The Whiteboard

Empowered from the Start

These prayer strategies won't guarantee a perfect school year, but they will provide strength and courage for whatever lies ahead.

As the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year draws near, seasoned educators already know that inevitable battles await, including challenging students, unsupportive families, new curriculum, increased responsibilities, policies that undermine Christian values, conflict with colleagues, or difficult supervisors. And because our classrooms change every year, we can never anticipate what we may face. This yearly cycle can become wearisome. 

As a Christian, I know that these battles are often spiritual battles, even though they are happening in the natural realm and feel very real.

I have learned that when I approach a new school year covered in prayer, God always empowers me to overcome whatever lies ahead. And my prayer covering can start long before the school year even begins… 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12, NIV

Many years ago, I decided to engage in a pre-emptive strike of praying up, praying down, praying in, and praying out before the first day of school begins. It took me a few years to finesse this strategy, but now, I would never start a school year without implementing this battle plan. 

Praying Up

I have learned to take advantage of the slower pace during the summer months, spending more time praying up and seeking God’s will for the upcoming school year. I ask the Lord to reveal to me the specific areas He wants me to pray about. I also ask for His guidance on how to pray for what He reveals to me. I always keep in mind that prayer is as much about changing me as the circumstances about which I am praying. I find that when I take the time to pray up for the coming school year, God is always faithful to empower me, giving me strength and courage for the inevitable battles that lie ahead.

Praying Down

In the last few weeks leading up to the first day of school, I make a point to pray down on my knees. While there is no right or wrong way to pray, I find that praying on my knees not only changes my physical posture but changes the posture of my heart as well. When kneeling in prayer, I am overcome by a sense of humility and reverence as I submit the upcoming school year to God. Ironically, praying down always lifts me up, empowering me to start the new school year with confidence knowing that God has a greater plan and purpose for it. 

Praying In

During room set-up days before school starts, my husband joins me to pray in my classroom. We ask God to fill my room with His presence. We pray through my class roster, bringing each student’s name before the Lord in prayer. We also lay hands on the chairs and ask for blessing and peace for the student who will sit there. We often bring anointing oil. As we dab the oil on the door frame leading into my classroom, we ask God to protect my room. Praying in my room with this level of specificity always gives me peace as I anticipate another school year. 

Praying Out 

At the start of each school year, my family joins me to pray out around my school. As we walk around the campus where I teach, we ask God to assign His angels to the perimeter to protect the staff and students from any demonic forces that may try to attack. I have found this type of praying out to be an effective and empowering weapon in spiritual warfare. As we walk and humbly ask God for His angels to surround my school, my confidence in His supernatural protection increases my hope for the coming school year.  

Consistent application of these four prayer strategies does not guarantee a perfect school year, but it does give me the strength and courage to begin a new school year feeling empowered and ready to fight any battles that may come my way.

Michelle Keso’s career includes educating children, young adults, and teachers. She is an Assistant Adjunct Professor for the College of Education at Grand Canyon University. Her heart is to encourage educators to invest in strong relationships and instructional practices to promote a passion for learning in their students.


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