I went to bed last night heartbroken, angry, confused, and, most of all, scared. I’m devastated by the images of terrified teens running from their school with hands over their heads and pictures of parents frantically looking for any sign of their children in the sea of chaos. Then came news updates with the rising number of injuries sustained and innocent lives lost.
Last night at dinner, I heard myself speaking the most disturbing words of caution to my precious children: “If you hear something that sounds like fireworks, it could be gunshots, so please take it seriously.” And, “Pay extra close attention in the school’s lockdown drills so you are prepared for the worst.” It was almost surreal hearing myself advise them to lay lifeless if they ever get into a desperate situation with an active shooter.
All this precaution was not for entry into some war-torn third world country but advice for them as they go to school—of all places.
I had a hard time sleeping last night knowing that, forty-eight hours ago, parents in Florida dropped their kids off at school in the very same way I would drop my kids off first thing in the morning. I felt powerless. Hopeless. Anxious.
But that’s not the message of the Lord. Nowhere is it biblical that we are destined to feel powerless—as if our hands are tied, tragedy is inevitable, and we should simply sit here and accept whatever comes. Nope, that’s not the God of the Bible and not the one I worship and know to be the Creator and lover of all his creation.
We can let the world around us have the endless debates about gun control, mental health, bullying, who’s responsible, and how this might have been prevented. I have no answers and choose not to enter those debates. Instead, I choose right now to claim this message of truth: Jesus is our refuge and protector. He is our help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). Our hope (1 Timothy 1:1). Our rock and our salvation (Deuteronomy 32:4). He is our sustainer (Colossians 1:17).
Jesus is faithful and hears the prayers of his people (Psalm 34:17). Do you believe that, even the day after this horrific event?
When is the last time we cried out to the Lord for our schools? For our administrators and teachers? For the children in our schools—both for the potential victims and also for those who could potentially exact such devastation? When was the last time we physically went to our schools for the sole purpose of praying provision and protection over our kids and the buildings where they reside?
I have not done a good job in this area. That stops now.
Let’s commit today to physically go to our kids’ schools and pray safety over the perimeter of these campuses. Let’s physically touch the buildings where our kids spend their days and pray for the Lord to keep away all evil. Let’s not do this out of fear, but because our kids and our schools desperately need him.
Imagine a news story where our schools are inundated with committed Christians consistently and persistently walking the campus, praying for the Lord’s provision. We can’t afford to wait any longer.
Join me in praying. Ask your friends to come alongside. Let’s start a movement. It doesn’t have to be a “program” where fifty people gather with eloquent speakers and perfect prayers—but where two or more are gathered we KNOW he is among us (Matthew 18:20).
Pray now, pray next week, pray however you feel led, but just be committed to praying. Below are some thoughts on where I’m going to start and Scripture we can pray as we do this:
- Pray for the safety of our campuses (Psalm 5:11–12).
- Pray for kindness and inclusion for all students (1 Samuel 16:7).
- Pray for our kids to have the courage to speak out when they have safety concerns (Ephesians 6:10–12).
- Pray for individuals who might have dangerous motives, that they will be given the truth of Christ and be detoured from any violence (Psalm 138:7).
- Pray for our administrators to abide with the Lord and have HIS wisdom as they deal with the safety of our kids (Psalm 118:8).
It can be easy to feel helpless after a tragedy like this. It’s just as easy to commit to doing something then forget about it as the newness of the tragedy wears off. Avoid either temptation. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Don’t let time constraints, priorities, embarrassment, pride, or any other tool of Satan deter you from taking back our schools.
We are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and neighbors of kids in the school system. We can and must pray for their safety. I’ll be at my children’s school Tuesday morning after drop-off, praying over the safety of my kids and yours. I’m praying you will have the resolve and courage to do the same at your children’s school.