A Prayer for Your Child’s Education
Lord, bless my children’s academic skills and efforts. I pray You would give each of them the desire to learn and the gift of knowledge. Help them excel in their strengths while persevering in their weaknesses. Do not let them become discouraged when they cannot grasp things with ease. Instead may they appreciate and store up the knowledge they gain.
Father, as much as I want my children to flourish in their educations, so much more do I want them to gain wisdom. Your Word teaches us that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor (Ecclesiastes 7:12), that wisdom is supreme (Proverbs 4:7) and the one who gets it will have great insight, able to understand what is right and just and fair. May wisdom enter into their hearts and knowledge be pleasant to their souls. May discretion protect them and understanding guard them (Proverbs 2:9-11).
Father, I pray that in all of life’s schools, may my children come to the conclusion that fearing You and keeping Your commandments is the ultimate duty of their lives (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Keep them grounded, centered on You, broadening their knowledge while maintaining their integrity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Verses to Reflect Upon
The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33
How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver. Proverbs 16:16
Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor. Ecclesiastes 7:12
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to knowledge, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord. For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Proverbs 2:1-11
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13
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Imagine how different your life would be if you had never learned to read or understand numbers. For millions of people in the developing world, this is their reality — and their lack of education significantly impacts their ability to step out of poverty.
Worldwide, an estimated 58 million elementary-age children are not enrolled in school. Through age 15, that increases to 120 million. And in spite of progress over recent decades, many children in school do not achieve functional literacy and numeracy skills due to overcrowded classes, lack of supplies, teachers who need more training, or disruption due to disasters and prolonged crises.
By one estimate, more than 200 million children under 5 in developing countries fail to reach their potential in cognitive development — the majority of which live in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty, ill health, poor nutrition, and a lack of stimulation during this crucial period can undermine educational foundations, restricting what children are able to accomplish in the future.
I needed clothes and you clothed me.—Matthew 25:36 (NIV)
Day in and day out, 12-year-old Mohsin used to work at a book-binding business near his house in Meerut, a city in northern India. While hauling around books for 10 hours each day, he yearned to know what was inside them. But after work Mohsin was so physically exhausted he didn’t have time to play, nor could he attend school.
“I was surrounded by books, but I didn’t know what was in them,” he says. “I was always curious to know what they contained. All I thought about was how it would be if I could study these books I carried tirelessly all day.”
He would soon find out. In 2013, World Vision began a project in Meerut to help children not attending school by creating 14 centers where they can get tutoring and learn — for some it’s their only education.
Mohsin began attending, and the center’s staff also spent time speaking with his family about the importance of his education.
A year later, he tested into grade two and quit his job, all with his family’s support. Now, when Mohsin leaves his house each morning, he takes his prized possession — his schoolbag filled with books. He continues to attend the center after school, and now he has time to play cricket with his friends, too. He said he feels healthier and happier and now dreams of the future.
“When I grow up, I want to be a police officer,” Mohsin says. “I want to run fast and catch all the thieves, but I want to finish studying first. Without going to school, I will not become a good police officer.”
His mother has seen a transformation in him that reassures her they made the right choice.
“Even if there is no money in the house, I will still send Mohsin to school,” Kanij says. “I will never stop his education. Mohsin smiles more often now; he is happier. I want a good life for my child.”
Join us in praying that people everywhere — especially children — will gain the education, wisdom, and discernment they need to reach the fullness of life God intends for each of them.
Table of contents
- 1 Pray for an end to the generational cycle of illiteracy and poverty.
- 2 Pray for parents to support their children’s education.
- 3 Pray for teachers everywhere to be men and women of integrity.
- 4 Pray for children’s safety at school.
- 5 Pray for the protection of children who aren’t attending school.
- 6 Pray for girls growing up in cultures that do not value their education.
- 7 Pray for World Vision’s work to educate all children.
- 8 My First Prayer for My Children
- 9 One Simple Way to Pray for Your Children
- 10 More Tips for Getting Started with Prayer
Pray for an end to the generational cycle of illiteracy and poverty.
Every year on Sept. 8 we recognize International Literacy Day and the critical role reading plays in daily life. Without the ability to read and write, families are trapped in the relentless cycle of crushing poverty and day-to-day survival.
Great Teacher, children need an education to have the full and abundant life You came to give them. Your Word demonstrates how You touch people’s hearts to spur them to action for their own benefit. Bless people living in poverty by providing ways to learn to read and to apply this new skill to help lift their families out of poverty — for this generation and generations to come.
“Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.” —Proverbs 4:13 (NIV)
Sponsored child Daly’s academic performance has improved remarkably since she joined the children’s club, where all children in her Cambodian community can gather to learn and play. The 12-year-old’s favorite subject is literature. “I want to be a teacher because I like teaching,” Daly says. “I want to see children in my community be educated. Educated people respect each other.” (©2016 World Vision/photo by Vanndeth Um)
Pray for parents to support their children’s education.
Parental engagement and support greatly increases a child’s chances of access to a quality education and sustaining a commitment to learning. But parents can also be a barrier to education when they support harmful local traditions and customs, such as child marriage, or rely on their children’s income.
Faithful Shepherd, help parents understand the value of their children’s education. May parents and other family members surround children with the support and encouragement to become all who You desire them to be. If economic support is an issue, may parents find additional means of income to provide for their family.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” —Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
Pray for teachers everywhere to be men and women of integrity.
Teachers, who spend more time every day with their students than possibly anyone else, have enormous influence over children’s precious young minds. Ask God to inspire teachers to be the best role models — always speaking the truth in love to the children who look up to them.
Holy Spirit, be with teachers everywhere. Put Your righteousness in their hearts and Your words on their lips to share with the children in their daily care. May classrooms not only fill students with knowledge, but also wisdom, discernment, and integrity.
“Buy the truth and do not sell it — wisdom, instruction and insight as well.” —Proverbs 23:23 (NIV)
Each year, tens of thousands of teachers visit World Vision’s Teacher Resource Centers, located in under-resourced communities in the U.S. where World Vision works. Teachers serving at schools in low-income neighborhoods visit to stock up on learning and classroom supplies. Generous corporate and private donors provide these new, quality supplies that help ensure all students have the tools they need to learn. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)
Pray for children’s safety at school.
World Vision works to keep schools safe and free from all forms of violence, such as fistfights, and installs separate latrines for girls and boys to help prevent gender-based violence. Fulfilling children’s need for and right to protection gives them the opportunity to develop in all areas, including education.
Almighty Lord, classrooms should be safe places for children, but it can’t be guaranteed. Protect children, and help teachers, administrators, and law enforcement officers to remain vigilant against violence. Help them to create an environment where students can flourish.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?” —Psalm 27:1 (NIV)
Pray for the protection of children who aren’t attending school.
Many children can’t attend school because their families depend on their income or the walk to school is too long or dangerous. The 120 million children worldwide not enrolled in school are at greater risk for exploitation, child marriage, and lower income-earning potential. And because half of the world’s out-of-school children live in conflict-affected countries, they are at an even higher risk of being marginalized.
Father God, lay a blanket of protection over children who cannot attend school, especially those whose educations are disrupted by conflict, emergencies, and natural disasters. In Your mercy, provide opportunities for learning so that through education they find the hope and skills for a better future.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” —Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Kamama, 5, (center) and her classmates are learning English vocabulary at their primary school in Kenya. “We aim to develop the whole child through literacy, numeracy, health, and moral education,” says teacher Korio John. The school, Sengelel Primary School in West Pokot County, benefits from the Mtelo water system provided by World Vision that also built latrines and organized WASH clubs for the students to learn about sanitation and hygiene. Enrollment has increased from 200 students to 500 since the water system was completed in 2015. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Pray for girls growing up in cultures that do not value their education.
The global gender divide means a girl can expect to spend eight years in school, but the boy sitting next to her will likely benefit from another 18 months of instruction. Not surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of the world’s 775 million illiterate adults are women — a statistic that hasn’t budged for a decade. Ask God to remove roadblocks and open doors of opportunity for girls to attend school and achieve their potential.
Primary education and literacy for girls transforms and saves lives:
- A child born to a literate mother is 50 percent more likely to survive past age 5.
- If all women in sub-Saharan Africa completed primary school, maternal mortality would fall by 70 percent.
- Educating girls for six years or more improves prenatal care, postnatal care, and childbirth survival rates.
Great Provider, we know You created children with a curiosity to learn about their world. Give every girl and boy the chance to explore the world through their studies. We ask You to raise up godly leaders who will change the way girls and women are treated, opening the possibility for fuller lives and futures filled with promise.
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” —Matthew 19:14 (NIV)
Pray for World Vision’s work to educate all children.
Children are the future of the world’s nations. If children are left uneducated, another generation will continue to struggle without life’s basics. World Vision’s education projects focus on sustainable activities that help children gain access to a quality and equitable education:
- Increasing access to equitable and quality basic education, with special attention to girls and children with disabilities
- Partnering with parents, local organizations, the private sector, and governments to galvanize greater learning outcomes and opportunities
- Strengthening community involvement in education to create enabling environments
Lord, Proverbs tells us that an education is invaluable and that we should pursue it, even if it costs everything we have. We praise you that millions more children are getting an education now than a decade ago. We ask for Your continued blessing on World Vision’s work to educate children worldwide. Help us build momentum around the world so every child has the opportunity to go to school and learn how to read and understand basic math.
