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Helping kids put prayer back in schools

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So much violence recently has us more divided than ever as a country as the gun control debate rages on, but through the discussions, some fall back to the argument that it’s our fault for taking God out of schools.

But God never left those places; we just took faculty-led and morning opening prayers away.

The biggest aspect of Christianity that was taken out of schools was corporate prayer at the beginning of the day.

Teachers aren’t allowed to talk about or express their Christian faith, but when you get outside of Bible belt regions, I don’t believe there are that many Christian teachers in our schools to even have to be careful about expressing their views.

One of the great things about our rodeo culture is, where schools no longer open with prayer, you are hard-pressed to find an event that doesn’t include one in the start, and many of them are gospel-centered and specific about Jesus.

Those prayers may not be led over the announcements anymore, but if we’re raising our kids in rodeo, they are being raised with prayer all around them, from the opening to cowboy church behind the bucking chutes to individual contestants praying before they get on their bull or make their run.

It’s wonderful to have had prayer as part of the opening of our school days but His presence can be acknowledged in much bigger ways, and as Christian parents, we have a chance to turn it around.

Our kids can bring God right back into the schools, and we can help that by helping them be comfortable with prayer before they eat and especially by asking their friends how they can pray for them.

More important than asking is that they take the time to do it right there, especially when they see a friend or just another kid they don’t even know who is struggling.

And teachers may not be able to pray with them, but our kids can pray for their teachers.

As 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: “(16) Rejoice always, (17) pray without ceasing, (18) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

We’re instructed here to make prayer a regular part of our lives and told to do it without ceasing. That doesn’t mean that every moment of our lives is to be spent in prayer, but what it is describing is an attitude of prayer, that we’re ready to pray at any moment we see the need or opportunity.

A lot of us aren’t there yet in our own Christian walks. It takes time to learn to do it and develop that attitude of prayer.

But we can learn it, and we can then teach it to our kids.

As much as our schools can influence our kids, if we model prayerful lives at home, build on the prayer we see at rodeos and equine events, we can raise the current generation to be prayer warriors.

Starting with the foundation of prayer we still see at rodeos, we can raise a generation that not only puts God back in our schools but keeps Him lifted up in our communities.

Scott Hilgendorff is the pastor for Cowboys of the Cross, a rodeo/bull riding ministry that leads cowboy church services at events and maintains an online presence to make disciples among the ranch and rodeo community. It can be found at CowboysOfTheCross.com .