Prayer For Christian Teachers
Encouragement for Christian teachers
Maintaining a professional website has been a balancing game for me. On one hand, I need to reach teachers who are solely interested in educational resources. On the other hand, I have a desire to share ideas with an eternal value and deeper implications.
I’ve personally experienced how the love of God can transform the way we approach our work as teachers, and to leave out that message would be to waste an incredible opportunity to help educators who want to incorporate their spirituality into their daily work.
I’ve experienced an unexplainable joy that comes from striving to know God more and incorporating Him into my everyday routines. Nothing I have accomplished so far has been done apart from His power and grace.
Sharing so much of what I do on a daily basis in the classroom is nearly impossible without mentioning Him.
I created this page and The Cornerstone Devotions for Teachers to encourage teachers to seek God as their source of strength in all they do and view even the most mundane aspects of teaching as part of a divine calling.
A word of encouragement
There are many days when I feel impatient with the kids– the three thousandth time I have reminded them to put their names on their papers and am still faced with the inevitable task of handwriting scrutiny to determine the authorship of four random papers.
I want to chastise them (“How many times have I told you??”) but the thought always occurs to me–how many times have I done that to God? How many times has He corrected me with loving-kindness only for me to turn around and make the exact same mistakes over and over again, sometimes even willfully! What if Jesus treated us that way: “This is the last time I’m going to tell you to do this. Next time, forget it, I’m not helping you. Don’t come crying to me when the consequences fly in your face.” His patience is endless, and that is how He calls us to be.
His grace is the model for how we are to treat others–rendering favor when we don’t have to and changing our focus from giving students what they ‘deserve’ to seeing them how God sees them.That doesn’t mean there are no consequences–God is a just God (Isaiah 30:18), He is a God of order and not of chaos (1 Corinthians 14:33), and He speaks repeatedly in His word about how children must be taught obedience and respect (Proverbs 22:6, 22:15, 23:13, 29:15, Ephesians 6:1, Colossians 3:20).
But our place is not to condemn and criticize, it is to lift up our students.
When I deal with a particularly challenging student or parent, rather than saying, “This kid doesn’t care, his parents don’t care, I give up, I’m not dealing with it anymore”, I try to pray for them instead, that God would work through me to bring positive change. That’s really hard to do sometimes and I end up praying for my own attitude to change more than anything!
The books of Ephesians and Galatians always remind me of the character God wants me to have (all scripture in the New King James Version):
Do not let any unwholesome talk come your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23, italics added)
These are the attributes God calls Christians to show, and I know that He would especially want us to demonstrate those qualities towards the precious little ones in our care.
We are to love them unconditionally, have joy in our work, let the peace we have inside show on the outside, be patient with others’ shortcomings, model kindness and goodness, be gentle with our words, and have self-control when we are tempted to make harsh or rash decisions.What a calling! And how wonderful that we can call upon Him for help when these things seem too difficult to manage.
We should also keep in mind that the Bible tells us: Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
(James 3:1) I personally believe that this verse applies not only to teachers of the word of God but also to anyone in a position to dispel knowledge to others in a formalized setting.
In other words, those of us who are pillars in the community, whose lives are on display in front of impressionable young people, who mold the attitudes and priorities of children and are responsible for teaching them truth and wisdom–we are held to a higher standard by God.
Our influence on students cannot be overestimated.
Don’t we all remember a horrible teacher from our childhood who embarrassed us or made us feel we were worth nothing? And doesn’t each of us recall a fabulous teacher who inspired and encouraged us? What a powerful impression these teachers made, for good or for bad–we still remember them far into our adult years. As educators, we have an awesome responsibility and privilege set before us and we are called to take it on with grace and wisdom.
Although sharing our faith is not appropriate in a public school setting, we have the privilege and obligation before God to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit when working with our students, their parents, and our co-workers.
We are called to work as unto the Lord, not as unto man, and strive to do everything with excellence. Other people should be able to tell through our actions that something about us is different.
Showing Christ’s love through the way we live our lives is the most powerful witness we can have.