“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” —Proverbs 16:16 (NIV)
Contributors: Chris Huber and Denise C. Koenig, World Vision staff
“What matters most is that your prayer is authentic, spoken from the hopes and fears of your heart. God knows you and delights in your voice.”
My First Prayer for My Children
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was flipping through a mother’s prayer book in a library used book sale. One of the prayers said something like this: “Lord, I pray for all the children of the world, that they might know love. I pray that they might have the food, water, shelter and education that they need to flourish. For these young children are the people who will become my child’s friends, classmates, and neighbors. One of them may become my child’s spouse.”
As I read these words, I became teary, suddenly understanding deep in my heart how interconnected we are with God and with one another. I sat down on the floor when I realized that some of the children being born that year would be taught that other children were their enemies. I was profoundly impacted by the idea that my child’s existence depended on the existence of others. And their existence depended upon her.
I picked up that book because I was uncertain about how to pray for my daughter, who had not yet entered the world. Since that day, I have been praying for my own child and the children of the world. That baby is now sixteen. The prayer – from a book I have never been able to find again – has inspired my ministry of equipping parents to practice faith with their families. My work with other parents and Christian educators is one of God’s answers to my prayer for the children of the world.
One Simple Way to Pray for Your Children
In talking with parents of children of all ages, I have realized that many of us are looking for advice and encouragement, much like I was as I picked the book off the library shelf. With this in mind, I offer a few thoughts, especially for parents who may be new to prayer.
Types of Prayer: The acronym ACTS is often used to remember four common types of prayer: Adoration (praising God), Confession (admitting our mistakes), Thanksgiving (expressing gratitude), and Supplication (asking for God’s help). These types of prayer can be specifically applied to prayers for children. I have found that parenting my two daughters has given me new a new perspective on each type of prayer.
Adoration: Praising God
Begin each prayer by naming the wonderful things God has done and the marvelous things God has created. From the moment we first hold our child, smelling their delicious heads, wondering at their toes and fingers, we are awestruck. Furthermore, parenthood opens our eyes to the wonders around us. My toddlers were fond of bringing me treasures from creation: roly-poly bugs, green frogs, pine cones, cakes made of sand, and all kinds of rocks.
As they grow older, they inspire a new sense of awe as we marvel at their growing independence, the growing complexity of their thoughts; we welcome their more sporadic, but heartfelt hugs. At each and every stage, children inspire us to marvel at all that God does.
Confession: Admitting Shortcomings
During prayers of confession, we have the opportunity to ask God to forgive us for our individual and communal sins. Parenthood brings gifts as well as new challenges. Challenges that we do not always respond to well. Through confession we recognize our shortcomings, our impatience, our tendency to compare ourselves and our children to others. Our desire to provide for our children may lead us to prioritize work before family. Screens may help us unwind, but may distract us from real conversation with our kids.
Confide in God, confessing those things you regret having done and those things you regret having left undone. Confession is also a time to recognize the everyday things we do which negatively impact the children of the world. There are systems and structures in place which cause children to suffer from hunger, poverty, abuse, injustice, oppression, and neglect.
Thanksgiving: Gratitude for God’s Blessings
Parenthood may also bring the uncomfortable realization that there are many things outside of our control: health, job loss, accidents, and the actions of others. For this reason, parenthood often increases our gratitude to God for life’s necessities and joys. Give thanks for health, safety, food, shelter, joy, laughter, community, and love.
Supplication: Requests for God’s Help
During supplication, we ask for God’s help. From the moment we learn of our child’s arrival through the time they graduate and beyond, the list of things to ask God for on behalf our children is long. We ask for our children to do well in school, or overcome illness. We pray for our children to be content. We pray that they will make good choices and find true friends. We make specific requests about the challenges in their lives.
More Tips for Getting Started with Prayer
I suggest recording the things you pray for in a prayer journal. I have a prayer notebook which goes back to my girls’ toddler years. As I look back through it, I am reminded of the times God answered prayers directly, and also the ways God provided strength and comfort during times of challenge and grief. The prayers of gratitude and adoration I have recorded remind me of God’s love and presence throughout the journey of parenthood.
Parents, be encouraged. There is no one right way to pray. What matters most is that your prayer is authentic, spoken from the hopes and fears of your heart. God knows you and delights in your voice. God wants to hear your hopes and fears. I pray you find the blessing of prayer as you pray for your children.
Christine V. Hides is the Director of Ministries with Children and Youth at Northbrook UMC, Content Manager for Christians Engaged in Faith Formation, a mother of two, and a certified deacon candidate in the United Methodist Church. She writes about Christian education at Bless Each One.