A Liturgy for School Starting

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The church where I work as the Community Arts Director asked me to write a liturgy that could be prayed at the school this coming weekend following teachers’ first days this past week and the kids’ first days this coming. Here’s the piece.

 

A Prayer for Our Schools

Leader: As we form a circle together, Oh God, we imagine your powerful Spirit encircling the entire property of this school.

Group: Fill every inch of its buildings and yards with your love.

 

With our feet pressing into the dirt, we ask that you go before the teachers, staff, and students to make it Holy Ground.

That all would have peace in their coming and in their going.

 

For every soul who will spend their year in this place,

Grant them trustworthy and healthy friendships.

 

For each body that sits, walks, plays, and works here,

Place a hedge of protection from all who wish to harm.

 

For new students and new adults who will enter into unfamiliar territory,

Give comfort and excitement, give community.

 

For all who navigate this system differently abled or with learning disabilities,

Call forth advocates for them right now in Jesus’s name.

 

For every hour spent studying, grading, test taking or giving,

Send a still, small voice to remind your children to breathe.

 

For all who carry the burdens of poverty and abuse at home,

Make this campus a sanctuary and place of rest.

 

For the supplies and the energy that are needed now and throughout the year,

God, provide. And also make us the answer to our prayers in our giving.

 

For the parents who worry anxiously for their children,

Remind them that there is nothing in this world or the next that can separate them from Your love.

 

For every hungry mouth,

We thank you now for school lunches.

 

For every insecure child,

We thank you now for compassionate teachers.

 

For every life that gets a chance to learn,

We thank you now for the freedom of education.

 

And we pause to give thanks for our own, remembering the teachers and family, friends and experiences that have shaped us in our journey.

(Pray silently in thanksgiving.)

 

Now we speak aloud the names of students, teachers, and staff whom we know and love–letting those names represent all who will soon begin their new year here at (insert school name). 

(Say names out loud, popcorn style, until everyone’s finished.)

 

Holy God, who cared so mercifully for the children whose faith you said we should strive to mimic, be as near as you can be in this place. Be security, be peace, be growth, be relationships, be confidence, be nourishment, be enjoyment, be love. We thank you in the name of Jesus–our most gracious Teacher–for the year ahead. 

 

Amen.

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