“You [believers] are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” -Jesus (Matthew 5:14-16)IN SUMMARY: Students have more religious freedom than we as teachers do. Our job is to make sure that all of our students feel comfortable, respected, and accepted in our classrooms.
The best and only truly legal way to express our spiritual beliefs in school is through the witness of how we live our lives; striving to be modest in appearance and attitude, honest and full of integrity, avoiding gossip, helping others whenever we can, showing patience and respect to our students, and sharing the joy and peace that we have found in God through a positive attitude.
Developing the right mindset
I wrote this book to encourage teachers who WANT to stay positive and keep a good attitude, but struggle because of the random, endless list of stuff that just seems to pop up everyday, all day long in school.
Awakened provides specific, actionable steps you can take to change your perspective and automatic response to stressful situations. Though this is not written just for Christian teachers, each suggestion is biblically-sound principles.
People who don’t know the Lord will find solid, common-sense, practical advice, and believers will recognize tips that reinforce the truth of God’s word. More information about the book can be found here.
Check out the devotions!
The Cornerstone Devotions for Teachers is a separate blog I maintain to provide spiritual support for educators. I try to post at least once a month. You can subscribe to new posts from the devotions page to get new devotions sent automatically to your email inbox.
NEW–Join the Cornerstone devotions for teachers on !
Our community now has a new page! Stop by and tell us what you teach and what you need prayer for. Share something awesome that God’s doing in your classroom or in your life. Or just hang back, and wait for something that’s posted to speak to you. I don’t know exactly what this whole endeavor will look , or what each of our roles will be, but I’m excited to see what God has planned.
2011 Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity, January 18 – 25
Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity 2011 is January 18 – 25, 2011.
Every year the Missionaries Of Prayer participates in this event by calling Christians to prayer using the outline provided by the World Council of Churches.
We invite you to visit the site each day during this week to pray for the Unity of the Body of Christ.
We also ask you to consider sharing this page with others via email, or so that we can have others in the body of Christ praying.
A worldwide fellowship of 349 churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service
Four elements of unity
The 2011 prayers for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been prepared by Christians in Jerusalem, who chose as a theme Acts 2:42, ‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
’ This theme is a call back to the origins of the first church in Jerusalem; it is a call for inspiration and renewal, a return to the essentials of the faith; it is a call to remember the time when the church was still one.
Within this theme four elements are presented which were marks of the early Christian community, and which are essential to the life of the Christian Community wherever it exists. Firstly, the Word was passed on by the apostles. Secondly, fellowship (koinonia) was an important mark of the early believers whenever they met together.
A third mark of the early Church was the celebration of the Eucharist (the ‘breaking of the bread’), remembering the New Covenant which Jesus has enacted in his suffering, death and resurrection. The fourth aspect is the offering of constant prayer. These four elements are the pillars of the life of the church, and of its unity.
The Christian Community in the Holy Land wishes to give prominence to these basic essentials as it raises its prayers to God for the unity and vitality of the church throughout the world. The Christians of Jerusalem invite their sisters and brothers around the world to join them in prayer as they struggle for justice, peace and prosperity for all people of the land.
The themes of the eight days
There is a journey of faith that can be discerned in the themes of the eight days.
From its first beginnings in the upper room, the early Christian community experiences the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, enabling it to grow in faith and unity, in prayer and in action, so that it truly becomes a community of the Resurrection, united with Christ in his victory over all that divides us from each other and from him. The church in Jerusalem then itself becomes a beacon of hope, a foretaste of the heavenly Jerusalem, called to reconcile not just our churches but all peoples. This journey is guided by the Holy Spirit, who brings the early Christians to the knowledge of the truth about Jesus Christ, and who fills the early Church with signs and wonders, to the amazement of many. As they continue their journey, the Christians of Jerusalem gather with devotion to listen to the Word of God set forth in the apostles’ teaching, and come together in fellowship to celebrate their faith in sacrament and prayer. Filled with the power and hope of the Resurrection, the community celebrates its certain victory over sin and death, so that it has the courage and vision to be itself a tool of reconciliation, inspiring and challenging all people to overcome the divisions and injustice that oppress them.
