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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

Know Anyone Going Back to School?

Two Prayers for Every Kid You Care About

A special welcome to new friends joining us after the “Challenges Won’t Stop Me” podcast (linked below). And to all: Please don’t miss the short video at the end of children in South Sudan joyfully entering their schoolroom!

It’s late August.

I know, right? It’s not possible for summer to be departing so soon on her annual nine-month vacation. I miss her already.

But stores and social media are full of back-to-school promotions and pictures. I recall the anticipation of shopping for new clothes and wandering the aisles of Woolworth’s to pick up notebooks and folders and pencils.

As a farm kid I rode a bus for 12 years, so I never had the experience of a parent dropping me off for school until I was 58 and starting grad school in Wheaton, Illinois, while working full-time. My car was on the fritz and Mike had evening meetings, so Mom drove me to my first night of classes.

For some odd reason the rest of my cohort thought that was hilarious.

My first evening of classes when I finally began my MA program in 2011

How grateful I am for a mother who prayed me through a span of education lasting nearly 60 years!

Mom joked that she hoped to live until my graduation. She was 89 when I finished in 2014!

If you have a kiddo or grandkid returning to school, the best gift you can give them and their teachers is that of fervent, faithful intercession.

At church last week, our pastor of Next Generation Ministries called every student and teacher forward and led our congregation in what he called “The Blessing of the Backpacks,” which included this prayer for the children to use themselves:

God of fresh starts and new beginnings, we bring ourselves, our big feelings, and our backpacks to you.

In our backpacks, we carry blank pages, sharpened pencils, and pointy crayons, and in our hearts, we carry big feelings, unanswered questions,

and hopeful expectations.

There are endless possibilities of what this new year might bring— of what we might learn, who we might meet, and who we might become.

God, our friend who is always with us, be with us through it all.

Be with us as we ride the bus. Be with us as we walk.

Be with us as we buckle seat belts, zip-up jackets, and tie shoes.

However we get there, and whatever we wear,

bless this journey into something new.

For the grown-ups going back to school, With-Us God, be with them too.
Thank you for our teachers, helpers, caregivers, and leaders, and for all they do to help us learn and grow.

God, our friend who’s full of wonder, fill their hearts and bless their hands.

Amen. © 2022 Illustrated Ministry, LLC

With several grandchildren of my own starting school next week, I’m aware of what they may face this year as they walk down those scrubbed and waxed hallways.

Bullying? Many of us endured that too, but it’s worse now that the torment can take place online. Dear Lord, please give our kids the strength to stand.

Peer pressure? May our kids resist any forces inducing them to compromise their values.

Danger from outside forces? Precious Jesus, protect our children from anyone seeking to harm them.

The words of Irish missionary Amy Carmichael, who became “Amma” to hundreds of Indian children during her lifetime, express the cry of my own heart for the young ones I love.

"Father, hear us, we are praying,

Hear the words our hearts are saying,

We are praying for our children.

Keep them from the powers of evil,

From the secret, hidden peril,

From the whirlpool that would suck them,

From the treacherous quicksand, pluck them.

From the worldling’s hollow gladness,

From the sting of faithless sadness,

Holy Father, save our children.

Through life’s troubled waters steer then,

Through life’s bitter battle cheer them.

Father, Father, be thou near them.

Read the language of or longing,

Read the wordless pleadings thronging,

Holy Father, for our children.

And wherever they may bide

Lead them Home at eventide.

Amy Carmichael

Friends, before you go, please take a moment to watch this short video of children entering their combination schoolroom/church in Torit, South Sudan. This was sent to me by my brother-in-law, Dr. George Renner, who is there right now mentoring pastors.

South Sudan is ranked by Forbes as the world’s poorest country, yet look at the joy on the faces of these young people!

If you’ve stayed with me this far, I hope you’ve noticed something. These children do not even have enough chairs to sit on to take their lessons.

George has set up a fund to purchase benches through his mission board, WorldVenture. Mike and I have already sent funds. If you’d like to help too, you can give a tax-deductible donation here. Go to the tab "Explore Workers and Projects" and scroll down to 6423-918-NEGST Alumni Church Planting. George will personally ensure all funds are used for these children.

Thank you for caring, and for praying!

I recently guested on the podcast Challenges Won’t Stop Me, with host Melony Brown.

You’re welcome to join us HERE for our conversation!

Maggie Wallem Rowe is a dramatist and Christian speaker who writes from Peace Ridge, her home in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The author of This Life We Share and Life is Sweet,Y’all, Maggie is a lifelong learner who never wants to leave the classroom.


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