line always gets me. How do we do it? How can we be in constant communion with God through our day? Sometimes I think it is just opening our eyes to different things we can pray for.
Without further ado, I want to bless you with a list of 50 ways to pray. They include my own ideas, powerful scripture, and anything else God is lying on my heart this morning. I hope you take time to read the list, soak it in, and prayerfully ask God which ideas you can utilize in your own prayer life.
- Pray for your unreached colleagues that God might make Himself seen in their lives.
- Pray over your students desks before the day begins. If you have a specific kid that is struggling, stand over that kid’s desk and lift him or her up.
- Pray for your school’s administration to make Godly decisions.
- Pray for your students’ home lives that God would give them a safe, secure environment to grow and mature.
- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4: 6).
- Pray for any threats of bullying to be squelched by the love of God.
- Pray for God to use you in amazing ways, utilizing your talents for His glory.
- “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11: 24).
- Pray for your students’ parents that they would provide the right Godly influence in their lives and lead them to Christ.
- Pray for your students to rise to high expectations and that you can keep your expectations where they need to be so your students can be appropriately challenged.
- Pray down the locker hallways, in bathrooms, the gymnasium, and other places where drama might occur so that God’s love will shine through.
- Pray for your mouth to spread words of encouragement and life to others.
- Pray for your Christian students that they can be lights for Christ and be bold in their faith.
- Pray for opportunities to share your testimony with colleagues that would benefit from hearing it.
- Pray for your quiet leaders to come out of their shells and become outspoken for Christ.
- Pray for the right community members to be hooked up to students in need. The Youth Mentoring program at our school allows community members to have lunch with needy kids.
- “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8: 26).
- Pray for your custodial staff that they would realize the work they do is priceless and much more important than they get credit for.
- Pray for your students to be kind to the lunch ladies and men who serve selflessly on a daily basis.
- Pray for your family on breaks. One of the most memorable phone calls I ever made from school was to my wife over lunch. She was exhausted, overwhelmed, and spiraling out of control from having our first baby, and all I did was pray for her. With tears racking her voice, all she could say was, “Thank you.”
- Pray for students to use their technology to spread words of life, not hate.
- Pray that your room could be a safe place for students to seek your guidance if they ever need help in life.
- “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6: 6).
- Pray for Christian teachers on the fence to be bolder in their faith.
- Pray that you will NEVER take your faith for granted.
- Pray that God would raise up more Christian teachers to be lights for Him in public education.
- Pray quietly in your head when anger strikes. Be careful with your words, and be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1: 19).
- Pray for students to bring up opportunities to share God’s love in class discussion. One of my proudest moments as a teacher was seeing a quiet Christian girl challenge the Outsiders poem of “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by saying that God’s love will always reign supreme forever. Amen!
- Pray for patience for all teachers.
- Pray for your mouth to be aware of any gossip it may be spreading.
- “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11: 9).
- Pray that your building can commune regularly in fellowship with Christian teachers to pray together.
- Pray for your office staff to be positive, helpful lights for Christ as visitors come in.
- Pray that Christian students would be bold enough to read their Bibles in the classroom.
- Pray that Christian students would be bold enough to invite the nonreached to outside church events.
- Pray that Christian students would be bold enough to regularly attend groups like FCA that would challenge them to live their faith out.
- Pray that the world of education would realize the importance of the Newsboys lyrics to their song “Guilty” when they sing, “When did it become breaking a rule to say your name out loud in school when your name’s the only one that sets us free.”
- “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jeremiah 33: 3).
- “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26: 41).
- Pray for opportunities to teach life lessons of character to your students.
- Pray for God to open doors to show His love on the athletic fields.
- Pray for your student athletes to represent your school in a positive, Godly way, showing sportsmanship.
- Pray for your students to effectively manage their time.
- Pray for your own effective use of time management.
- Pray for smiles to be seen in your classroom all day long.
- Pray that your students who are depressed or suicidal will receive the help they need.
- Pray for your building counselors that they can guide your students through life’s problems.
- “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34: 17).
- Pray that God’s angels will protect those students who are being bombarded with life’s troubles.
- Pray in your down times throughout the day to refresh your spirit, and listen to God’s still small voice, nudging you where you need to be.
Challenge: Which of these ideas were new to you? Which might be useful to integrate in your own prayer life? Try them out! Utilize them! Let God’s spirit flow through your every essence to guide you to pray without ceasing.
Song to bring it home: Most every prayer ends with one simple word: amen. The word amen actually means “so be it.” When we recite an amen at the end of the prayer, we are basically willing God to let His ways be seen, and when we all say it together, that my friends, is quite amazing. Therefore, I encourage you to listen to Matt Maher’s “All the People Said Amen” for an uplifting, powerful, and quite catchy tune that is sure to inspire.
Prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139: 23-24). Amen!