It’s back-to-school time. Which means different things to different parents.
I spoke to one empty nester who told me she still hates Labor Day. “It signals that summer is over,” she said, “and I was always the mom in a puddle of tears at the bus stop. I didn’t want to let my kids go.”
And then there’s the Instagram mom who posted that the sun came out from behind the storm clouds as she waved goodbye to her kids–and that when she went back into her house, the dishwasher had unloaded itself, the coffee had brewed itself, and Ryan Gosling had made her bed and was folding her laundry. 😉
Wherever you are on the back-to-school spectrum–sobbing or singing or a little of both–I know you love your kids. And you want God’s best for them during the coming year.
I wish you and I could sit down together as this new school year begins. I’d ask you what you’re excited about. What concerns you might have. And how I can pray.
And I’d share some of what I’ve been learning from other moms–especially as it relates to helping our kids push back against things like worry and fear. I saw one study that said anxiety and depression had doubled among children and teens during the pandemic. How do we help our kids when they struggle? Even if it’s just back-to-school jitters and not something chronic, how should we pray?
I asked Sally Burke, Moms in Prayer president, how she would answer questions like these. I wasn’t surprised when she pointed straight to the Bible. She prays Nehemiah 8:10 over her kids, that the joy of the Lord will be their strength. And she asks God to help them set their hearts and their minds “on things above, where Christ is,” not on worldly things.
Rebekah Lyons, the bestselling author of Rhythms of Renewal: Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace, told me she plays the “Then what?” game with her kids. “What if your worst fears came true?” she asks. “Then what?” Rebekah knows bad things will happen–things we never see coming–but “if the One who holds all things together is the One who holds us,” she says, we will “still be standing” when the they have passed.
The One who holds all things together holds us.
And he holds our kids.
And when we anchor our trust in his word, we really will have, as Psalm 112:7 promises, “no fear of bad news.”
Again, I wish we could sit down together. I don’t know what you are praying about–whether your kids need good friends, wisdom, protection, or anything else–but God does. Our Father knows what we need before we ask him. (Matthew 6:8)
If you want a few specific prayers you can pray in this back-to-school season, here are twelve of my favorites. I’ve pulled them together in a printable for our email community (but feel free to share them with friends). Click here to download and then keep these prompts on your phone…
…or print them and put them someplace where you will see them. Or tuck ’em in the lunchbox or the backpack with your child’s name in the blank. How comforting it is for a child to know that their earthly parent is talking to their heavenly Parent about their every need!