The schools in our neighborhoods have poverty levels ranges from 80% to 89% living at or below poverty. Just what is poverty level? The number is variable for the size of one’s family: a single parent with two children, annual income of $20,000, or $28,400 for a two-parent family with three children. A single person with one child the level is $15,900. Forty hours at week at minimum wage with no vacation is $10,700 before withholdings.
My prayers are for the country in which these families, employees and children live. How many of these fresh kindergarten students will excel at reading a year from now; how many will struggle, and how many will just get by at a lowest-common-denominator measure. How many come from abusive homes and communities? How many will only have regular meals when they are at school? Are our prayers enough?
Prayer is a starting point. Prayer is the conversation with God and God’s people that orients our hearts and actions. Prayer is the place that listen to both God’s call to serve the poor AND God’s call to transform the poor as disciples of Jesus Christ. Some how we think that if only wages were higher, test school would be higher. If only the richer were more generous, the poor would not struggle as much. Our schools have tools and teachers. What our school no longer have are community members actively involved in the day to day operation. We have left family standards to the government. We have left the burden with teacher, coaches, administrators and bus drivers. We value and appreciate their service but they need our help.
God is with us in a broken and sinful world. If our prayer does not guide our families, schools and nations we will continue to spiral. 1) Pray for our schools but don’t stop there.
Those who founded our country dreamed of a freedom to WORK for that they were willing to die to provide for future generations. Our current generations only seem to care for themselves. If you want to see Jesus at work teach a child to read, including the bible, so that you can share prayer, faith, worship, fellowship and life with them. It is time for us as people of faith to work transforming the world so close to home.
If we teach a child to read and the only thing they read is fantasy novels, how to install consumer electronics and complete a job application they will have no moral ground of love and grace. We don’t need 60 seconds to pray in schools. We need the love of Jesus Christ to be physically transforming our children. We don’t need legislation to make people pray, we need to ignore the politically correctness that assumes an unguided time of silence equips children with all they need to know for their moral compass. 2) Prayer is a way of life not simply a repeated phrase.
We need to show children, families and schools God’s love by transforming the communities with the things wages and tests will never measure. The power of God, the presence of the church as the body of Christ and the guidance of the holy spirit. If the schools won’t allow it then build schools the children can come to learn as a whole person. Complaining will not transform a child or their family. The power and love of God in action through the church will restore our children.
If you disagree, just keep blaming the other side of the isle and do nothing more. Call the school and start reading. Call the school and volunteer to be a role model/mentor. Call the school and make an appointment to meet with the principle and share your passion, faith and prayers for them.