7/27/10

Back to School Prayers 2010

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A warm welcome from ConcordPastor to readers searching for "Back to School Prayers" for students, parents of students, and teachers. I hope you'll visit again or: Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments

Many students, teachers and school personnel are now returning to the classrooms while others won't be at their desks until after Labor Day. Checking the "search words" that bring readers to this page indicates that folks are looking for prayers related to the opening of schools and a new academic year. Here are some prayers I hope you'll find helpful. The first three are from my keyboard, the last two from Diana Macalintal, Director of the Office of Worship for the San Jose, CA diocese and author of the blog, Work of the People:


• A Student's Prayer
• A Parent's Prayer for Students
• A Teacher's Prayer
• A Parent's Prayer When a Daughter Leaves Home

• A Parent's Prayer When a Son Leaves Home


You might think of praying the Student's Prayer with your children on the first day of school. Some families pray these words every Monday morning as a new school week begins. And the prayers for parents? Well, I know some moms and dads who pray those words just about every day!

In addition to backpacks and lunch kits, the refrigerator door makes a good home for these texts. In my parish we have the Student's Prayer printed as a bookmark which we distribute at Mass along with a blessing for students and school personnel at the beginning of the new academic year.

Parents, grandparents, godparents and aunts and uncles: share these prayers with the ones you love and with anyone you think would benefit from them.

Parish personnel: please feel to copy and use these prayers. Diana and I ask only that you include the credit line as indicated after each prayer below.

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A Student's Prayer

Help me remember that you’re always by my side
at school and all day long.
Help me be the best student I can be,
using all the gifts and talents you’ve given me.
Help me study well and often
– especially when I don’t feel like studying at all!
Help me finish all my homework – on time.
Help me listen to my teachers and coaches.
Help me play fair and play safely,
Help me be honest when I’m tempted to cheat.
Help me always tell the truth.
Help me be kind to everyone at school
and to treat others as I’d want them to treat me.
Help me make good friends
and help me be a good friend to others.
Help me know how I can help others
and to ask for help when I need it myself.
Help me love and respect, trust and appreciate my parents
- and to be honest with them.
Help me remember that you’re with me always, Lord,
and that you’ll never leave my side.
Amen.
ConcordPastor.blogspot. com

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A Parents' Prayer for Students

Dear Lord,
As my children leave for school,
I pray that you will keep them in your care.
Send your Spirit to open their minds
to all that is true and beautiful and good.
Help them to see the gifts and talents
you have given them and to use them well.
Help them to grow in knowledge and wisdom.
Help them to be kind to others
and lead others be kind to them.
Give their teachers patience and understanding
and help them teach what is just and true.
Send your angels to guide and guard my children
and to keep them from all harm.
Open their young hearts to your presence
and enfold them in your peace and protection.
Hold them in the palm of your hand
and bring them home safely at day's end.
Amen.
ConcordPastor.blogspot.com

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A Teacher's Prayer

Dear God,
A new school year is about to begin
and my classroom door will soon open
to the students you've assigned to my care...
Open my mind and heart to each of them
and especially to the ones
who will challenge me the most...
Help me challenge my students, all of them,
to study, to learn, to grow in knowledge
and even a little wisdom...
Help me remember, Lord,
how young my students are:
give me patience to help them grow up
and insight to know the help they need...
Help me to understand that sometimes
my students may not understand me:
may I be clear in the things I say and do,
and in how I say and do them…
My students don't know the burdens and worries
my heart brings to the classroom,
so help me remember, Lord,
how anxious and heavy my students' hearts may be...
Keep me from favoring any particular students, Lord,
except for those who most need my help...
Let my decisions in the classroom
be fair and just, honest and true...
Send your Spirit to fill me with gifts
of knowledge and understanding, counsel and wisdom…
Lord, open my mind and heart to my students' parents,
especially those who will challenge me the most...
Help me challenge parents to challenge their children
to study, to learn and to grow...
Help me to teach as you would, Lord:
help me be understanding when I need to be firm,
gentle in all things,
and patient until the last bell rings…

A new school year is about to begin, Lord,
and I wonder,
what will you teach me today?

