Prayer matters 2: The Father’s care at the school gate
Posted on: 9th March 2023
The first day at school in a new culture can be a daunting experience for children (and their parents!). Being part of a family serving the Lord overseas is a rich experience, but also comes with challenges. Education is just one of the many aspects of family life for which CMS missionaries need your prayers.
Anita knelt down by the railings and tried again to encourage her little boy to go through the gate and into the playground, which was rapidly emptying as children made their way inside for class. But he wouldn’t budge. Anita took him to one side to pray with him, and then they returned to the gate.
This was his first day at a new Spanish-speaking school; he had been learning Spanish for a while with the help of a daily cartoon, but this morning it just felt too hard to let go of his mum’s hand.
To her relief, a teacher spotted them and came across to help. Anita explained the language issue. “Oh, I’m the English teacher,” she replied, and told them her name… which turned out to be the same as a favourite character from the Spanish cartoon! Suddenly, the little boy found his courage and marched through the gate without looking back.
This story from CMS missionaries Anita and Adrian Lovell, serving in Bolivia, of God’s quiet but perfectly-timed provision for one of his little ones reminds us to keep praying for the small things. Cross-cultural mission is a whole-family endeavour.
Here are some common family-related prayer requests from our missionaries:
Pray for the children starting new schools this year, returning to their existing ones, or resuming homeschool routines. Ask that the Lord would give them courage and help them to cast their anxieties on him, because he cares about them (1 Peter 5:7). For those attending school in a different language, pray that their ability to understand, speak, read and write their new language will grow quickly. Ask the Lord to provide good friends and opportunities to share Jesus with their classmates. Pray for older children as they prepare for exams and make decisions about their next steps.
Health and wellbeing
Pray for good health for missionaries and their families, for the challenges in navigating new healthcare systems, and for the provision of any necessary medical care. Pray for strength, energy and creativity for parents, particularly those caring for small children.
Church and faith
Pray for children to be excited about the work that they are part of and for the Lord to grow in them a heart for mission. Pray that they would love to gather with God’s people for church, and would begin to learn how they might serve others. Ask that older children would begin to take greater ownership of the faith they have been taught and sink deep roots into God’s word to establish them for a lifetime of discipleship.
Mums and dads
Pray for wisdom and patience for parents as they raise their children in the Lord, particularly with the additional challenges of being away from extended family and support networks. Ask that the Lord would provide encouragement and support through the local church and overseas partners. Pray for their relationships with one another, with their children, and with key people such as teachers and doctors.
Pray too for missionaries to know how best to honour and care for their parents as they age. Ask for wisdom, provision and love to direct their decisions.
Writing to missionaries to let them know you’re praying can be a great way to encourage them. Contact your local CMS branch for more information on how to get in touch.