Over the years, bit by bit, praying in schools, Bible studies, and chapel programs have either come under attack by mainstream media or been discontinued by schools for one reason or another. There are, however, a number of benefits to keeping these Christian practices in schools. Here are 3 reasons why.
1. Builds community within the student body
Programs like See You At the Pole and First Priority strengthen the student body as a whole. As students link arms in prayer or spend time studying God’s Word, they build one another up, encouraging and challenging each other in their faith. Perhaps students have questions about the Bible that they don’t feel comfortable asking their pastor or maybe they are the only believer in their family. A small group setting such as a Bible study led by their peers acts as a safe place for them to be vulnerable and curious about Christianity.
“Group Bible study is transformational! It follows Jesus’ example. It directs us in wisdom. It creates meaningful connections. It provides necessary encouragement. It keeps us accountable. It transforms our families, workplaces and communities.”– “Six Benefits of Studying God’s Word With Others,” WordGo.org
2. Provides opportunities to share the Gospel with unbelievers
Taking prayer requests at the beginning of class might not seem like a big deal, but when you have unbelievers in the class, it presents a unique opportunity for them to see the power of prayer. Students share requests, they see God answer. This pattern can spark conversations that might not have happened otherwise. Those who are young in their faith are able to see the difference that prayer can make, and unbelievers get to see the faith of Christians in action, prompting them to ask questions or share prayer requests of their own.
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”James 5:13-16
3. Allows students to exercise their spiritual gifts
Having chapel once a week might not seem like that big a deal. But having a chapel service gives students a chance to discover and use their spiritual gifts. Those who are gifted in music can bless their fellow peers by leading worship. Those who are gifted speakers can share what God has been teaching them. And those who are gifted in organization can exercise their creativity by setting up special speakers, facilitating unique prayer opportunities, or coordinating skit presentations. You never know, these types of events might be one of the ways God is preparing them to further the kingdom as adults!
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”Hebrews 10:24-25