Prayer in School: The Moment of Silence

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”  –Mother Teresa 

“As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools.”

In classrooms, public gatherings, and sporting events across the country things aren’t like they used to be.  Public prayer has been completely replaced by a “moment of silence” for the troops overseas or a “pause for reflection.”  When tragedy strikes, rather than getting on our knees, we’re instructed to stand silently as a proper way to respond and show our respect for the victims.

For good or bad, it seems that the moment of silence is here to stay, so it is important to teach kids about what a moment of silence really is and what they should do.

4 Positive Reasons for a Moment of Silence:

1. To Show Respect – for our troops, for fallen heroes, for victims of a tragedy

2. Reflect – whether tragedy or celebration, quiet reflection gives the soul a pause in the busy-ness to absorb the importance of the moment.

3. Display Human Spirit or Resolve – there is powerful unity in a group standing together united in silence

4. To Grieve – oftentimes the best healing comes without words, but with support

These are all positive reasons for a moment of silence that we can encourage our kids to engage in, but as Christians, we can challenge kids to take a step further. The moment of silence can also be a time to show respect for God, reflect on the things of God, and understand how God interacts in our day-to-day lives.

Help kids understand a moment of silence and use it to honor God:

Share the importance of respecting a moment of silence.  We may not always feel the same way as everyone in the room, but this silence is meaningful to someone so we should respect it, and not disrupt.

• Talk about why.  Ask them why they think this moment of silence was planned.  Help them examine the reasons and how they can best respond. The reasons may include some really positive things, or it may be as an avoidance of acknowledging specific religious beliefs…either way, it is good discussion to understand the “why.”

Take the chance to pray.  Help kids see importance of the positives, but also recognize the importance of bringing our faith into this aspect of our daily life.  The room may be silent, but our hearts and minds can speak to God in that moment and kids need to know that this is a time to point our focus to God and talk to Him.

What other things would you share with kids about the “moment of silence?”

Jeremy Echols

JE leads the camp team, finds new camp locations, plans training, and lots of other projects. He loves spending family time with his wife Emily and their daughter Madison.

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