Should prayer be allowed in school?
The legal parameters and guidelines for prayer in school have been very clearly defined, but the question, "should prayer be allowed in school?" keeps coming up. What keeps this issue hot is the concern that Christians have that the current legal code restricts the freedom they have had in the past to openly practice their faith.
What are some of the convictions that make Christians feel that prayer should be allowed in school?
When a tragic accident or a sudden disaster occurs, it is normal for many people to turn together to God in prayer for comfort and help. Psalm 50:15 says, "Call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me."
- Prayer is an everyday aspect of the Christian life. Jesus Christ taught His followers to be people of prayer, just as He was. When Christ's disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, He told them, "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" (Luke 11:9-10). Ephesians 6:18 says, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
Christians want the right to pray openly in school because they believe that prayer invites God's participation in the school environment and the educational process. Because "For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding" (Proverbs 2:6), they want to invite His input in their studies. In a sense, they want to pass everything they learn and do past God's inspection so that He can give them wisdom to recognize what is true and good, and what is false or unwholesome. The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:4, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."
Christians see the need to pray over personal problems or needs that arise on the school campus. For instance, if a friend arrives at school and is distressed about a family problem, a health problem, an oral book report they have to give that day, Christian teachers and students want the freedom to bring these needs before God. They trust that God can provide insight and power when they themselves are limited. James 5:16 says, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
This freedom is offered to people in many government and public settings, so it should also be allowed to young people while they are at school.
For these, and many other reasons, Christians are concerned about the spiritual restrictions they experience on the campuses of America. Because of the rigid boundaries on prayer in school, Christians often feel threatened when situations like these arrive, knowing that if they pray openly at school, anyone who is hostile toward their faith can take legal action against them.
So, should prayer be allowed in school? When prayer is an authentic expression of one's faith, yes! People of any and all faiths should not have to feel intimidated when they wish to pray in a public situation. School employees and students alike should be free to pray at school. Because of the diversity of faiths and beliefs in America, schools should nurture an atmosphere of respect for people with religious convictions, not squelch such expression. Guarding school children from observing another person's religious expression does not nurture understanding, it nurtures ignorance, and it deprives them of learning experiences that broaden their understanding of life.
Learn more about Prayer in School.
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