daily devotional

This is a special back to school devotional … for parents. Our schools may have kicked God out, but we have the power to invite his presence back.

Today is the first day of school for my family and it is our last first day. Our youngest are both seniors and they’re beginning a brand new school for their senior year. That’s not easy, but good things typically aren’t. It’s back to school season for most of us, some having already started school and some starting in the coming week.

Several years ago, my husband and I read a book that changed they way we pray. It’s one of my all time favorite and most highlighted books – The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. I learned the more faith you have, the more specific your prayers will be. And the more specific your prayers are, the more glory God receives. Why? Because if our prayers aren’t specific, God gets robbed of the glory that He deserves because we second-guess whether or not he actually answered them.

Have we been praying vague prayers to a specific God? Yes, it’s easier to be vague in our prayers because it insulates us from the pain of disappointment. I mean if I didn’t pray for it specifically, when I don’t get it, I won’t be so disappointed. Specific prayers are risky. It’s easier to just not ask for much of anything that way we’re not so disappointed when we don’t get it. Scripture says we have not because we ask not.

Our vague, half-hearted prayers indicate our lack of faith in God’s individual and specific care over us. We question if God hears, and if he hears, does he really care? And if he cares, is he capable?

Well, let me answer those questions.

Psalms 34:17 says – The Righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Oh, that’s only for the righteous you say. Yes, and that is you if you are a follower of Christ. Not because of anything you have done or could do, but because God has chosen you as righteous. He has covered you as righteous. And therefore, he hears your prayers.

John 10:11 Jesus says – I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Now that is caring. Oh the care of a shepherd. This is God’s care for you, that he would lay down his life for you, sacrifice his only son for you. Don’t you understand there’s no mountain he won’t climb up, wall he won’t kick down and lie he won’t tear down coming after you. This is how much he cares about you. Individually and specifically.

He hears you, he cares about you, and HE IS CAPABLE.

Ephesians 3:20 says Now all glory to God, who is able … to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Imagine right now what God’s power can do in your life. Whatever you just imagined is a row boat in comparison to the ark God can build for you. Is he ABLE to do for you what you need done? Is he able to rise up and answer your prayers? More than we could ever ask or imagine.

So out of faith in a mighty, powerful, loving, caring God who hears our specific prayers and moves on our behalf to do more than we can even imagine, let us lay before him our requests for this school year for our children.

The Circle Maker taught me to not only be bold enough to pray very specific prayers, but to pray in circles. Unlike running around in circles, praying in circles is getting you somewhere. It is productive and it is powerful.

Perhaps you remember the story in the bible of the walls of Jericho that came tumbling down. The wandering Israelites came upon the city of Jericho, their promised land, and found it would be impossible to take. Impossible. The walls around the city were 6 feet wide and 50 feet high. There was no way they were getting through those walls or over those walls. The had met their impossible. And their impossible was about to meet their God.

There, standing in front of their impossible, God gave them marching orders. He said to march around the city once a day for 6 days and on the 7th day, march around the city 7 times. On the 7th day after the 7th circle, the walls came tumbling down.

Circles. They were circling that which they wanted.

Will you confidently CIRCLE the promises God has given you? What is your Jericho?

Today, my Jericho is the high school which daughters are about to step foot into. The school where over 1,000 students will surround my children. The school where dozens of teachers will speak into my children and spend more waking hours in the day with them than I will. The school where coaches will leave their mark on them.

This is my Jericho and I will pray circles around it. Will you pray circles around your children’s school? Will you pray bold, specific prayers to a mighty God who hears, cares, and moves?

Yesterday evening my husband and I drove to the local high school and we walked a 1 mile circle around the entire campus. We circled the school and we prayed where my girls are about to spend the majority of their waking hours. I prayed very specific prayers. This has become a back to school tradition for us. We’re just circling our Jericho.

Today, our kids face more temptations than we did when we were growing up. It’s a different world. As I circle their school, I pray about those temptations. I Corinthians 10:13 says “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

We can’t expect God to remove all the temptations from our children. Temptations will be in abundance. Temptations to make the wrong choices in the wrong places with the wrong people. However, we can expect for God to provide a WAY OUT. “But when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can endure it.” So my prayer is when they are tempted, they will see the way out God has provided and they always take it. Take the way out of the wrong choice. Take the way out of the wrong group of people.

As I’m praying circles around every classroom, every teacher, faculty and staff member, every student, every inch of that campus, I’m praying bold, specific prayers to a God who hears, cares and is able.

Will you pray circles today? I mean literally walk around the school? If you can’t walk, then drive. Circle the campus in prayer. Invite God’s presence there. Our schools may have kicked God out, but we have the power to invite his presence back. Ask for his guidance, his protection and his blessings.