Archive for May, 2009

Learning For A Democracy

May 31, 2009

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Ps. 90:12

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned. Titus 2: 7-8

Lord, may our democratic belief that all men are created equal find expression in our public schools.
Let our children be met with both compassion and the challenge of personal accountability.  Let them be safe.
Help our schools provide real mentors who demonstrate character, effort, and a passion for learning.
Help us to fund our schools in ways that in fact give real opportunity to all.
Help us to provide all students with opportunities to learn through art and music, technical training and service.  Help us to preserve our children’s curiosity, expose them to the ideas and history that will help them aspire to lead worthy lives, and also promote the analytical, independent, and rigorous thinking needed to navigate both modern politics and economies.
Let development of our educational policies be guided by leaders whose concern for our children and our democracy outweighs both the comfort of sticking with existing systems and the attraction of personal power.
Guide us, so that our schools might one day fulfill the Jeffersonian ideal of equipping our children to be the guardians of their own liberty, while teaching them to use that liberty wisely, so that our democratic form of government might survive.
Guide us toward justice and wisdom, O Lord, we pray.

Learning and Wisdom

May 24, 2009

Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse . . . Pr. 2:12

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding, for wisdom is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. Pr. 3:13-14.

Lord, bless our institutions of higher learning.  We thank you for the knowledge they preserve, the ideas they spark, and the spaces they provide for thinking. Help them to survive the economic and political pressures that promote credentialism over more rigorous thinking and constrain a fuller dialogue on difficult issues. Help our country place a higher value on intelligence and education, and use the resources it has to translate research into the solutions our communities need.  Help our students develop a greater love of learning and also strength of character as they study principles, data, and consequences.  Both during their time at school and as they move into the working world, give our youth the confidence to contribute their unique perspectives, experiences, and knowledge, as well as the humility to continue learning. Let them find advisors and mentors who support and encourage yet also provoke new thought and achievement, for we know “with many advisors their plans will succeed” (Pr. 15:22).  Yet let us not forget that true wisdom comes from you. And as our graduates enter the working world, do not let them be discouraged, nor become overconfident, but help them look to you for guidance that they may in finding their own paths help us find ours.


Graduating Into The World

May 17, 2009

Who is wise among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. James 3:13-14

Lord, as our graduates go into the world, carrying our hopes and dreams and pursuing their own, help them find opportunities to use their talents, help others, and grow in wisdom.

Help them to seek lives of meaning and purpose rather than “the good life” of consumerism and exclusion.

Let their ideas, ideals, and energy help us rebuild our economy in more equitable and sustainable ways.

Help them use their networks and global awareness to build and connect communities in ways that help us find peace.

Help them to value life long learning and effort, yet practice independent thinking rather than relying on conventional wisdom.  Let no one take them captive “through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8).

Guide them O Lord, and help them to guide us.

In Jesus’ name we pray.


Love As The Path To Peace

May 9, 2009

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. –1 Peter 4:8

Lord, as we rebuild our country and our economy, help us to do so with compassion.  As we allocate resources, harden not our hearts. Let us find ways to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, care for the mentally ill, and treat the drug addicted.  Let us invest more in prevention than in prisons, rebuild our cities with affordable housing, and share resources through community gardens and other programs that help those who are without meet their basic needs. Help us to see that safety is not found in separating from others but in reaching out and building community. Let us not judge, but seek to live in harmony with each other, following the words of your apostle Paul (Romans 12:16).  Help us to recognize our common humanity, preserve human dignity, and care for one another, recognizing that all we have is dependent on your grace.

In Jesus’ name we pray.


Planting The Seeds Of Peace

May 3, 2009

Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:18

Lord, as we work through the complex issues of our time, let us sow in peace.  Help us avoid the weeds and thorns of derision, taunts, denial, sales pitches, propaganda, posturing, and wishful thinking that surround us.

Help us to listen.

Encourage us to explore and seek new information, ideas, and perspectives.

Help us to learn from each other – asking questions, inviting new input, sharing experiences.

Help us to face the reality we have before us, and accept the promise that we can change, so that we might build a better country and world: one where we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you our God. (Micah 6:8)

In Jesus’ name we pray,