Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Prayerfully Dependent

The most important aspect of understanding the 16-9 Movement (please read the first post for more information) is being prayerful. It’s great to know the first 16 words of the First Amendment and wonderful to display the Fruit of the Spirit in our classrooms (love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, patience, self-control and faithfulness), but without prayer, we are running on our own power. Have you ever taken on a big project without praying about it first?  Typically, the work becomes larger, heavier and more cumbersome than it needs to be. Prayerfully dependent work is worship. Going to God to ask for His wisdom, guidance and inspiration is supernatural.  We are not naturally wired to seek Him first in all things, but to be our own boss. How’s that working for you? If you have not considered praying about lesson plans, daily routines with your students and for the way you speak to them, I want to encourage you to begin. He is the Lord over all our lives and all our possessions and He gave you the gift of being in education.  Do you think He would leave you alone to figure it all out?  Of all professions, we need to be the most prayerfully dependent.

For example, before I even write this blog or my “tuesdayswithKaren” newsletter/blog, I ask for His help for ideas, flow and wisdom.  I listen to Alistair Begg by podcast very regularly and both he and Dr. Barry Black, our US Senate chaplain taught me an old Anglican prayer: “Lord, may I think myself empty, write myself clear and pray myself hot!” Before I write anything I ask God’s help and more often, than not, I add that little prayer. What would it do for your classroom environment if you asked God to help you write lesson plans?  The designing of plans can be arduous, but if you look at it as a gift of creativity from the Lord and asked for His intervention, there is no doubt that your plans would be engaging, focused and purposeful. He created you to be creative. You are His image-bearer. You’ll never look at lesson planning the same way again if you first ask for His help.  In fact, I am sure that you will look back at some of your plans later and think, “Wow, I can’t believe I came up with that cool idea.” (That’s because you didn’t!)

Have you ever prayed before your students even entered your room? It’s powerful. What if you made it a daily practice to sit in the seat of a different student each day and prayed specifically for that child by name and need?  If you are a secondary teacher, it is going to take a much longer time to get to all your students, but it’s a worthwhile goal.  What impact might prayerful requests make in the lives of your students? You may never know, but prayer is the key to opening all our needs in the classroom.

Let’s raise up prayerfully dependent educators across our nation who understand that trying to teach alone is the greatest reason so many teachers are burning out. With the regulations and burdens of the teaching profession today, most teachers feel powerless. We are! Luke 18:27 - Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” God has given you the power of creativity even when it seems that you don’t have the option or ability.  He will help you see more engaging activities and ways to add interest to your lessons. He will take your burden and make it light. This is one of His greatest promises.  Matt. 11:30 – “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Finally, don’t try to go it alone. Find another Christian on your campus and share this idea with them. Ask them to help you commit to being prayerfully dependent in all things and ask them to join you or at least be an accountability partner who will hold you to your commitment. It is my prayer for you (since you read this far!) that God will supernaturally lift the burden of teaching to the joy of teaching.

Note: I prayed for you right now (in the style of my friend Richard) and asked God to help you really become prayerfully dependent. I know I don’t know who you are, but He does.

Prayerfully yours,

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Retired educators

I had the privilege to speak with a most generous group of retired educators in my district yesterday.  They meet once a month and raise scholarship money for education majors, keep up with legislative issues and remain involved with local, national and state initiatives. They have a guest speaker each month and I was asked to present some of the newest trends in educational technology. At the end of my presentation, I was blessed to be able to share the 16-9 movement with them and how important it is to have such a great organization as CEAI to help administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals and districts have a balanced approach to religion in the public schools.  I love how the Lord works because I didn’t even plan to ask them to be involved, but I was led to encourage this vast wealth of wisdom and knowledge in retired educators.  God never created retirement.  Have you ever heard of anyone in the Bible who retired?  Just being among this precious group of former teachers was inspiring because by their very presence, it spoke volumes about their need to stay active.

If you are a retired educator, I want to encourage you to come along side us and help our school communities.  Staying active on your own terms, at your own speed and in your own way is what retirement is all about.  May the Lord press on your heart, the service that He has designed for you in your retirement years.  If it is to serve our next generation of teachers, let’s consider some of the ways you can help:
·      Adopt a teacher – Mentoring a teacher is powerful. Pray about a teacher in your own church or previous school who could benefit from the wisdom of someone who has been there and done that.  Your wealth of experience is priceless. Your prayers can be his/her covering and your support would be incalculable.  The manner is which you would establish this relationship is totally on your own terms. You’re retired! It’s up to you.
·      Adopt a school - Ask your church to adopt a school. Pray for specific needs of that school by asking a Christian educator in the school to post prayer requests. This is a totally legal and most appreciated way to encourage teachers in the public schools.  Once you have the prayer requests of specific teachers, begin a regular time of prayer followed by cards of encouragement. Who knows where this relationship will lead?
·      School prayer groups - Lead or attend regular prayer time with teachers on campus.  Teachers can legally meet on their own campuses for prayer and Bible study BEFORE or AFTER their contract times. A retired educator leading the group would help remove the burden of “one more thing to do” for our busy teachers.
·      Community prayer - Consider leading or joining a group of interested moms, dads, grandparents and/or community members to pray for a specific school or district on a regular basis and at a regular place outside, yet near the school.  Praying for the next generation is definitely our future.

Retired educators, we need you! Please consider this precious time that the Lord has given you as a time of service to Him.  If you are called in another direction, God bless your service, but if you are called to encourage, equip and empower our teachers in the public schools today, please contact me at ceai.karen@gmail.com so you don’t have to totally reinvent the wheel.  We need your wisdom, grace and insight.

Prayerfully yours,