From the Director
January 2, 2018
by David Schmus
Happy New Year from all of us at Christian Educators Association International! Are you a “resolution” person? I know some of us are and many others used to be! If you are a resolution person, or at least are willing to give it another try, may I suggest something to you?
I pray that we all would resolve to increase our efforts to discern God’s leading and voice in the new year. Let me share a story with you.
As a teacher, I would often ask the Lord in the morning to show me specifically what He wanted me to do that day. One day on my drive to school, I felt like the Lord whispered into my spirit, “Pray for your principal.” I was immediately overwhelmed by fear. I did not have the kind of relationship with my principal where I felt comfortable just walking into her office and saying, “Can I pray for you?” In fact, as I sat in my classroom during my prep period, praying and hoping for an “out,” my hands were actually trembling.
But somehow, despite the fear, I walked to her office. It turns out God had set up a very important divine appointment. You can read the rest of this story in the Teachers of Vision article, “Fearless.”
My wife once had a dream about a conversation with an unknown woman that was so specific, she wrote down the six issues shared during the conversation in her journal the next morning. Later that day, she ran into an old friend at Trader Joe’s, and they began catching up. She invited her over for tea.
Back at our house, this old friend began to pour out her heart. One by one, she brought up the issues from the dream, as if being crossed off a list. My wife was so shocked that she finally retrieved her journal, and showed her old friend about the dream that was obviously about her. Like He did with my my principal, God met her old friend that day with an invitation to intimacy with our loving Father—another divine appointment!
How can we cultivate more intimacy with God that would lead to more of this kind of ministry on our campuses?
Two years ago, as a family we taught the 4th/5th grade Sunday School class at our church. Looking for a way to teach them to pray, I was dissatisfied with many prayer models I knew about because they lacked built-in “listening” time. So we developed our own model: Prayer TRAILS.
T: Thanksgiving—Celebrate with God His goodness to us and praise His name.
R: Repentance—Get honest about our attitudes and actions, ask forgiveness, and receive His cleansing.
A: Ask—Bring our personal needs before Him and ask Him to intervene.
I: Intercede—Pray for our schools, our churches, our communities, our nation.
L: Listen—Be quiet and attune your spirit to His Spirit, writing down in a journal what you think He might be saying to you. (Be careful here: the enemy is often speaking too. I would encourage you to read books on hearing God’s voice and get wise counsel from mature believers.)
S: Surrender—Lay down our fears and excuses, and hand over control to Him.
If you are looking for a new way to structure your prayer life in this new year, you might try it! I’m not sure how much our 4th and 5th graders got from it, but I received a great deal!
If you use Prayer TRAILS, I would love hearing from you about your experience. Also, have you had divine appointments on your campus like the ones I’ve described? Please tell me about those as well through email or by commenting below.
Happy new year and happy TRAILS to you! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
Christian Educators Association International