In Paul Miller’s The Praying Life, he speaks about prayer and parenting. It took the first seventeen years of parenting for him to really realize that he couldn’t do it on his own and he needed to pray. He summed up that realization saying, “I did my best parenting through prayer. I began to speak less to the kids and more to God. It was actually quite relaxing” (47).
Teachers are not parenting their students, but I think Miller’s point still applies. Could it be that we do our best teaching and discipling when we speak less to the kids and more to God? I think this is profound. It reminded me of what another Paul said in his letter to the Colossians:
…Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.– Col 1:9-12
The Apostle Paul was active in the life of the Colossian church. He was writing to them. He didn’t stop speaking. He didn’t stop teaching. But look at all the ways that he described how he prayed for them! Here is a break-down of how he prayed. He asked:
…continually. He didn’t stop.
…God to fill them with knowledge of his will.
…God to fill them with wisdom and understanding from the Spirit.
…that those things (knowledge and wisdom) would help them live a pleasing, worthy life in the eyes of God.
…that they would break fruit in every good work
…that they would grow.
…that they would be strengthened according to the mighty power of God.
…that they would have endurance and patience.
…for gratitude and joy.
What would our classrooms look like if we prayed for our students that way? Would our integration feel more urgent? Would our academic discipleship be more empowered?
What if we spoke to our kids less and God more? What if we pressed more deeply into the truth that He is faithful to finish what He started in them (Phil 1:6)?