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 University, Human Development & Social Policy), mother to three children, serves on InterVarsity staff as the National Faculty Ministry Director.  She has served with Intervarsity since 1990, ministering to undergraduate & graduate students as well as faculty in New York City, Boston and now Baltimore.  She’s also a certified spiritual director (Selah, LTI).  She blogged with Patheos around her struggles with motherhood and finding God in the midst at What She Said, and Wordy, Nerdy.  She’s also written two articles for Christianity Today on racial reconciliation:  Can People of Color Really Make Themselves at Home?, and All for Love’s Sake.

Tara Edelschick (EdD, Harvard University, Human Development & Psychology), mother to three children, spent the last thirty years teaching: in a New York City high school, the Graduate School of Education at Harvard, and a community of homeschoolers in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She currently volunteers with Emerson Prison Initiative, teaching college courses to men in prison. She blogged about homeschooling with Patheos at Homeschool Chronicles. She’s also contributed a chapter on grief to Matters of Interpretation and shared her testimony in Christianity Today.


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