Around the world, there are various barriers to education. There may be a lack of teachers or tools. Perhaps families feel their children would have greater value elsewhere. Some students may live amidst conflict and the act of attending school itself is unsafe. In many situations, policies that support child education are not well enforced. But, education is critical to protecting children from exploitation, child marriage, and other harms. It can increase their projected earning potential over a lifetime and strengthen whole communities. The benefits are vast, so education must be prioritized for every child. Pray that all children get access to safe and effective education.
Pray for classrooms and resources.
In many parts of the world, classrooms with desks, chairs, books, pencils, and learning tools are not guaranteed, or in some cases even a classroom itself. But these supplies make schools work and make learning more efficient. Ask God to fill more classrooms around the world with resources that are needed, and to provide spaces, to help children learn in the most effective way possible.
Father, we are grateful that many children have the opportunity to learn with the ease of chairs, desks, and classroom tools. But for those who don’t, please find a way to fill their classrooms so they have all the tools they need to be fully present and successful at school.
Pray for teachers.
To reach Global Goal 4, which aims to provide quality education and learning opportunities for all, UNESCO estimates that there will need to be nearly 69 million new teachers by 2030. Ask God to inspire more people to teach and to provide them with necessary training so more children can receive an education. Pray that teachers are valued in communities as a necessary resource.
A teacher plays such an important role in a child’s life. God, be with teachers, especially those working in places that experience extreme poverty, conflict, or other challenges. Give them wisdom on how to interact with their students, and provide them with joy for the great work they do. Let them feel support and love from community members. We also pray for more people to be inspired to teach — make their calling clear, guiding them along your path.
Pray for children to have access to education.
58 million primary-school-age children are not in school; over half of these are girls. Children face different barriers to education depending on where they live and their family’s individual struggles. Things that many of us never think of or are often taken for granted can stand between a child and their education, such as a walk that is miles long each way and puts a child at risk for trafficking, being a girl whose birth was not registered so she does not have papers to enroll in school, or having access to education but being unable to afford the uniform or clothing required to meet dress code standards. Without the benefit of being in school, children’s prospects for a positive future are diminished. Pray that more children gain access to quality education.
Father, thank you for the ability to learn and the opportunities that come with an education. For the 58 million primary-school-age children who are out of school — intervene. Take away barriers, open doors, and provide solutions so all children can sit in class and have the chance of a brighter future.
Pray that every parent sees the value of education for all their children.
If parents don’t understand the full value of education, children are at risk of filling roles other than student. A girl may be perceived to have more value gathering clean water for the household — a walk that could take hours and make it impossible to attend classes. Or, child marriage may seem like the best way to protect a young girl and cushion other children in the household from impacts of extreme poverty. In many cases the family income a boy or girl can contribute to immediately in a factory or field for a family outweigh the strong economic and other benefits that will come with education as an adult. When families understand the value of education they are more likely to find a way to keep their children in school. Pray that more parents realize the importance of education and make it a priority for their children.
Though parents may think keeping their kids out of school offers immediate benefits, God, we know the benefits of an education are far greater. Provide children with access to quality education, and help their families see the importance of school so they have the opportunity to become the person you intend them to be.
Pray that school is a safe space for children.
In addition to learning, formal education in schools offers children socioeconomic opportunities later in life, psychological stability, and physical protection. But conflict can keep schools from being a safe haven. As just one example, one-third of schools in Syria are not in use because they have been damaged, destroyed, or occupied. Pray that schools are not targets in the midst of conflict and that teachers can facilitate a safe space for children.
We know not all children are safe at home or in their communities, Lord. For children who are from an area experiencing great conflict, provide them with a safe place to learn. We pray that wars end, but that at the very least bullets and bombs are not directed at schools or other places where children gather. And please, give teachers and administrators the resources they need to protect children when they are able.
Pray that U.S. leadership and legislation continues to improve child education worldwide.
The U.S. can play an important role in ensuring more children receive an education globally. Bills like the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act and the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education Act are two examples of how the U.S. has prioritized education for children in need. Pray that leaders continue to reinforce passed legislation and leverage the power of U.S. foreign assistance to ensure more children are in school.
God, thank you for the part the U.S. has played in improving child education globally. Ignite a fire in our leaders to prioritize and reinforce bills like the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education Act. We are so happy that the READ Act became law, Lord, and we pray that it would make a difference in the lives of many children. Amen.
Photo: Children in class at a school in Moyo ADP, Zambia. © 2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren