America is heading back to school this month. I mentor a group of new freshmen who are full of joy, creativity, and trepidation about this new phase of life. Maybe you know some students like them.
I remember my teenage years as the time I learned to seek out answers for myself instead of taking my family’s faith and values for granted. As I look ahead at this new generation, I was challenged to think about what I want for them during these years.
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, mentor, or teacher, let’s take a moment to pray over these friends of ours as they step into a new school year with new possibilities and new challenges.
Here’s what I’m praying over my students. Will you join me?
I pray that our students will…
1. Listen well.
I pray they will sharpen the skill of listening. I want to see them truly listen and consider what they hear. I pray they will listen well to each other, to their mentors, and most of all, to God’s Word.
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19)
2. Speak Life.
I pray they would learn to be a place of safety and encouragement for each other, for their family, and for their friends. As they grow, change, and learn from this new phase of life, may they use their words to remind each other who they are.
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)
3. Look at God more than the unknown.
At this phase of life, the questions feel so big. Who will my friends be? Will people like me? Will I be “good enough” for college? Will the people who matter be proud of me? Will I succeed?
I long to see each student look past the questions and pay attention to who God is. This will change their perspective and demeanor more than they realize.
I pray they will learn to lean into the character of God. I pray they are equipped with people in their lives to help them remember and understand.
“I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!”
(Psalm 121:1-2 NLT)
4. Accept truth in bravery.
Truth can be hard to hear, difficult to share, and painful to admit about ourselves. I pray that each student would not back away from the truth. I pray that they will see healing and growth come when they choose to seek the truth about the lies they believe.
I pray that they will be brave enough to speak the truth about themselves and about God. I pray they will help each other along the way.
“Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.”
5. Be unafraid to ask big questions.
I pray that they won’t shy away from the questions. I pray that these questions will only bring them closer to God. Surround them with people who are willing to talk through the “hard stuff” and point them in the right direction as they seek and find.
Let them know the questions are normal. The questions don’t change the truth about God and the truth about who they were created to be.
”If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (James 1:5)
And while I pray these things over every student, I pray these for myself and my peers. I pray that we would not only model this well for the generation behind us, but that our own lives will be enriched and transformed as we step into each new phase of life.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)
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