School Prayer – A Legacy of First Amendment Revision
School Prayer was removed from the U.S. public education system by slowly changing the meaning of the First Amendment through a number of court cases over several decades. The following is a summary of three pivotal cases in the early 1960’s:
“The Regent’s School Prayer” (Engel v. Vitale, 1962)
The New York education system adopted a school prayer to be said before the start of each day’s classes. This prayer promoted good moral character, provided spiritual training, and helped combat juvenile delinquency. The regents wrote a school prayer that was non-sectarian or denominational. In fact, it was so bland that it became known as the “to whom it may concern prayer.” Here it is: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.”
Justice Hugo Black wrote the following for the majority, “It is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers… the Regent’s prayer are inconsistent both with the purposes of the Establishment Clause and the Establishment Clause itself.” This ruling did not stop school prayer completely, only those schools that had a regent style prayer. Voluntary prayer was still permitted.
Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina said, “I should like to ask whether we would be far wrong in saying that in this decision the Supreme Court has held that God is unconstitutional and for that reason the public school must be segregated against Him?” John Bennett, Dean of Union Theological Seminary continued, “If the Court in the name of religious liberty tries to keep a lid on religious expression and teaching both in the public schools and also in connection with experiments that involve cooperation with public schools, it will drive all religious communities to the establishment of parochial schools, much against the will of many, and to the great detriment of public schools and probably of the quality of education.” At the time there were just a handful of Protestant schools in the country. Today, they number in the thousands.
“School Prayer” (Murray v. Curlett, 1963)
School prayer was the focus of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, a militant left wing atheist with close ties to the American Communist Party, when she filed a lawsuit against the school board of Baltimore. The local court judge, J. Gilbert Pendergast, dismissed the petition stating, “It is abundantly clear that petitioners’ real objective is to drive every concept of religion out of the public school system.” The case went to the Maryland Court of Appeals, and the court ruled, “Neither the First nor the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to stifle all rapport between religion and government.”
The “School Prayer” case then made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Leonard Kerpelman addressed the court saying prayer in the public schools had been tolerated for so long that it had become traditional and that anything that is unconstitutional does not become constitutional through tradition. He went on to say the Constitution had erected a “wall of separation” between church and state, at which point Justice Potter Steward interrupted, asking where this wording appears. Kerpelman was stumped and an embarrassing silence followed. When he regained his composure, he stated that the text was not explicit on the point but that it had been interpreted to mean so.
Remarkably, the National Council of Churches and several Jewish organizations favored Madalyn O’Hair’s case! Not a single Christian organization filed a brief in support of school prayer. The Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in favor of abolishing school prayer and Bible reading in the public schools. Justice Tom Clark wrote, “Religious freedom, it has long been recognized that government must be neutral and, while protecting all, must prefer none and disparage none.” The federal government considers atheism to be a religion, and this Supreme Court ruling favored atheism, at the expense of the Christian majority.
“School Prayer & Bible Reading” (Abington Township School District v. Schempp, 1963)
The Pennsylvania school system complied with a state law requiring that ten verses of scripture be read every day. The readings were without comment and any student could request to be excused. This case came to the Supreme Court at the same time as the Murray v. Curlett case, and the court ruled on them together. In a nutshell, the court’s ruling stated that School Prayer and Bible reading were violations of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In ironic fashion, the court established a secular religion for our school system, thus violating the “establishment clause” of the First Amendment.
School Prayer – We encourage you to visit free2pray.info for more information!
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?
– We have all
and deserve God’s judgment.
, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him.
, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He
for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was
rose from the dead
according to the
. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your
, declaring, “
Jesus is Lord
,” you will be saved from
and spend eternity with God in heaven.
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow JesusYes, I am already a follower of JesusI still have questions
As children and young adults head back to school, now — when everything is going well — is a good time to turn to the Lord
Well Lord, here we are once again. My classes are selected and my schedule is planned out, and another year of schooling stretches out before me. I thank you for the opportunity to become educated, for the chance to study, which is a privilege many in this world are denied. I thank you for the physical and intellectual capacities that will facilitate my learning. Please help me to do my best, especially to do better than I did last year.
Help me to be conscientious and observant in my studies, that nothing important may be skimmed or overlooked.
Help me to keep my priorities ordered, so that my efforts are not distracted idle gossip and dubious activities, and my intentions do not become lost in the miasma of social events and commitments.
Help me to be generous to others who are also studying, offering help where I may be helpful, allowing others to help where I am struggling.
More to read: 3 saints who probably had learning disabilities
Help me to remember that some of your saints struggled with their studies, that I might remember to call on them – St. Joseph of Cupertino; St. Bernadette Soubirous, Blessed Solanus Casey – for the help of their intercessory prayers, that in every difficulty, I might be most ready and alert to recognize your assistance.
May I remember through the year that my guardian angel, your saints, and your Holy Mother are always with me, and always ready to assist with their prayers. May I remember too, that in times of real fear or apprehension, I may always place these difficulties into the depths of your Sacred Heart, that anxiety may not overwhelm me.
As I apply the gifts given to me by God, our Father, I ask that I may always be a ready voice to give glory, praise and thanksgiving to your Holy Name, in true gratitude. Amen
At Teach the Children International, we are committed to faith-filled, word-backed prayer for education. Our heart is for American schools to be the best place in the world to educate a child. This can only be accomplished through the prayer of faith-filled, Word-filled believers who will stand in the gap and claim our educational system for God. So this year, as school starts, join us in prayer for our children and our schools.
The start of school is a new beginning. Children have new classrooms, new teachers, new curricula and new school supplies. The start of a new school year is like hitting the reset button for each child, where the course of a child’s life can change for the better from this point on. For the most part, students are excited and come to school ready to learn, this is especially true at the start of a new school year. As intercessors, we realize the significance of a new beginning. I encourage you to push into prayer for a new beginning for each child—that this is the year that child’s life will be set on a course to know Jesus.
