“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you.” – Psalm 32:8
Supporting students means supporting the environments where the students are learning, growing, and interacting. Teachers, paraprofessionals, and professors impact these school environments by the way they structure their classrooms and interact with their pupils. Their important influence means they need our prayers daily!
For Heather Kohnen, being a teacher isn’t just a job—she firmly believes God has uniquely called her and created her to be an educator.
“As teachers, we truly work with the whole child, and as a Christian teacher, I see each student as a little eternal soul,” Kohnen said.
Kohnen splits her time between teaching and ministry with half her time teaching in a public elementary school, and the other half serving with Christian Educators International as a Director of the AWAKE Project. AWAKE stands for– Ambassadors Working as Kingdom Educators, with the purpose of encouraging Christian educators in their calling.
With over 20 years of experience directly in schools coupled with ministering to the hearts of educators, Kohnen has felt a heavy burden for educators over the last year and a half. She has seen seasoned educators step away from their profession exhausted and hopeless.
“They’re questioning whether or not they are making an impact, which leads to hopelessness,” Kohnen said. “This is the root of the burnout.”
Her experience and tender heart for classrooms across America give her unique wisdom to know how to pray for these education leaders.
Praying for all educators
Many states have academic standards that students must meet, and while standards help increase knowledge, it can create pressure to focus on test scores rather than the whole development of the student.
“I would pray that teachers would be reminded that their students are eternal soul, and not just test scores,” Kohnen said. “So that if the test scores aren't what they want them to be due to the pandemic, teachers know they have an eternal impact on kids. They are making a difference.”
Praying for Christian educators
Teaching is full of minute-by-minute decision making: deciding how to best motivate students and how to respond to challenges in front of students to model healthy resilience; all of it requires the Holy Spirit to guide every interaction and lesson to reach the fullest impact.
“Pray that teachers would be reminded that they can't and aren't doing this alone; they're reminded that the Holy Spirit is in them and with them,” Kohnen said.
Praying for educators who are not yet believers
This is a perfect opportunity to put prayer/care/share into practice! Pray for the teacher, find ways to support and serve the teacher, and share about praying for them out of an abundance of faith in God.
“First of all, love that teacher and be the be the source of encouragement for them,” Kohnen said. “Teachers often hear from society about what's not going well in schools, so ask the Lord to show specific ways to affirm that teacher and encourage them.”
If you are an educator or know a Christian educator and want to learn more about the encouragement and support available through Christian Educators International, check out their website at https://www.ceai.org/
Jesus, Your disciples called you Teacher when You were on Earth, and we look to You as the ultimate source of knowledge and wisdom. We ask that You fill the hearts of teachers as they instruct and nurture young minds around the country—fill them with wisdom on what to teach, how to teach it, and how to make a lasting impact on their students. Open their hearts to be receptive to Your Holy Spirit as they speak with students and fellow educators.
In Jesus name, Amen.
Peace and blessings,