School Prayer

After recent events, I’ve been thinking about this concept of prayer in schools.  I’m a bit irritated that taking prayer out of schools is one of the things being blamed for what happened.  I’m a teacher and I’m a Christian.  I will tell you up front that those are my only two qualifications to speak on this subject.

There are three sections of scripture I’d like to throw out there to start with:

John 9:31  Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

Matthew 6:5-7 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (6) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (7) But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

So, what exactly are the spokesmen of the Religious Right asking for or complaining about when they clamor about prayer in schools?  Remember this, if you get prayer in school, you’re going to get all religions praying in school.  Are you ready for the principal to read a Christian prayer, followed by a Muslim prayer, then followed by a Wiccan prayer? I know I’m not ready for that.

But, I digress.  Let’s get back to my thoughts.  Considering the three scriptures above, what would be the point of an unsaved principal, or an unsaved teacher, beginning the school day by standing in front of the class repeating a prayer?  God doesn’t hear him.  How many times when a prayer is allowed by a chaplain or other figurehead does he end up reading it from something he prepared earlier? Sounds like vain repetition to me.

Let me shock you a bit.  There is prayer in my classroom.  No, not from me standing up in front of the class putting on a show.  But from me before school.  And during the day with a prayerful attitude. Occasionally at lunch.  And guess what else…I’ve seen 5th graders in my room bow their heads before a test or even during a hard test, close their eyes and silently offer up a prayer.  Funny that “taking prayer out of schools” didn’t stop them from doing it.

Let me boil this down for you.  This whole fight over prayer in schools is just another attempt to avoid responsibility.  It is an individual’s responsibility to take prayer into school. You want God in school?  Take him there in your heart.  Parents, you want God in school? Train your child in the way they should go and have them take God there in their hearts.  No one is stopping them from praying in school.  Yes, they aren’t allowed to make a big show of it, but Matthew 6 pretty much tells you not to do that anyway.



Five Love Languages

In Sunday School we’ve been studying The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I really can’t say enough about this book. I know in my class, I don’t do it justice. I just can’t cover it all in that amount of time. If you’re out there and your marriage just isn’t what it should be, or what you thought it would be, you need to read this with your spouse. It’s that good.

The gist is this. Dr. Chapman believes there are five basic languages that people use to speak love, sending and receiving. They are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Basically, each person speaks one or two of these languages well and probably one or two of them very poorly. Rarely will your love language match the love language of your spouse. Therein lies the problem.

The husband who speaks Receiving Gifts and Physical Touch well paired with a wife who speaks Quality Time is a set up for failure. Here’s a guy who works hard, buys his wife nice things, and is looking to be shown love through physical means. He just doesn’t understand why she is so cold toward him in the bedroom. Of course, the entire time, she feels bought and paid for, but certainly not loved. Their love life is pretty much like a Russian trying to have a conversation with an American. They might eventually communicate, but it will be difficult at best and certainly not deep.

He loves her. She loves him. However, neither one feels it from the other. If this couple would learn to speak each other’s language, both of them would begin to feel the love that the other has for them.

Here’s the deal. This book isn’t just for squabbling mates. Amy and I have a great marriage, 25 years this May, but I am convicted and awakened on nearly every page. Today, for instance, we studied about a wife who tried to tell her husband about her work when she arrived home. Well, the husband listened a bit and then started giving advice on how to handle the situation she was describing. Same the next day, with no implementation of the advice and no change in the situation. This continued until the husband became frustrated and said, “Don’t tell me about it. You won’t do anything I suggest.” The problem though, she wasn’t asking for advice. She was asking for her husband to listen to her, sympathize. Eventually, she may have asked for advice. But she wanted to engage in Quality Conversation. He wanted to speak, not listen. That is me to a T. I am definitely going to apply one of the remedies in the book.

In future blogs I’ll go into the languages. In the meantime, go buy the book and start reading!