It's just about the beginning of a new school year—the bulletin boards are up, the school supplies are labeled, and the lesson plans are being looked over. I'm just about ready to welcome all the new, eager children into my classroom. Just about ready. . .
I work with a man who was telling me once about his schedule. I noticed him at school early and asked him about it. He matter-of-factly told me he needed to come to school quite early in the morning to prepare for the day and also to pray. He went on to tell me that he split his class into five groups, and commits to sitting in each of their desks and praying for each one in the morning. Each week he prays specifically for each student that he will influence in the course of the year.
Now, this isn't a new idea by any means, but just not an idea I have specifically adopted—until now. Don't get me wrong—I pray for the students in my class!!! I feel called to do that being a teacher. But as this fresh year is upon me, I feel a deeper sense of privilege to be teaching them. And I feel a calling to pray for each of them specifically, especially after I read one small verse in the Bible. It ends a paragraph and a section, but spoke louder than the other verses surrounding it this time I read it.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I was reading up a little bit on this verse specifically, and some translations use the work "masterpiece" instead of "workmanship." I teach a little art and use some of the great artists of the past and study their "masterpieces." As a class, we look at their creations, ask questions and discuss what we love about them, and then try to copy it (or a part of it).This made me think about how God looks at us each and every minute of each and every day. He studies us with that same intrigue, with that same interest, with that same wonder, but He also does all that full of love and grace and compassion.
If that is how God sees me and my students, I want to do the same. I want to follow His example and see my students through His eyes—as the masterpiece He created in Christ Jesus, and to some degree enable each of them to do good works—God's works—to bring Him glory.
I am committing myself this year to spend time once a week thinking about and praying for each of the masterpieces God has put it my range of influence. I am encouraged by the words of Colossians 4:2 (Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.) and James 5:15-16 (Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.) I am excited to see what God will do through this time spent with Him for my students.
You can do the same, even if you are not a teacher. Choose people in your sphere of influence or people who may influence you (your kids, your group leaders or group members, your pastors, your child's teacher (please—I would love that!!!), your friends, your colleagues, whoever it may be) and commit to praying for them on a regular basis at a regular set time. See what God will do through this time spend with Him for others.
Other verses to reflect on:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ~Colossians 3:12
*Photo Credit: taken from http://giselledenis.com/childrens-series/