During the early 1980's God began to turn many hearts of the fathers and mothers back to their children and home schooling was born in our generation. During this inception we were challenged on all fronts. The government ... the schools ... our neighbors ... our family and friends ... and even many in our Churches would question our decision to home educate our children. Tension was often great. Many state governments were saying that our children were really their responsibility and therefore we didn't have the right to keep school age children at home.
Families who never new each other before began to unite together for support. Though this support included a variety of activities none was more important to these early families than the support of PRAYER. Many times during the week Shirley would meet with other women to pray. Telephone Prayer Trees were the essence of these early groups.
Now almost 20 years later the crisis seems over and Prayer Trees have turned into directories of statistics ... how many children you have, which curriculum you use etc. New home school families are often unaware of the difficulties we had just a few years earlier. The sense of urgency is over. Our schedules are now so filled with activities that we find little or no time to PRAY for the movement.
Let's not kid our selves. Satan is just as intent upon stopping parents teaching and discipling their children today as he was 20 years ago. Though the battle fronts may be different the battle still rages. When Satan sees that the center of the battle line is strong he maneuvers to outflank and destroy. Remember, Satan's objective is still 'to kill, steal, and destroy...'
We must never think the government has let up. The tactics may have changed and not be as visible, but they are just as real. Let us return to the foundation of this movement: PRAYER
Other strategies have immerged in these 20 years to try to sidetrack and destroy this movement. For example, consider division. (I'm not talking about mathematics.) "For when one says, 'I follow Paul,' and another, 'I follow Apollos,' are you not mere men?" writes the Apostle Paul in 1Co.3:4. God may lead one family to follow the leadership of one person while another family may go another direction. That is legitimate; however, if we become proud and boastful about it or separate our fellowship because of it, then we are not behaving as Christians, but rather like 'mere men.'
LET US PRAY ... FOR THE LEADERSHIP OF OUR MOVEMENT
During the early 80's God began to raise up mothers and fathers to meet the overwhelming needs of this movement. Some started newsletters which eventually developed into magazines, others saw the need to have educational materials written specifically for the needs of parents at home rather than using school textbooks, others thought it would be great to bring all the materials available
under one roof once a year so that parents could see first hand what was available and curriculum fairs and conventions were born. Most of these families were not business men seeking to make money, but rather they were just like you and me ... home schooling mothers and fathers whom God had raised up to support the body of Christ. Many gave up what they were previously doing to begin new ministries. Others added to their already full and busy schedules and demands so that they could help support us. Most of these families are working with their children or other relatives to fulfill our needs. None that I know of have great staffs to delegate responsibilities. Many of these families started in response to prayer. They were the answer to our original prayers. Do we still prayer for these families with the same sense of urgency of the past?
But now it seems we take all these ministries, magazines, and materials for granted and prayer has ceased. Many of these families are under greater stress today than ever before as they try to determine how to continue serving us. Has the enemy of our souls shifted his tactics? Wearing down the lives of families who have committed and dedicated their lives, resources, and talents to this movement is, I believe, the primary tactic of Satan today. Some families are already making the hard decision to step out of what God had previously called them to. Is it because of lack of prayer on our part for them?
LET US PRAY ... FOR THE VARIOUS FAMILIES MINISTRIES THAT GOD HAS RAISED UP.
God had warned those who were about to enter the promised land that their personal peace and prosperity would act like a dense fog clouding over their minds. Moses warns them to 'watch yourself, lest you forget the Lord.' I am afraid that pray can be charted like the stock market, but in reverse. When things are good our prayer stock goes down; when things are bad, our prayer stock goes up. The home school movement started under the Bear Market and Prayer was a premium - $400 an ounce. Now that it is a little more socially acceptable to home school and we seem to be coasting along we are under the Bull Market and Prayer ceases - it is less than $200 an ounce.
LET US RESOLVE TO RETURN TO OUR FIRST AND HIGHEST CALLING ... LET US PRAY
• Call your local support group and reactivate weekly prayer. • Have your state organization designate a special day of prayer. • Let's consider having a special National Home School Day of Prayer.
Father, we acknowledge that You are our source of strength and life for apart from You we can do nothing. We give You thanks for turning many hearts of fathers and mothers back to their children. Guard these decisions.
• Shield us from governmental intrusion as we continue to disciple our children. Give those on the legal front wisdom as they continue to meet the legal demands that are facing us.
• Protect the unity of our movement. Though You have called various families to a number of different ministries, we acknowledge that we are all part of the body of Christ. Allow us to work in harmony as we are all built up in the unity of our faith
• Give strength and perseverance to the many home schooling mothers and fathers who have given themselves to ministering to us through writing and/or organizing as they continue the difficult task of home educating their own children.
Father, hold the enemy in check as we continue to disciple our children. Rekindle our vision for prayer ... restore again graciously to those within this movement the spirit of supplication and intercession for Jesus' sake. Amen.