As Solomon began his reign as king over the Israelites, God told him to ask for whatever he wanted. With the weight of leadership heavy on his shoulders, Solomon asked for an understanding mind to discern right from wrong and govern wisely. Scripture tells us God was pleased that Solomon asked for wisdom rather than long life, wealth, or power over his enemies. God honored that earnest request, giving Solomon a wise and discerning heart (1 Kings 3:10-12).
This month, as children in many countries begin a new school year, join us in praying that young people everywhere will gain the education, wisdom, and discernment they need to reach the fullness of life God intends for each of them.
Suggested prayer points
Thank God for the progress in school enrollment worldwide.
According to UNESCO’s 2011 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, the number of primary school-age children not in school worldwide has dropped 39 million since 1999. Still, 67 million primary school-age children do not go to school. Ask God for His continued blessing on efforts to give the world’s children an opportunity for formal education.
Dear Lord, we praise you that millions more children are getting an education now than a decade ago. We ask that You bless those who are making this happen. Continue to help those involved to build momentum around the world so every child has the opportunity to go to school.
Pray for an end to the generational cycle of illiteracy and poverty.
On Sept. 8, we recognize International Literacy Day and the critical role reading plays in daily life. Without the ability to read and write, families are trapped in the relentless cycle of crushing poverty and day-to-day survival. Ask that God will send individuals who are equipped to teach into communities where people can’t read.
Dear Lord, Your Word demonstrates over and over how You touch people’s hearts to spur them to action. Please bless those living in poverty by providing ways to learn to read and to apply this new skill to help lift their families out of poverty—for this generation and generations to come.
Pray for teachers everywhere to be men and women of integrity.
Teachers, who spend more time every day with their students than possibly anyone else, have enormous influence over these precious young minds. Ask God to inspire teachers to be the best role models—always speaking the truth in love to the children who look up to them.
Dear Lord, be with teachers everywhere. Put Your righteousness in their hearts and Your words on their lips to share with the children who are in their daily care.
Pray that leaders will commit the necessary resources to educate all children.
Children are the future for the world’s nations. The UNESCO 2011 Education For All Global Monitoring Report estimates that $16 billion is needed per year to achieve universal primary education and wider Education for All goals by 2015. If children are left uneducated, another generation will continue to struggle without life’s basics. Ask God to show the world’s political leaders the impact of education on the well-being of their countries.
Dear Lord, Proverbs tells us that an education is invaluable and that we should pursue it, even if it costs us everything we have. Impress on national leaders around the world the inestimable value of the education of children.
Pray for the protection of children not attending school.
Children who are not enrolled in school are vulnerable to being forced into dangerous work situations. According to the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), 115 million children as young as age 5 are involved in the worst forms of child labor. Ask God to keep them safe as they are compelled to do work their young bodies and minds are not ready to perform.
Dear Lord, You know every hair on the head of every child. Watch over these little ones as they work in mines, in construction, in agriculture, and in other dangerous jobs. Make their protection and safety a priority for governments.
Pray for girls growing up in cultures that do not value their education.
The global gender divide means that 3.6 million girls are missing from primary school altogether, according to UNESCO. Not surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of the 796 million illiterate adults worldwide are women, who also account for 70 percent of the world's poorest 1 billion people. Ask God to open doors of opportunity for girls to attend school and achieve their potential.
Dear Lord, in far too many places in the world, women and girls are not esteemed and protected, simply because they are female. We ask You to raise up godly leaders who will change the way girls and women are treated, opening the possibility for fuller lives and futures with promise.