Master and Teacher,
Bless the students who will have trouble settling down this week, whose minds are still at the beach or at grandma’s swimming pool, or the amusement park or soccer camp.
Bless those who sit nervously in class: those who are new in school and those who never read anything over the summer and know a test is coming anyway.
Bless those who will struggle, those who will succeed, and those who get lost in the crowd.
Bless the new friendships that will begin on day one and bless those cherished friendships that will be renewed.
Bless them all with compassion, that they may root for the underdog, celebrate those who accomplish much, and pray fervently for each other.
Bless them with an environment free from bullying, needless competition, and petty jealousy.
Help them, Lord, to fall in love with learning.
Bless the parents of these students, their first teachers in the ways of faith. Give them patience when the homework takes too long, give them the courage to understand that their children are not perfect and give them the courage to discipline with love. May they abdicate less and partner more.
And we beg you, Lord, to bring these children safely home at the end of the day, the week, or the semester. Keep them free from violence – at home and at school – on the bus and on the streets – and guide them home to the waiting arms of those who loved them first.
Finally, Lord, we pray in the thanksgiving for the men and women who have already been hard at work straightening desks, taping names to cubbies, painting lockers, planning classes cleaning rooms, decorating bulletin boards, hanging posters, and studying test scores. Bless these servants with peace, patience, persistence, and your Spirit, that they may be Your presence to our young people, Your hands, and Your voice.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord: teacher, servant, and source of all hope.