Back to School Prayer Gathering

I hate things out of season.  It makes me feel irritated, sad, and confused.  Like last week when my daughter insisted on watching Elf- in her Grinch PJ’s- wearing a Santa hat- in Texas- in July… I obliged until she began playing Christmas music and asked if she could cut snowflakes from my coffee filters.  NO!  It’s 104 degrees outside!  Go sing Jingle Bells in the pool!  I can hardly handle Hobby Lobby right now either with their aisles of pumpkins and scarecrows, followed by row after row of Christmas ornaments.  I feel like the moment the kids get out of school for the summer I start receiving Pottery Barn Kids catalogs filled with monogrammed backpacks on children dressed in sweaters and boots.  Target has been filled with school supplies since early June neatly stacked underneath giant pencils boasting “Back to School.”  Shut up, Target.


Honestly, I won’t even let anyone say the “S-word” in my presence until August.  You know the one… It comes with earlier mornings, busier schedules,  extra curricular activities, increased taxi duty, homework drama, and a million things to keep up with.  Obviously I do not have the best attitude about the “S-word” and you can pray for me as it comes crashing into my summer like a locomotive of stress.   I know that It’s Always a Beautiful Season and with all of those hard things there comes blessings as well.  Earlier bedtimes around here won’t be terrible.  A couple of days a week of quiet will probably serve my search for selah well.  The kids have been routine-free since May 5th and are getting a little bored and restless. Confesh- I have had my days of feeling…. um….crazy?  I do love school supplies and good grief –  It.  Is.  HOT!!   I find myself saying, “go find something to do that does not include standing there looking at me/following me around while I talk on the phone/eating one more snack” more and more.  I’m trying really hard to look at the positives.  And, because the calendar has officially been flipped to August, I guess we need to talk about the “S-word.”

Since mentioning it in Somewhere Between Pizza-Hut and Pinterest, I have had several ladies ask me about our “Wine, Cheese, and Prayer Night.”  Because this is one of my tribe’s favorite traditions, I thought I would devote an entire post to it and invite you all to join in.  Also, I thought the name of this important event needed a little make-over for the sake of the blog, so today we shall call it a “Back to School Prayer Gathering,” although I highly recommend the wine and cheese.

For a limited time, when you subscribe you’ll receive a set of our Back to School Prayer Prompts {We’ve included a set of printable cards for Parents, Students and Teachers!}

First of all, the WHAT?  As a tribe (Bible study/Life/Community/Discipleship group), we dedicate one night a year, usually the week before school starts, to praying for all of our children by name.  This is a night of focus.  This is a night of intentionally speaking words of life over our kids.  This is a night of standing shoulder to shoulder as mothers in agreement for answered prayer in the lives of each other’s children.  This is a night of dedicating the coming school year to the Lord.  This is an Ebenezer Stone in the life of our group, in the lives of our kids.  Remember ‘ole Ebenezer from 1 Samuel 7:12?  “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen.  He named it Ebenezer saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.”  It is like a monument to look back on for the next nine, hectic, crazy, rushing months to remember “thus far the Lord has helped us.”

So, next is the WHY?  Prayer is my jam.  At least I desperately want it to be.  Is there anything in the Christian life more important, yet more neglected than prayer?  Is there anything that can unite people like prayer can?  In her book Restless, Jennie Allen says, “If we only had an inkling of all we miss because we do not pray, because we do not believe the Spirit in us is able to do impossible things, we would shudder.

It seems harsh to say that “we do not believe the Spirit is able” but when our life is marked by the sin of prayerlessness, that is exactly what we are proclaiming to both the natural and spiritual realm.

If we could really get the picture,  the idea, the truth, that God has invited us to “approach His throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need ” (Hebrews 4:16), I don’t believe we would ever leave.  If we really understood what it meant for Jesus to be “at the right hand of God also interceding for us”  (Romans 8:34), we would see how anything outside of prayer, anything within our own power, is ridiculous.  Need a few more why’s?