Education is one of the seven cultural mountains that make up American culture. It is vitally important that there be a reformation in education. While there are rumblings of old things being done away within our nation’s educational system, there is much to be accomplished in prayer. Let’s pray new beginnings and change so we can witness a transformation in America’s educational system.
For years, we have been strong proponents of Prayer Walking schools. Years ago I put together a condensed prayer guide for anyone who wished to pray at a school or to Prayer Walk around a school. It would be great if you would get another friend to join with you in prayer. Bless you as you start out on your journey to change our nation one child, one prayer at a time.
Prayer Walking a School
Make no mistake, Prayer Walking a school is SPIRITUAL WARFARE. Never treat your time prayer walking a school as a casual stroll. You are here for a purpose. It is perfect intercession because you will be praying for children you do not know and for changes that you may never personally experience. It is a spiritual adventure.
As a word of caution, many times intercessors pick up on the humanistic spirit around a school and the walk can be depressing. Be aware of what’s going on around you spiritually. If you will notice your prayers becoming increasingly negative, take charge immediately and change the course of your focus. It is extremely important that positive, faith filled prayers based on the Word of God are prayed over our schools.
Below are some simple guidelines to help keep you focused and will help you pray more effectively for a school and for education. The Holy Spirit may prompt you to pray about something different from what is on this list, that’s okay. Listen to His voice and flow with how He leads you. Speak to the areas that He wants changed and always make positive declarations.
Start off at the Flagpole
If you can, start off at the flagpole. Anoint the flagpole with oil and dedicate the school and your prayer time to God. Declare God’s victory over the students, administration, support staff, and parents.
- Begin with praise for the potential in the youth of today and all that God can and will do through them. Praise God for the fact that we have schools, where our children can learn and that those schools are conveniently located.
- Thank God for the teachers who commit their lives to the education of the children. Pray for their home life and for good physical health.
- Thank God for the believers who already have a presence in the school. Pray they are strengthened to be salt and light in the classroom and bold in their witness for Jesus.
- Pray protection of the students, teachers, administrators, counselors, and security that are at the school.
- Pray that anyone with evil intent is prevented from entering the building and all threats will be thwarted, brought to nothing, and revealed.
- Pray for academic excellence and the children will be attentive and will have a heart to learn.
- Pray for peace in the classroom. Pray for teachers to have patience, grace and love for their students, as well as a love of teaching.
- Pray for parents, teachers, secretaries and administrators.
- Pray for teachers who will teach the truth of God regardless of the content of the curriculum.
- Pray for principals, vice-principals, administrators, counselors, school board members, teachers, teacher’s aids, office personnel and all others who have any position of authority in the school to have wisdom, understanding and discernment.
- Pray for the truth of God’s Word to prevail in every situation in the classroom and in the school.
- Pray there be no persecution of Christians.
- Pray that anyone contemplating an abortion would have divine intervention and the life of the child would be spared.
- Pray that there will be no bullying in the school
- Pray for revival in the school.
End your walk in Praise, because God has heard you and He will answer your prayers even though you may never know this side of heaven the extent of what your faith has brought into reality.
Prayer for the Cultural Mountain of Education
- Pray for all our Colleges and Universities be reclaimed for their original intent. Many of America’s prominent Colleges and Universities were established to train ministers to take the Gospel to this nation. They were all, at some point, taken over by humanists (those who believe that man is god).
- Pray that there would be freedom to teach Christianity in public schools. Public schools were originally created in lieu of Christian schools so religion would not be taught.
- Pray that parents will be have/take full responsibility of the education of our children. Since 1898, the state has taken control of the education of American children.
- Pray for Godly influencers to come forth at the highest academic level. Our schools have suffered as those who were humanist, like John Dewey, wrote academic papers with plans to produce children void of any religion. Dewey was also responsible for writing the religious declaration for public schools known as The Humanist Manifesto. Written in 1933, the Humanist Manifesto declared humanism as the religion of our public schools. Humanism is Baal worship. If you are familiar with the Baal Divorce Decree read it while at your school.
- Pray that prayer and Bible reading would be restored in all our schools. Prayer and Bible reading were removed from our public schools in the early 1960s by US Supreme Court rulings.
- Pray that the Ten Commandments will be taught and displayed in every classroom in America. Display of the Ten Commandments was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 2013. Pray that our children will see, know and abide by the Ten Commandments.
- Evolution is taught by every public school system in the United States. Louisiana is the only state that allows Creationism to be taught along with evolution at the discretion of the teacher. The removal of God as our Creator is the one major ungodly change in our education from which all other changes were able to be made.
- Pray for the National Education Association (NEA) to be restored to its original intent as a professional organization that would be a meeting place for teachers to exchange ideas and promote effective teaching and learning practices. It was taken over by humanists educators at the turn of the twentieth century and made a labor union that would promote social issues.
- Pray that American history from a Godly perspective would be taught in our classrooms. Today the trend is to rewrite our history in a negative light, depicting our forefathers as greedy, ungodly and ruthless.
- Pray that the states and not the federal government would determine what is best for their children and would make decisions in the formation of curriculum and all matters concerning public schools. The federal Department of Education was founded in 1979 as a result of a campaign promise by President Jimmy Carter. This department is responsible for the federal programs such as: No Child Left Behind, Race for the Top, Common Core, etc.
“Have Faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth,
if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’
and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.”
Humanism is the god of public education and directly related to Baal. Repeat the Baal Divorce Decree over the school.
If you have any comments or questions, contact Nancy Huff at [email protected]