My Jesus never ceases to amaze me.
Today, my chronological Bible reading was out of Jeremiah chapters 19 – 20 and Daniel 1. If you are not familiar with these stories, I highly encourage you to take a quick minute to read over them.
Last year, I spent the night before the new school year in my classroom covering it in prayer and there is no doubt in my mind that that is the reason why last year was such a success. So being the OCD, anal retentive, hyper particular person that I am, I added “Pray over classroom” to my never-ending list of things to do for today.
After working my BUTT off decorating my classroom (you know, someone should have told me that an effective classroom doesn’t always have to be a Pinterest-worthy classroom), I sat down and opened God’s Word. I couldn’t even make it through the first passage without laying my head down on my open Bible and weeping.
As I journey into teaching the world of Pre-AP kiddos this year, I have been fearful that I won’t have what it takes.
But what a balm to my soul was Jeremiah 20. Verse 11 says:
“But the LORD is with me like a dread champion;
Therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.”
Verse 13 says:
“Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD!
For He has delivered the soul of the needy one
From the hand of evildoers.”
If you don’t think that God is intimately acquainted with every small detail of your life, if you don’t think He cares… Then slap yo’ momma!
Before I continued reading, I just spent some time praying for myself. I asked the Lord to hear my prayers. I beseeched Him to ordain my steps, to give me wisdom that comes only from Him, to direct all the words of my mouth. I pleaded with Him to let me be the teacher that HE wants me to be, that I would meet whatever needs my students have.
But most of all, I asked the Lord to empower me to love each and every one of the kids in my classes this coming year. Now, that may not seem like a loaded prayer to you, but I have had a couple of talks with God where I ask, “Lord, how am I ever going to love another group of kids as much as I loved my first group?” (Because if you don’t already know, I came to love my first group of babies like they were my OWN children.)
So after I had my little head-on-open-Bible-crying-sesh praying for myself, I open my Bible to the book of Daniel and read about how God used this young man in the midst of one of the most notorious rulers of the age – King Nebuchadnezzar.
I knelt in front of one of my students’ desks and laid my head down on it and began to pray that God would raise up some “Daniel’s” and “Shadrach’s,” “Meshach’s,” and “Abednego’s” from this group of new students that I meet tomorrow.
I do not know exactly how long I stayed in that position, but I prayed everything I could possibly pray over my new kiddos. I prayed that God would save them and change them and use them MIGHTILY for His glory. I prayed that my young ladies would find their identities in Jesus Christ alone and not look to boys or popularity or any other temporary thing for their self worth. I prayed for my young gentlemen – that God would take them and grow them into strong, courageous, biblical men.
And I’m not even going to lie… I prayed that they would be good kids! All my fellow teachers – don’t even act like you haven’t prayed the same thing at least once before!
“Lord, just let them be good, let ‘em be quiet, just let me get ‘em in the building, get ‘em fed, and get ‘em safely on the bus!”
[All God’s people said… AMEN!]
As I was pouring out my heart, still kneeling in front of a student desk, crying – as is my natural tendency while praying, one of my coworkers stood in my doorway until I finished. And then dadgummit if she didn’t kneel down and hug me and we both started tearing up again!
After she left, I returned to my kneeling position in front of the student desk. By this time, mind you, my feet below the ankles were completely numb from sitting there so long. I began to pray for my babies from last year – my babies who aren’t really babies anymore, because they start their very first day of high school tomorrow. And let me just tell you, this is when I started “ugly crying” – the whole big, alligator tears that fall in streams, the hiccupping every couple of minutes, the dimply, quivering chin… the complete heinous works.
I prayed that these 9th graders would lay their heads down in peace tonight, that they would get a good night’s rest. That they would wake up in the morning with their anxiety replaced with sheer excitement. That the Lord would raise up good, godly friends, that they would be protected against the wiles of the kingdom of darkness, that teachers at the high school would truly invest in their lives, that these kids would make wise decisions, that God would start a work in them and see it through until completion. That at the end of the day, they’d know they had someone cheering for them and wanting them to take on the world.
And then there came a point where I couldn’t pray anymore; all I could do was “ugly cry” and hiccup and try not to choke on all the snot running down my nose. But that was the sweetest part to me, because even when I couldn’t find the words to pray over that sweet, special group of kids, the Holy Spirit interceded for me in prayer, “with groanings too deep for words;” (Romans 8:26)
The next thing I did was shut my computer down, turn off my Scentsy, make sure all five hundred stacks of paper were neat, and then I sat Indian style smack dab in the middle of my classroom floor, turned on “Be Thou My Vision,” and sang the words to my favorite hymn as a prayer for my life – not just as a teacher, but as the core of my being.
“Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. Naught be all else to me save that Thou art….”
Out of the corner of my eye, though, I kept seeing this shadow. Every time I’d turn around to look, nothing would be there. About the third time I looked around, I saw what was making the shadow – a former student, one of those sweet, special, 9th grade babies that I love so much, was standing in my doorway!
Do you KNOW what a joy it was to see someone that I had just prayed over?! I’m telling you, God knows exactly what you need, and He will send it when you least expect it and when it falls into His perfect schedule.
So friends, I just want to encourage you tonight to intercede for someone in prayer. Prayer is our spiritual breath as believers. God hears our cries to Him, and He is faithful to answer us, maybe not always in the way we expect. But we’ve got to remember that the ultimate purpose of prayer is not that God would let us have our own way… “The value of persistent prayer is not that He will hear us but that we finally hear Him.”