One of the most powerful ways of being involved in schools’ ministry is prayer.
There are lots of ways that your congregation can get involved in praying for schools. It is a way that many members of your congregation can be drawn into schools’ ministry when they are maybe not physically able to actually go into schools for various reasons, e.g. working full-time, older generations, other commitments, etc.
Ways to pray for your schools:
- Get involved in the Pray for Schools initiative (see following page for information). Pray for Schools’ vision is to have every school in Northern Ireland as a “prayed for” school and to have a network of pray-ers registered so that they can have access to support and resources. Although this is an organisation based in Northern Ireland, the principles are also transferrable to the Republic of Ireland.
- Encourage each of your home groups or your midweek to pray regularly for a specific school. Each could adopt a local school for a year.
- Connect with an already existing parents’ prayer group and offer to host. Include prayer points for your local schools regularly in your church notices.
- Hold an annual evening in your church to hear about local schools and to pray together. Invite local teachers and pupils to share stories and prayer points from their schools.
- Make regular contact with your local Scripture Union E3 worker (Northern Ireland only) – receive prayer letters and make them available for download from the church website or have physical copies to take home, share their Facebook page, invite them to come each year to speak at a church service.
- It is not simply about prayer. You could go on to hold a Back to School with God service at the start of every school year. Resources for this service – teaching, PowerPoint presentations, etc. – are made available by Scripture Union each year and are free to download. This is a good stepping stone to a deeper relationship.
Pray for Schools is an organisation which in Northern Ireland is facilitated by CARE.
It is a network which equips and encourages Christians to support schools through regular prayer.
In Northern Ireland there are:
820+ primary schools
200+ post-primary schools
39+ special schools
That is over 300,000 children and young people who attend school in Northern Ireland and they need our support and encouragement as they grow into mature young adults.
Their vision is to see every school in
Northern Ireland be a “prayed for” school.
What an amazing vision of which congregations
of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland could be a part!
Four steps to take:
- Identify a school or schools near you or connected to your church and commit to regular prayer throughout the school year. This could be as an organised group; or a parent in the car outside the school gates after the children have gone in; someone walking the dog in the morning; or sitting at home praying for the school.
- Register with Pray for Schools NI at: www.prayforschools.org
- Organise and lead a group to pray regularly. Access the wealth of resources and ideas online to help. This could be anything from a group of parents over a cup of coffee or a regular, organised group at the church.
- Expect God to hear and answer your prayers. Look for ways in which He already has.
Back to School with God Sunday is a fantastic way to pray for and support your children, young people and school staff at the start of a new school year. It is an excellent bridge between church and school, and an encouragement for Christian pupils and staff to recognise that God is not confined to church, but goes with them to school.
The specific aims of Back to School with God Sunday are:
- To raise awareness of prayer for schools in general and the need for prayer for local schools in particular.
- To support and encourage Christian pupils and staff in their daily life in school, and as part of this, to let them know they are valued and prayed for by the local church.
- To challenge Christian pupils and staff to live out their faith in the school environment, and in particular to support any Christian witness in their school.
Many churches use the service as an outreach to school staff, inviting them along. Others involve children and young people in leading the service, and particularly in praying for their schools.
Everything you need is provided to run an all-age service, including prayers, PowerPoint slides and teaching points. Supporting resources include children’s activities which can be used in Sunday school or mid-week club at a future date, plus promotional material such as A4 and A5 posters and A5 flyers which can be distributed in the local community.