I have seen many people write on their Facebook pages something to the effect of, “We need to put God back in our Schools.” This is a reference to our present suffering seemingly as a result of removing prayer from school. While I am excited that so many people value prayer and our relationship with God as a people, I am troubled by the premise of this theological thinking for at least two reasons.
First of all, God cannot be removed from schools. God is omnipotent (all powerful) and Omnipresent (able to be in all places at the same time). The phrase, “Put God back in school” is troublesome to me, because it implies that we have control over where God can and cannot be. It simply cannot be true, because no nation has power over God. God has the power to be where God chooses, and God does not shy away from dark places:
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. ~Psalm 139, NIV
Secondly, students cannot be kept from praying. The fact is that only state led or sponsored prayer has been banned, not prayer itself. There is a difference. Even if the state tried to ban all prayer in school, the ban would not work. It is impossible for a government to keep any conscious person from praying. Individual prayer and student led prayer are still allowed and are commonplace in our schools. It is up to our Christian families and churches to teach children to take time to talk to God during their day. Christians must be the ones to teach Christian practices. We should not leave the responsibility of teaching Christian practices to the government.
In conclusion, we do not have the ability to remove God or prayer from our schools. Students do pray and discuss their faith. The Holy Spirit is present and moving among the teachers and students. I ate lunch with my son at school today in celebration of his birthday. His classmates were a talkative bunch and I could hardly get a word in edgewise. I did not bring up my faith. They, however, began talking about it immediately. Those precious children were a blessing to me today. I saw the image of God in them. I can tell you first hand that God and prayer are in our schools. There is no need to put God back, because God never left.