By Steven Norris

     Like many parents across our community, I spent time over the past two weeks visiting classrooms, meeting teachers, and attending “open houses.” This year, I am struck more than ever that our teachers are real people with varied life circumstances, and we need to commit to praying for them like never before. It is in that vein that I invite you to join me in praying for all of our educators — those teaching in public, private, and homeschool settings.

     Gracious God, one of the many names that you are known by in scripture is that of “rabbi.” In Jesus, you came to be our teacher and to model for us how to live a life of love, hope, and faith. At the beginning of another school year, we ask that you be with our teachers and educational staff.

     For the new teacher who is seeking to bridge what they’ve learned in a college classroom with the realities of teaching real students with real issues, give wisdom.

     For the teacher who has been teaching for 30 years and is already starting out the year jaded and tired, give fresh vision and energy.

     We pray peace over the teacher who is starting out this year full of anxiety and worry about not being enough for their students.

     For the teacher who is already starting the school year discouraged, because they know from experience that the only communication they will get from most parents is fueled by anger or disappointment, give them courage and joy.

     We pray rest and renewal for the teacher who spends their day investing in our children, only to go home to the endless demands of raising children with special needs. Likewise, we lift up teachers whose evenings are spent caring for aging parents, ailing spouses, or their own chronic illnesses and pain.

     We pray that you would rejuvenate the teacher who had to work straight through the summer with no break.

     We pray for your provision for the teacher who has invested hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars of their own money to provide the needed supplies for their classroom because school budgets cannot cover all of the needs.

     We pray freedom over the teacher who carries home thoughts and worries for their students each night, concerned about home situations and how to best help each child unlock their true potential.

     We pray courage and perseverance over the teachers who feel handcuffed by decisions and standards established by lawmakers who have not stepped into a classroom for decades.

     We pray wisdom over the teacher who is transitioning to a new grade, class, role, or school this year.

     O God, help us to extend grace to our teachers who are giving their best. Help us to give them the benefit of the doubt and to express our love, support, and admiration for the ways that they are answering this calling to serve. Protect our teachers, administrators, and staff as they step in to be present in the life of our children in ways that we, as a community, cannot. Assure them that this is a holy calling and that you are with them. Amen.