Moms, I get it. A lot of us painstakingly search for that perfect community for our kids to grow up in, and we’re so careful to find the right fit for our children; we want them to have a successful, happy, carefree life, and that starts with a happy, carefree childhood. Some of us don’t have a say in the community we live in, but still want it to be the best possible place to raise our children into kind, compassionate, God-fearing adults. That’s why a little over a year ago, I shared a post about 5 ways to pray for your community, because I know we all want to remember our community in prayer as our children go. But now, I’d really like to share 5 more ways you can raise your community up in prayer.
In my original post about ways to pray for your community, I shared that we should raise up our neighbors, our community leadership, our local schools and students, the churches, and the community outreach programs. These are still very valid and important things to pray for, and I go more in-depth with those in that post.
But we also need to consider a few more.
As we lift the student body in prayer, we need to especially pray for our student athletes, club leaders, and those in programs like theatre and scholar’s bowl. No, these positions doesn’t set them to any higher level of importance than any other student, but it often does make them a role model, both to younger students as they help to lead camps and activities for them, and to their peers, who may be in those same groups and clubs, or may not. When we raise these students, we want to pray that they will be good leaders in the community, and use the positions they have for good. We also want to pray for their health and well-being. And finally, we want to pray that they don’t get mixed up in bad decisions. When I was in school, it was a well-known fact that certain groups of kids within athletics and leadership clubs were fans of alcohol and drugs; in fact, before I took on a leadership role in my school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions club, it turns out that many other leaders in that club before me were partaking in the very things they’d openly speak against during school hours. We want to pray that our student leaders are honest, and make wise choices.
Yet another student in our community, who attended school after I did, was a shining example for Christ. However, multiple injuries as a result of his high school football career led to him collapsing and eventually passing away. While his legacy reached so many people it might not have otherwise touched in his passing, losing a leader in the community is never an easy thing, and never something we wish on our community. As we pray for our students, we want to lift these students who are in the spotlight in our prayers and make sure they’re setting a shining example, as well as reaching out to those who might not be in the spotlight so they don’t feel lost or ignored. We want to pray that these students, who are sometimes feeling so pressured to participate in bullying, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, and more will choose to make positive decisions in front of their peers.
When you pray for your community, please pray for the law enforcement officers and emergency personnel. As many of us know, it’s been a tough year to be a police officer. In light of events like Ferguson, there have been a lot of attacks on law enforcement, and it makes it a scary, scary career path to take. Further, we have people like firefighters and EMTs running towards danger, not away from it. Today marks the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, in which we saw a lot of people running towards the danger that so many were trying to get away from. It’s important to lift these people in dangerous, often life-threatening careers in prayer. While you’re at it, take time, if you can, to watch a police officer’s back as he fills up his car at the gas station, take time to share a thank you with our emergency personnel and let them know they matter to you.
As you pray for those town leaders, as I shared in my last post, pray for the recreation and activities commission in your hometown. Pray that they create family-appropriate activities that allow you to bond with each other, that help foster that sense of community support, and help make the town one that everyone feels a part of. Recently, our town announced plans to create a WiFi hotspot on specific nights to create a safe, free space to do homework or other work, so even those without that access could have the tools they needed for success. They regularly plan family events– parent-child date nights, craft nights for adults, community trips to various athletic events in the area… these all bring the community together. Further, pray that your town will offer scholarship opportunities to those who want to participate but might not have the means, and, if you feel led, consider donating to those funds if your family utilizes those activities and programs (and even if they don’t).
Pray for the local business owners. Owning a business is hard. Often, local business owners will put their entire life savings on the line to open up a new business, and will be fighting against franchises to make their voice heard. While many communities encourage this local business growth, others don’t, and even those that do can make it hard for business owners to succeed. Pray that these business owners are running a business that the community can be proud of, pray for their well-being and health as they run a business, and pray that the community support them. When you can, consider showing support of your own by visiting these establishments and being a patron of these shops and restaurants, but also lift them in prayer. Running a business is stressful, and often requires long hours of very hard work. If you don’t know where to start, look at your town’s Chamber of Commerce membership list and pray over those businesses, then continue to pray for those others you know of in your local area.
Finally, pray for the local child care. First, having a child care facility is hard work; often these people give up part of their home, but also so much of their life, to help be a guiding voice in your child’s life. They can use this role for good or for bad, and we want to pray that they’re using this role for good as they help to raise up the children in the community. There are some providers who spend a considerable amount of time with the children that they are caring for, and I know from personal experience that many of these providers love and invest in these children as though they’re their own– not just as though they’re children they have to care for, but children that they love and want to care for. It’s truly a labor of love, so you want to pray that child care providers will have heart and not be overwhelmed with stress, frustration, or exhaustion. Pray that these child care providers will feel empowered, happy, and hopeful for the future of the children they’re helping to raise up. Pray that these will be good influences in the lives of the children they care for, and that they’ll show a good example to the children in the community. Sometimes, we hear horror stories about tragedies that happen in child care, but we must remember all of the times that there are no tragedies, that child care providers help bring up wonderful, kind children who can be leaders in their own communities.
Prayer can be a really powerful thing, and when we take the time to pray for the area that we live in, we can help make it a better place. As we pray, we might also take some time to listen to how we can serve, where our talents can be put to use in our community to help better it. Maybe someone with a leadership talent can fill a role on the city council, planning board, or in a local town pride committee. Or, perhaps someone with a knack for design or photography or art can lend their talent to the community in volunteer service. There are so many opportunities for people to give back to the community they live in, and often, it starts with prayer.
Who do you pray for within your community? Let me know in the comments below!