Amen.
ConcordPastor.blogspot.com

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Many mothers and fathers are sending sons and daughters away to college. For both parents and children, this rite of passage is often moistened with tears and burdened by aching hearts. Here's Diana Macalintal's Empty Nester's Prayer in two versions: one for a daughter, one for a son.

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A Parent’s Prayer When A Daughter Leaves Home

Gracious God, you blessed me with the gift of my child
and entrusted me with her care.
Now she leaves this home and begins a new life apart from me.
Surround her with good people and watch over her each day.
And let her know that I will always be near
whenever she may need me.
Heal any hurts we may harbor with each other
and forgive our failings
as we learn to be in a new kind of relationship with each other.
And when the sight of her empty room
pierces my heart with sadness,
may I find comfort in knowing that my child is your child too,
filled with your grace and sheltered by your love.
Amen.
© 2009 Diana Macalintal: TeamRCIA.com

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A Parent’s Prayer When A Son Leaves Home

Gracious God, you blessed me with the gift of my child
and entrusted me with his care.
Now he leaves this home and begins a new life apart from me.
Surround him with good people and watch over him each day.
And let him know that I will always be near
whenever he may need me.
Heal any hurts we may harbor with each other
and forgive our failings
as we learn to be in a new kind of relationship with each other.
And when the sight of his empty room
pierces my heart with sadness,
may I find comfort in knowing that my child is your child too,
filled with your grace and sheltered by your love.
Amen.
© 2009 Diana Macalintal: TeamRCIA.com



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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

In your Teacher's Prayer toward the end I think you left out "parents" in the line with "challenge."

Rosemary

P.S. Lovely prayers. Can't believe it is time to think about going back to school though! It seems as if it just got out.

ConcordPastor said...

Thank you! Correction made!

Anonymous said...

I start back to school one week from tomorrow. Thank you for posting these early for those of us already hearing the first bell!
Ruthie

Anonymous said...

First off, "under god" wasn't added until 1954. Why the original, founding pledge wasn't good enough for the theocrats is beyond me.

I'm all in favor of allowing prayer in school, as long as it isn't taking up class time, although the time would better be spent teaching more science. After all, in no small part thanks to religious fanaticism, antiscience attitudes are rampant in this country and severely hindering scientific education and progress in this country relative to others.

If we are going to display and encourage the ten commandments, why not display their punishments, which in all cases, even not keeping the sabath and dishonoring your parents, is death. You could say that Jesus negated this with the "cast the first stone" bit, but then he contradicted himself by also stating in Matthew 5:17 that he has come to affirm the law, and that it is not to be altered.

But more fundamentally, why is it such a tragedy to respect that there are children, and adults, in this country and our public schools, that don't believe what you do? Not everyone illogically believes in an intelligent, loving god that thinks people deserve to burn in hell forever for not believing, through no chosen fault of their own, in the correct unknowable idea.

The founding fathers were brilliant in recognizing how personal and important faith is to the individual. Our FIRST amendment in the bill of rights beautifully suggests that we should maintain a respect of that, and allow free exercise of religion, and also not tyrannically impose the beliefs of even the many, onto the few. Why take a backstep from such a brilliant, freedom inducing concept? Its precepts like these that have made our country the most free nation on earth. If you want a theocracy, look no further than Iran.

ConcordPastor said...

This post didn't suggest or support anything to do with prayer in schools.

Mom said...

I was praying for my children on their first day of school today. But I wanted a written prayer to pray for more depth in expressing my specific requests. I googled back to school prayers, and your site showed up first. Thank you for the wonderful faith building prayers.
Much appreciation,

Catherine

Anonymous said...

Thank you! This was exactly what I was looking to offer my parents at meet the faculty night for my first year teaching at a Catholic School!