We’ve had one of those springs with very few really nice days with no rain. It’s been cooler and wetter than usual it seems. So this week when I saw the weather forecast for sunshine and 80’s for Monday-Wednesday I just felt the urge to take full advantage of the moment. So…at my elementary I’ve been taking the kids outside for their music time instead of staying in our classroom. I’ve just let them play on the play ground. I don’t do it often…usually once or twice a year but it just felt like the right thing to do until Thursday when it rains and is cold again.
This is what I’ve noticed. Being outside on a beautiful day has got to be the healthiest thing for all of us. We smile more, we laugh more, we run around and get our heart pumping. I’ve enjoyed watching the kids swing and play tag and go down slides. It’s given me time to be with them and not think about behavior or about subject matter. I understand this is not the way an education is made but one or two days spent soaking up life instead of trying to cram in education has to be a good thing.
I’ve had time to look at children differently than I do in my room. The kids don’t know it. I’ve not acted strange or done anything out loud but I find myself walking around the playground praying for each one. Praying for God to guard their future and to help them make good decisions with their lives. I’ve prayed for girls who I can see are already going to be prone to looking for love in the wrong places. I’ve prayed for tough boys who already show signs of rebellion and wildness to come. I’ve prayed for kids who are wearing far too big of clothes and kids who aren’t clean and kids who are obviously rich, white and could easily live their lives based on everything on the outside rather than focusing on what matters most.
I’ve looked into the eyes of children this week and tried to see them as eternal creatures that are made in the image of God.
In my normal classroom life I rarely get that kind of slowed time to focus in on prayer. It takes everything I am to just teach and keep the class behaved most days. So it’s been very refreshing for me.
Especially as I get ready to leave the classroom.
I wonder what hardships these kids will face. What struggles they’ll run into. What kinds of choices they’ll make. This is what I’ve decided…if I could just show up once a week on the play ground and walk around and smile and pray in my mind for these kids I think it would be a worthwhile thing to do. Skip the teaching. Skip the classroom management and the programs I have to put on…just walk around with them on the play ground, them playing and enjoying the outdoors and me praying…I could do that :).
It’s made me think more about my “ideal life” and realize…I want to learn to pray for people I don’t know, specifically my city. My church is all about loving our city and serving our city so these are not original thoughts…but me actually wanting to pray and put it into my schedule, a time and place to pray weekly is an important step for me.
I haven’t decided where I’ll show up for that time. Maybe just somewhere downtown. Maybe a park. Maybe a restaurant. Maybe I’ll just walk random streets. My kids suggested the Lincoln/Douglas statue area downtown. I’m not sure what might happen if I pray. I might never see a single thing from it. But I think that it’s something I want to be more about.
Prayer was Paul’s main ministry in the bible. That thought still stuns me. I want prayer to become a larger part of my ministry.
I’m not going to set up a program or try to advertise or cause a scene. But I do want to regularly show up and pray for whatever God brings to my mind and just trust that God will do something with those prayers.
Already this week, I’ve been wrestling in prayer over my own two girls. Praying for their college/future choices. Praying for them to have dreams and imaginations led by God. Already…in just a couple of days I’m amazed at what God is bringing to the light.
I have a feeling maybe the same kind of thing could happen in my city. That’s my desire. For everything to be brought to the light. For healing to take place. For those who feel unloved to feel loved. For those who are hungry and without shelter to be taken care of. For those who are broken to be restored. For those who are downhearted to be encouraged. For those who are overwhelmed and not sure where to turn next to find peace.
I’m a prayer struggler. I admit it. I don’t understand how prayer works…but I think that my part is just praying anyway. Jesus did it…surely if He needed to than I do too.