It is back-to-school time in Mississippi, and that’s good for many businesses in the state. Parents are spending money on new clothes and school supplies. College students are buying TVs, DVD players and those little refrigerators for their dorm rooms. New computers and cars are also on the shopping lists of many.
This time of year is an exciting time — one of anticipation and change.
In the rush back to school yard and campus, it’s worth considering an issue that is too often lost in extremist rhetoric and polemical posturing: prayer.
Prayer in our public schools remains a contentious issue, but praying for our schools, children and teachers as they head back to class is a responsibility all people of faith share.
Communities around the state are engaged in prayerful thought as the first bells of a new school year ring. In the town of Clinton, for example, parents, kids, teachers and administrators, as well as civic leaders and business folks, take part in a prayer walk. It is a time for the community to come together, and hopefully, make a difference.
Valuing religious diversity and the rights of individuals to worship (or not) as they wish is the bedrock of American liberty. Respecting this tradition is vital, but just as vital is the power of prayer and its ability to help build healthier people, stronger communities and even better businesses.
From “The Book of Common Prayer,” we find a prayer for schools and colleges:
O Eternal God, bless all schools, colleges, and universities, that they may be lively centers for sound learning, new discovery, and the pursuit of wisdom; and grant that those who teach and those who learn may find you to be the source of all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.