Updated: Aug 29
Whether your local school is in-person or online, there are plenty of stressors and challenges to pray over your children during this pandemic season.
Each year we hope our kids mature in their spiritual walk just as they're growing in other areas, right? Prayer is a great way to lay this foundation, yet sometimes we need some structure to "up our game" during stressful times of transition.
Fortunately we have a lot of resources available to find a tool that can perk up our prayers for our students, teachers, and school systems.
You can create your own list of Christ-like characteristics you'd like to see developed in your child this year, individualizing the list for your child's needs and personality.
You can do a Google search or pull up some ideas from Pinterest boards. Maybe you've already gotten a list that's been shared within your school community, but you haven't done anything with it yet?
At the beginning of school last year I printed out A-Z Virtues to Pray for your Child by Arabah Joy and laminated the set as a handy reference.
I decided to personalize it further for my son's Bible Quilt journal, making the phrases more active so it has more impact as he reads it and applies it to himself.
I often go for a walk after my morning Quiet Time which allows devotional insights to percolate a little bit more. Yesterday I caught myself rehearsing these ABC attributes in my head as I walked, which enabled me to pray these characteristics specifically over my son in preparation of his return to school this week.
Some of you might like to borrow this memory technique for yourself or with your kids, perhaps even on the way to school.
Did you ever play the game "I'm going on a picnic and I'm taking " on family road trips? The first person chooses an item that starts with A. "I'm going on a picnic and I'm taking an Apple." Then the next person repeats the previous phrase and adds their item for "B" and so on. Kids love to generate funny things to go with their letter and parents desperately try to follow along while also navigating highway construction zones and trip directions. "I'm going on a picnic and I'm taking an Apple, a Blanket, a Chimpanzee, a Ding Dong, an Elephant, a Flamingo, a Gatorade...." You get the idea!
You can develop your own intro, such as "We're on our way to _________ Elementary School and today I am going to... _________" Then do a round-robin with everyone in your car until you get all the way to Z. "...today I am going to...pay Attention, be Bold, Content, Diligent, have Endurance, be Friendly, Generous, Humble, walk in Integrity, be Joyful and Kind, show Love, be Meek yet Not afraid, be Obedient, Patient, Quick to Listen, Responsible, have Self-Control, be Thankful, Unblemished, have Vision, seek Wisdom, be eXcellent, Yield to God, and serve with Zeal."
Another twist on this game you can do after school or even at dinner is to ask your kids how they demonstrated some of these attributes or what they observed others doing/not doing. "Today I was Patient waiting my turn in line while we were checking out library books."
Want to explore these Attributes deeper?
You could do a whole Bible Quilt page on each trait, selecting applicable verses and having your kids illustrate the pages. Discuss what each attribute means and share examples of these from personal experience.
I know a few friends who are having weekly devotions with their grandkids on FaceTime or Zoom, using Bible Quilt pages as a simple format to follow.
Last year one of them focused on an ABC Attribute each week of the school year and was able to connect with her grandkids long-distance with this loose structure. (She coordinated with the parents re: taking some weeks off for holidays and family vacations.)
Mary Jo did her "homework" during the summer, Bible Quilting a verse for each trait on its own page. She used free clip art available on line to help her with some of the educational illustrations.
Then she made her whole #abcbiblequiltjournal set into a photo book, incorporating pictures of her grandkids.
Each family received a copy of this fun photobook and the grandkids had the joy of seeing themselves with siblings, cousins, parents, and grandparents while learning about specific scriptures that Mary Jo hand-picked to pray over her whole family.
Throughout the school year Mary Jo had contact with the grandkids and reinforced the ABC attributes through her discussions with them.
Isn't this a lovely way to incorporate scripture into natural dialogue with kids? So much thought and time went into this project and it will be a treasured keepsake for the whole family!
During this morning's BQ chat on Zoom, Mary Jo described her process of sharing this with her grandchildren (overview starts at the 2-minute mark) so you can watch our show-and-tell:
Another way to intentionally pray over our student's development is to create a #biblequiltjournal page for their 2020-21 school year. Each grade level has its own unique challenges and adjustments so there may be specific scriptures you want to focus on for that school year.
If your child is attending a new school, you might harvest verses on friendship. Maybe you have a senior that is anxious about how this school year is going to unfold with Covid-19 interruptions? Focus your verses on strength, contentment, and perseverance, etc.
Stores have all kinds of cute back-to-school sticky notes and ABC stickers out right now, so this is a great time to stock up on some inspirational supplies.
I just uploaded some ABC patchwork prayer templates into the shop this week. These can be used for individual students, teacher friends or family members you'd like to encourage and pray over.
Or you can broaden out to do ABC verses for healthcare professionals, assisted living centers, or even your pastoral staff.
During this pandemic chaos, nothing is as simple as 1-2-3, but we can focus our prayers from A to Z!
"My child, pay ATTENTION to what I say..." Proverbs 4:20
"Never be lacking in ZEAL, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Romans 12:11