Dear Hyde Park Family,

Well the day has finally arrived. I am now officially the father of two high schoolers. Grace is entering her junior year at Plant High School, Madelyn is entering her freshman year at the International Baccalaureate program at Robinson, and I am entering a state of denial. Pardon me while I wistfully rummage through some of their old baby photos.

The start of every school year usually brings a mixture grumbling and gratitude, as families mourn the end of summer while welcoming the return of routine. It also brings an opportunity to pray for the year ahead, asking God’s blessing on all our schools, as well as this church’s ministries to children and youth. I invite you to take some time today to pray for all the children of our community, perhaps using this prayer as a guide:

A PRAYER FOR THE START OF A NEW SCHOOL YEAR

Gracious and Eternal God,

At this start of a new year of education and ministry, we first give thanks for the many ways that you are a loving parent and teacher to all of us. Your love reminds us that we are all your children, and students under your tutelage. You guide us toward a life of wholeness and decency, instruct us with the principles of holy living, and correct our missteps with grace and love. We are privileged to learn the lessons that you teach us, and to influence our own youth through our example.

We pray for our area schools and all our teachers, who have the noble task of educating the most impressionable among us. Grant them patience in the classroom, wisdom in their counsel and endurance for the year ahead. May they receive from us the affirmation they richly deserve but rarely receive.

We pray for school administrators and staff. Lead them through the challenges of underfunding, rapidly changing technology, and lack of community support. Guide our political leaders to provide the resources our schools desperately need.

We pray for the families of our community. Call them into a deeper level of involvement in the education of their kids and in support of their schools. Help them find balance between busyness and family time. We acknowledge the widespread poverty among many families in our area; guide this church in ministering to them.

We pray that all our school campuses will be secure and healthy. Stem the tide of gun violence and reduce the presence of bullying. Surround our children with role models that encourage decent behavior and healthy choices. May our children flourish in an environment that is safe, fun and intellectually energizing.

We pray that our schools may be places of learning beyond the goals of standardized testing. May our children discover a passion for subjects that encompass the broad scope of the human enterprise. Cultivate within them an interest in the arts. Teach them teamwork and cooperation through organized sports. Help them learn to be respectful to themselves and to others. And may they learn to be global contributors to a rapidly changing world.

We pray for the ministries to children and youth in our church. Thank you for the faithful work of our ministry volunteers, and grant them the wisdom and love that will make a deep and lasting impact. We pray for all our children and youth, that they would find their truest identity in the grand, ongoing story of your love.

God, you have placed a sense of eternity in our hearts, that we cannot fully see all that you have done from the beginning to the end. Help us rise to the great responsibility of being faithful stewards of our children. May they forge ahead into the bright future you have envisioned for them.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Rabbi, teacher, and Lord,

Amen.

Grace and Peace,

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

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