Empowered to Pray

Hello SVC Community,

I’ll keep it kind of short today because there’s been lots of information these past couple of weeks regarding tuition, RenWeb, priority enrollment, etc. But, I had to share a couple of stories with you all. Both of them have the same theme.

Because we work at a Christian school and, therefore, all wear a multitude of proverbial hats, I am the 5th grade basketball coach this year. I love it. The kids and families are great and we are having a lot of fun. It is certainly proof that basketball can be fun whether or not the ball goes through the hoop all that often. Anyway, after our game the other day, we all got together for a team prayer which was, by the way, led by one of our 5th grade students. Often, these types of prayers can become mundane or routine. I mean, we just played a game. Everyone wants to go home. Parents are waiting in the corner of the gym, ready to whisk their child off to the next afterschool activity. There is certainly a temptation for “Lord, thanks for a great day and that no one got hurt. Amen!” This is kind of expected, right? It’s kind of normal. I know that it’s true for me. When I pray after games or before meals or before bed or in all of the “normal” prayer times, sometimes my prayers feel empty. I don’t give them a lot of thought and I just repeat a set of mundane words. It’s sad and I need to repent. I treat prayer like I treat so many other conversations…always thinking about what I am going to do next instead of really engaging in the moment. So, needless to say, what I heard after our game the other day was pretty cool and pretty unexpected. And, just to remind you, this was uttered by one of our 5th graders. (I am paraphrasing here because I, honestly, cannot begin to do justice to the authenticity or poetic structure).

“Dear God, Thank You for today. And, Lord, even though we didn’t win, we know that our ultimate victory is in you, Lord. So we thank you for the victory we have in your Son, Lord, and we pray that we would live with His love and His grace. Amen.”

What? A 5th grader? Honestly, I was on a knee in the middle of the St. Edward’s gym thinking this kid’s prayer life is way better than mine. He prays with honesty and true expectation.

Ok, the next story comes from one of our mothers and it’s a response to our high school retreat. This is cut and pasted directly from her email to me.

“Mr. Streelman, I feel compelled to let you know about what’s happening among a group of freshmen boys. The retreat lit a powerful fire among them and they are completely empowered. On Friday, nine of them went to the Irvine Spectrum and they split up and ended up praying with more than 30 people! I am astonished at the boldness and faith these boys have. At a time when most teenagers are shy and unsure, these boys are stepping out in BOLD faith to bring revival to our community.”

Again…what? Freshman boys? I don’t know about you, but I didn’t spend too many nights praying for strangers when I was 15 years old (or when I was 35 for that matter), and my time spent at the Irvine Spectrum was and still is much more self-centered. I have definitely spent way more time perusing the menu at Javier’s or sitting on the couch at Anthropologie while my wife combs the sales racks (guys: you know what I am talking about) than praying for strangers.

1John 5:14-15 says
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked
of him.

The words that keep coming to me are boldness, confidence, authenticity. These kids pray like they actually believe it and like their words actually matter to God. They pray like John was actually telling the truth.

So, what is it? How do we explain that so many of our students are so empowered to pray? Certainly there is a lot of credit to pass around. It’s a credit to you, the parents, for modeling and instructing and teaching how and when to pray. It’s a credit to their pastors and youth leaders for displaying authentic corporate prayer week after week. And, it’s a credit to our teachers, who pray with and for our students every single day. But, most of all, it is a credit to God. He is moving. It’s so cool to play a small part in His work!


Erick Streelman
Head of School

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