Day 1 sets forth the background to the mother church of Jerusalem, making clear its continuity with the church throughout the world today. It reminds us of the courage of the early church as it boldly witnessed to the truth, just as we today need to work for justice in Jerusalem, and in the rest of the world.
Day 2 recalls that the first community united at Pentecost contained within itself many diverse origins, just as the church in Jerusalem today represents a rich diversity of Christian traditions. Our challenge today is to achieve greater visible unity in ways that embrace our differences and traditions.Day 3 looks at the first essential element of unity; the Word of God delivered through the teaching of the apostles. The church in Jerusalem reminds us that, whatever our divisions, these teachings urge us to devote ourselves in love to each other, and in faithfulness to the one body which is the church.
Day 4 emphasis Sharing as the second expression of unity. Just as the early Christians held all things in common, the Church in Jerusalem calls upon all brothers and sisters in the church to share goods and burdens with glad and generous hearts, so that nobody stays in need.
Day 5 expresses the third element of unity; the Breaking of the Bread, which joins us in hope.
Our unity goes beyond Holy Communion; it must include a right attitude towards ethical living, the human person and the whole community.
The Jerusalem church urges Christians to unite in “the breaking of bread” today, because a divided church cannot speak out with authority on issues of Justice and Peace.
Day 6 presents the fourth mark of unity; with the church in Jerusalem, we draw strength from spending time in prayer. Specifically, the Lord’s Prayer calls all of us in Jerusalem and throughout the world, the weak and the mighty, to work together for justice, peace and unity that God’s Kingdom may come.
Day 7 takes us beyond the four elements of unity, as the Jerusalem church joyfully proclaims the Resurrection even while it bears the pain of the Cross. The Resurrection of Jesus is for Christians in Jerusalem today hope and strength that enables them to remain constant in their witness, working for freedom and peace in the City of Peace.
Day 8 concludes the journey with a call from the Jerusalem churches to the wider service of reconciliation.Even if Christians achieve unity among themselves, their work is not done, for they need to reconcile themselves with others.
In the Jerusalem context this means Palestinian and Israeli; in other communities, Christians are challenged to seek justice and reconciliation in their own context.
The theme of each day has therefore been chosen not only to recall for us of the history of the early church, but also to bring to mind the experiences of Christians in Jerusalem today, and to invite us all to reflect upon how we may bring that experience into the lives of our local Christian communities.
During this journey of eight days, the Christians of Jerusalem invite us to proclaim and bear witness that Unity – in its fullest sense of faithfulness to the Apostles’ teachings and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and the prayers – will enable us together to overcome evil, not just in Jerusalem, but throughout the world.
The preparation of the material for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2011
The initial work leading to the publication of this booklet was done by a group of Christian leaders from Jerusalem. They gathered at the invitation of the World Council of Churches. Their work was facilitated by the Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre. We want to thank in particular those who have contributed:
His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch Emeritus, Michel Sabbah
His Grace Bishop Munib Younan, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
Rev. Naim Ateek, of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
Rev. Frans Bouwen, of the Roman Catholic Church
Fr Alexander, of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Fr Jamal Khader, of the University of Bethlehem
Mr Michael Bahnam, of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch
Ms Nora Karmi, of the Armenian Orthodox Church
Mr Yusef Daher, of the Greek Catholic Melkite Church.
The texts proposed here were finalized during the meeting of the international preparatory group appointed by the World Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, of the Roman Catholic Church.
The meeting of the international preparatory group took place at the St. Christophorus Monastery in Saydnaya, Syria.
Participants wish to extend their thanks to his Beatitude Ignatius IV, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and his staff in Damascus and Saydnaya for their warm welcome and gracious hospitality, and to church leaders from different Christian traditions for their support and encouragement.
Click on the links the prayers for that day will be available for you to pray along with us:
Day 1 – Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity 2011
Day 2 – Many Members in One Body
Day 3 – Devotion to the Apostles’ Teaching Unites Us
Day 4 – Sharing, an Expression of Our Unity
Day 5 – Breaking the Bread in Hope
Day 6 – Empowered to Action in Prayer
Day 7 – Living in Resurrection Faith
Day 8 – Called for the Service of Reconciliation