Back-to-school rituals


Yes, it’s that time again already. The summer is over. It went by way too fast. Hopefully, you and your family were able to get some vacation time together. Those times are so important for building “the family memory bank.”

Yes, it’s that time again already. School will start in just a few days. I heard on the radio that some schools in Georgia have already started. Crazy.

As a new school year begins, many vital rituals take place. A new book bag. Some new clothes. Maybe new shoes. New pens and pencils and a new holder for them. New notebooks and three-ring binders. In our modern times, perhaps some new technological devices. A new class. A new teacher. A fresh start for everybody. And this list is not everything, of course.

I would offer one more vital ritual to this list. I am bold enough to say that it is even the most vital ritual for the occasion. It is a simple, yet from the depths-of-my-heart prayer for all our back-to-school participants.

This prayer is for all our students, at any level. This prayer is for all our teachers, all our administrators, all our parents and grandparents, all the ancillary staff at all our school buildings, all our school board members, and certainly for all our security personnel.

Please join me in this vital ritual. Let us pray.

“Dear Heavenly Father, we come to You again at this important time in the lives of so many. As we think about the start of another school year, we are mindful that it is You who are the root and source of all knowledge and learning. You are the Creator of all things and by Your plan and design all things exist, and not only just exist, but form together in Your divine simplicity and complexity to give us the blessings of life and the capacity for meaningful and fulfilling existence.

“So, we thank You, O God, for Your marvelous creation and our opportunity to learn about it at all levels and grow in our knowledge of it.

“We pray especially for all students at every level. Open their minds to learn and grow in knowledge. Open their minds to see and find You in all things. Give them all a thirst for always seeking more knowledge and skill so they can function at their highest capacity in making our world a better place for themselves, their families, and all those around them.

“We pray for all our teachers. We thank You that they have given their best efforts to attain their expertise in teaching and conveying their knowledge to others. We ask You to give them patience and understanding. We ask You to help them discern what is best for each student under their care. We ask You to encourage them when they grow weary of well-doing.

“We pray for all our administrators and school board members. We thank You for them. You have placed them in places of decision-making and problem-solving. Strengthen them in this. Give them wisdom to see the big picture and lead with confidence and courage. Also encourage them when their burdens seem too much to bear.

“We pray for our parents and grandparents. Thank You for their daily and constant love and care of their children. Give them all a special dose of patience, perseverance, and dedication to stay close to the education of their children. Help them to find the good and affirm it, and to find that which needs righting and make it right.

“We pray for all our ancillary staff members: office staff, custodial staff, bus drivers, teacher aids, and anyone involved in this expansive world of education. Touch their hearts with the assurance that they hold key roles for everyone they serve.

“We pray for our security personnel. Keep them alert and let them respond as quickly and appropriately as a situation dictates.

“And as we pray for our security personnel, we ask most of all, O Lord, that every child and every teacher and every administrator and everyone at our schools would be kept safe. Help families and mental health professionals identify and prevent those who might do harm. Help our churches influence our community so that Your Love, O Jesus, would be the prevailing spirit of all who live among us.

“All of this we ask in Your Strong Name, O Jesus. Amen”

And please know, that we’ll keep praying for all of you all year long. Have a great year! Study hard! And have a lot of fun along the way!

[Kollmeyer, a Fayette County resident for 36 years, is Pastor Emeritus at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fayetteville. Follow Pastor Scott Ness and this great church at Kollmeyer until recently was Interim Pastor at Word of God Lutheran Church in Sharpsburg. Find some of his video recorded sermons at and follow Pastor Jason Dampier and this great church on this site.]