Praying for Uvalde, Texas . . . and Beyond
Until yesterday when the terrible news of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School broke, very few of us had heard of Uvalde, TX. The same was probably true for Sandy Hook, CT prior to December 14, 2012, when 20 elementary school children and 6 staff members were killed by a single gunman. And most of the nation had not heard of Columbine High School prior to April 1999 when two 12-graders went on a shooting rampage and murdered 12 students and 1 teacher.
These are schools. They play a major part of children’s lives where they are supposed to feel safe as they go about their day learning the basics of reading, writing, math, and other skills. Most likely, parents dropped their children off at Robb Elementary never thinking that the day would erupt in violence. But at 11:30 a.m., an 18-year old named Salvador Ramos entered the school, barricaded himself in a classroom, and shot 19 children and a teacher before being killed himself by a law enforcement agent. We may never really know why.
Texas, the nation, and the world – including the President of war-torn Ukraine – are reeling in shock and grief. Every tragedy such as this triggers the debate over gun-control with the obvious argument that, despite our constitutional right to bear arms, the proliferation of guns and the increasing mental instability in our stressed-out nation are a dangerous mix. Matthew McConaughey, who hails from Uvalde, worded what is going through the minds of many:
“Once again we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us. Every American needs to ask, ‘What is it that we truly value? How do we repair the problem? What small sacrifices can we individually take today, to preserve a healthier and safer nation, state, and neighborhood tomorrow?’ As Americans, Texans, mothers, and fathers, it’s time we re-evaluate, and renegotiate our wants from our needs,” he continued. “We have to rearrange our values and find a common ground above this devastating American reality that has tragically become our children’s issue.”
True, but easier said than done. After all we live in the End Times that Jesus warned us about: “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12)
The world does not know how to fix itself, because it is “debased in its mind” (see Romans 1:28) but as Christians we have a divine perspective rooted in the revelation of God’s truth.
Part of that truth is that He deeply cares for children (see Matthew 18:2-6; 19:14).
Knowing the heart of God, how are we to respond as His Church, and especially as His intercessors? What would God have us do? How do we pray into this according to His will?
The shooting in Uvalde is, like every major tragedy, a wake-up call to the vulnerability and needs of our children.
Satan has set his sights on them in many ways, especially in the public school systems where Christianity is kept purposely out of the classroom. That has been going on for a long time, but it seems that of late, His assaults are becoming more open. CRT, sex education, gender sensitivity education and other types of indoctrination are aimed at captivating their impressionable minds and values and lead them away from God’s designs for life. Social media confuse their sense of identity, and the increasing prevalence of drugs assault their health. I could go on, but you get the point.
According to Matthew 19:14, God’s Church has a responsibility to introduce children to Jesus Christ, and our first step is to pray for open doors and open hearts (Colossians 4:2).
Now, more than ever, there is the potential for greater openness to the input of Christians on our school campuses. Perhaps not yet in most district boards and administrations, but school staff know the needs of their children, and are overwhelmed. They are expressing a growing desire for parents and other adult volunteers to get involved in everyday campus life as mentors, coaches, and encouragers.
I have experienced this first-hand. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to combine my role as law enforcement chaplain with a part-time job as a crossing guard for an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school situated side-by-side along a highway north of Atlanta. As I inquired of the Lord what His purpose was for me being there, the Holy Spirit said with amazing clarity: ”You are not just a crossing guard, you are a prayer guard.” So, I began to pray a blessing over the children as I walked them across the highway, over the buses as they arrived in, over the parents as they dropped them off in long lines of cars, and over the school campuses as I waited for stragglers to arrive. The Lord led me to pray for protection, for open doors to the gospel, for peace, light, and love to dispel stress and darkness, for healing in broken homes, for Christian parents to unite in prayer, and for drugs to be kept from entering the campus. I don’t know if my prayers prevented school violence, but after six months some things began to happen. God opened the door for me to speak at an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) meeting at the middle school, to meet with the principals of all three schools and let them know that I was praying for them, and with the pastors of several churches nearby. That is where the need and opportunity emerged: The principals told me that many of the kids are broken and lonely, the staff is overwhelmed, and that they would warmly welcome kind and loving adults to sit with kids and engage them in conversation at break times. Not to monitor them, but to love on them. The churches responded, and that was the beginning of a volunteer presence in the school.
As every tragedy that threatens our children violently exposes the reality that school systems are up against more than they can handle, their desire for reliable and trustworthy volunteer help increases, and that opens the door for Christians to have a presence on campus – to show the love of Christ through their presence, to bind the powers of darkness through their silent prayers as they walk the hallways, to encourage kids, diffuse tensions, and bring peace. Every Christian who has that presence is a conduit for God’s presence, power, love, and light.
As we pray for God’s comforting presence to surround Uvalde, TX, let us broaden our horizons and pray for God to open doors for a godly Christian presence in the school systems of our nation, and for the Church to rise and meet that need. It could lead to revival in our schools, and the return of God’s presence in many of our classrooms.
Here are some prompts as we unite our hearts in prayer for Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, TX, and the school systems of our nation.
- Pray for God to reveal Himself to the parents and families of the children and teacher who died, with comfort and love as One Who is familiar with grief.
- Pray for Him to enable the churches of Uvalde and surrounding communities to be present with all manner of help and comfort.
- Pray that grief will lead many to hope in Christ and embrace Him as the ultimate healer of sorrow.
- Pray for open doors in school systems across the nation to receive help from Christian parents, adult volunteers, and ministry organizations.
- Pray for an awakening in the Church that children matter greatly to God, and that we have the power and opportunity to make an enormous difference with a quiet, loving, prayerful presence on school campuses.
- Pray for fresh vision in the American Church to flood our campuses with volunteers who are committed to love students and staff and pray over our campuses.
- Pray that God will raise up “prayer guards” over every school that is not open to have volunteers inside the building – to bind every force of evil that is assigned to assault our children, and to pray a blessing over children, staff, and parents alike.
“Father, today we pray for the families that so brutally lost children to mass murder in Uvalde, TX. Please, make Your presence known to them as the God of all comfort, the gentle Healer. Surround them with people to support and love them through their grief. We pray for the entire town of Uvalde to experience Your presence. Incline their hearts to place their faith in You and seek the healing and restoration that only You can bring. We pray that You open the doors of our nation’s schools to the help of adult volunteers and that You awaken Your Church across America to respond to those open doors by offering help, hope, love, and prayer to our school campuses. Raise up a huge army of volunteers and guide them in how to love and pray. And raise up a daily prayer guard over every school to stand against the forces of darkness that have been unleashed upon our children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
How are you praying along with the article for the families of Uvalde? Share your own prayers below.
Author Remco Brommet is a pastor, spiritual growth teacher, and prayer leader with over 40 years’ experience in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the US. Born and raised in the Netherlands and pastoring his first church in Amsterdam, he moved to the US in 1986. He and his wife Jennifer currently live north of Atlanta, GA When not writing books, he blogs and assists his wife as content developer and prayer coordinator for True Identity Ministries. Jennifer and Remco are passionate about bringing people into a deeper relationship with Christ. Photo Credit: Ben White on Unsplash.
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