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:5

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man [Mom] avails much.  James 5:16

Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord.  Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children.  Lamentations 2:19

So, what does this gathering look like?  The HOW is really up to you.  Invite your tribe over one night and ask everyone to bring a yummy appetizer, or put out a lovely fruit and cheese board and provide a couple of bottles of wine.


Maybe you would prefer desserts and coffee. A little ‘ole fashioned pot-luck dinner, anyone? We have always just gathered as moms but I can see real power in inviting the dads to be a part of covering their children in prayer.  (And to you grandparents, I can think of no greater gift you could give to both your kids and grandkids than to host an evening like this.  What a legacy!)  The setting doesn’t really matter but I always look for the opportunity to have a little party!

And now for the prayer.  A few years back I was really convicted about “prayer requests.”  I absolutely believe in “bearing one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2), and voicing our hearts’ cry to our community but praying together had really just turned into a big vent session.  Heavy on the griping, light on the praying.  Anyone else?   So now, when my tribe gathers weekly for prayer, we hear each other’s requests when they are voiced out lout to the Father.

We actually pray about our own junk rather than just talk about it.

Obviously, we agree with one another in those moments, there are times we lay hands on someone and all pray together, we take those prayers home and intercede for our sisters throughout the week. But there is some ownership in presenting our own requests to God.

So, when it comes to this special Back to School Prayer gathering, we all take the days and weeks before to search scripture and ask God to highlight a promise, an appeal, a need, a place of growth for each of our children.  I highly recommend The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie O’Martin and Praying the Scriptures For Your Children by Jodie Berndt as amazing resources in both identifying places of prayer and providing scriptures for them.  I have the most highlighted, dog-eared copy of both of these books and I go back to them time after time when I need wisdom in articulating a hope I have for my children and help in finding an appropriate promise or verse to declare.  So for me, after pressing in closely to Jesus and being still to listen to His heart for my kids, I end up with 4 notecards with verses for each of my children on them.   I insert their names in them.  I highlight them in my Bible and write next to it, “for (name of kid), 2016-2017.”  I write it in each of their prayer journals and come back to it weekly to proclaim it, to stand on it, to sometimes beg it of the Lord in their lives.  Now that 3 out of 4 of mine are readers, I also give them a copy of the verse I am believing for them over and over.  It finds its way into lunchboxes, on notecards tucked inside of pillow cases, or written with dry-erase markers on bathroom mirrors.

When we all gather on that night, fresh notecards in hand, a fresh Word in our hearts, Bible’s opened to new promises with kids’ names written in, we just speak it all aloud.  We take turns to pray these verses over each of our children.  We carry our babies, whether they are 2 or 20, to the throne room and place them at the feet of Jesus.  We stand on the promises and we stand together.   We declare that “no weapon formed against them shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17), as they enter this next school year.  We say of them, “The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life,” (Psalms 121:7).  We proclaim that our kids will be “like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers.” (Psalms 1:3). We lift their teachers up as well, the physical buildings they will be learning in. We agree in spirit saying, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on them; establish the work of their hands for them,” (Psalms 90:17).  Well, you get the idea.

I am humbled every time I go home to my parents house to find a copy of Stormie O’Martin’s book The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children sitting by my mom’s chair on her sun-porch.  It is every bit as dog-eared as my copy of The Power of a Praying Parent.  It reminds me that this part of parenting is never finished…prayer.  It is the greatest gift we can give our kids.

So, as the “S-word” approaches and you are outfitting your kids (or grandkids) with backpacks and new shoes and school supplies, don’t forget the thing that they will need the most as they set out that first day- prayer.  It is powerful.  Whether you gather to “rejoice with those who rejoice,” or “mourn with those who mourn,” over school starting back, consider rallying your tribe for a prayer night like this and watch God be so very faithful to you and your children.  I would love to hear about your Back to School Prayer Gathering so I can say with you, “thus far the Lord has helped us [all].”  #BTSprayergathering  Blessings to you and yours this school year.

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