By Kathy Tuan-MacLean and Tara Edelschick

A Prayer Before School

Many professors, and their children, are returning to school this fall wondering how it will all play out. With so much uncertainty and fear about the upcoming year swirling about, we offer this prayer. We stand with you in praying that you and your children will experience the creative, redemptive, and sustaining grace of the One who was neither surprised by the last 18 months, nor unsure about our future, who cares about you, your family, and your schools.

A Prayer Before School

Abba, as my young and I return to school, we acknowledge you as Creator.

Create in us eyes to see
     your image in all whom we meet this year,
     your splendor in all that we study this year,
     your active love in the midst of our campuses, playgrounds, labs, classrooms, and cafeterias this year. 

Create in us ears to hear
     the cries of those around us, 
     including those who may not yet know they are fearfully and wonderfully made,
     and your still small voice, reminding us that whether we are wildly successful or failing 
     miserably, your love for us is unchanging.

Jesus, as my young and I return to school, we acknowledge you as Redeemer.

Redeem our minds so that we may
     love learning,
     be wise, even when it looks foolish to the world,
     and, ultimately, have the mind of Christ.

Redeem our relationships
     with professors, staff, teachers, aids, students, and administrators,
     with our friends, helping us to be reconcilers as you were a reconciler. 

Holy Spirit, as my young and I return to school, we acknowledge you as Sustainer.

Sustain our energy, allowing us to
     say yes to all you have called us to, whether publications, naps, activism, or playdates,
     say no to invitations that did not come from you,
     complete the necessary but mundane tasks before us, knowing that in your kingdom there is 
     no work beneath our dignity.

Sustain our bodies and souls
     from bullies, whether they are on the playground or in the faculty meeting,
     from Covid and other illnesses,
     from the lack of creation care, that threatens the future of all children,
     from the racism, ableism, and sexism that plague our schools,
     from our complicity in those very same sins.

Triune God, we want to see you, follow you, and be like you in our schools this year.

Holy Trinity, take us to school this year, where we can learn to 
     love others as you continue to love us
     resource others as you continue to resource us
     see the dignity and worth in others as you continue to see them in us. 

Then bring us home each night with stories of your creative, redemptive, and sustaining grace. 


Photo by Wyncliffe on StockSnap.

About the Author

Kathy Tuan-MacLean (PhD, Northwestern) is the national faculty ministry director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, where she invites and resources faculty to follow Jesus together. Since joining InterVarsity in 1990, she has led numerous students and faculty in Bible study, spiritual formation, and leadership development. She is also a spiritual director who has led marriage ministry and women's retreats. Kathy is married to Scott, and they have three young adult children and an overanxious mini labradoodle.

Tara Edelschick (EdD, Harvard) is a teacher, a writer, mother of three, and grandmother. For three decades, she has worked as an educator, teaching public high school students in New York, graduate students at Harvard's School of Education, homeschoolers in Massachusetts, and incarcerated men taking college courses through the Emerson Prison Initiative. In her church, you can find her speaking at a women's conference or marriage retreat, teaching Sunday school, gathering mothers for prayer and Bible study, or leading retreats for families.

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