Aug 032013
 

This prayer stems from many IEP meetings where persons profess to be of religious faith, but then behave as wolves in sheep’s clothing during IEP meetings.

Do people forget that they answer to God first, NOT the school nor “the system” ? In the IEP meetings I’ve been in, I often wonder if God is proud of the outcome on behalf of his young child.

Now this is NOT a condemnation of religious persons, by ANY means. However, I do think we can all work a LOT better together as a family of God serving Him and each individual child, rather than as persons trying to serve “the system” framework in which we are working.

Here’s an “Interfaith Education Prayer” for advocates and parents (as brought to me through prayer) — for all who care and want to share in doing what is right for the Glory of God:

“Dear God, We ask that you bless this IEP meeting with all that is good and righteous. Please help each individual be mindful of her duty to You in providing the proper services for <child’s name>. Let us all focus on what is needed to provide an appropriate education, with necessary supports and services. Should anyone’s heart be focused on what the “system” requires rather than what <child’s name> requires, we ask you to prod their heart and remind them of their duty in serving You by serving the <child’s name> with the best educational outcomes possible. Give everyone strength to work for what is right regardless of systemic expectations that have traditionally blocked their paths. We ask that You keep everyone focused on behaving kindly towards one another, seeking solutions rather than seeking to be “right”. Please help everyone be as sheep in one flock, working together as one, and let no one act as a ram or goat, pushing his or her self-serving way onto others. Please remain in our midst as we work. Thank you God for helping us all work as one body, serving You for the sake of this child, <child’s name> . Amen.”

Here’s a version for family and friends praying the “Interfaith Education Prayer” on behalf of a child and his/her parent, preferably at or before the time of the IEP meeting:

“Dear God, We ask that you bless <child’s name>’s IEP meeting with all that is good and righteous. Please help each individual be mindful of his or her duty to You in providing the proper services for <child’s name>. Let everyone focus on what is needed to provide an appropriate education, with necessary supports and services. Should anyone’s heart be focused on what the “system” requires rather than what <child’s name> requires, we ask you to prod his or her heart and remind them of their duty to You in serving <child’s name> with the best educational outcomes possible. Give everyone strength to work for what is right regardless of systemic expectations that have traditionally blocked their paths. We ask that You keep everyone focused on behaving kindly towards one another, seeking solutions rather than seeking to be “right”. Please help everyone be as sheep in one flock, working together as one, and let no one act as a ram or goat, pushing his or her self-serving way onto others. Please remain in the midst of the IEP committee as they work today. Thank you God for helping them all work as one body, serving You for the sake of <child’s name> . Amen.”

If you think this prayer will work, feel free to link to this page for anyone who needs it. Maybe by calling out to God across the country (together) we can start to remove Goliath from our midst. I believe we need to pray together to ‘fix’ what is broken in our system. If we do, God will hear us, especially as a collective of all of his children.

The human nature in all of us comes out when issues are heated and we become as “rams and goats” butting the sheep out of our way (as in Ezekiel 34:17-20 – Old Testament). In doing so, the rams and goats may get what they want, but at the expense of the rights of the sheep, and in sacrifice of their close relationship with God.

I’ve seen parents who’ve been pushed and shoved one too many times turn into rams and goats themselves, and then you have a room FULL of rams and goats, which leads to NO good solution at all.

Bringing religion into IEP meetings may remind those who bully to work more WITH others as equals in the family of God (as they should) and as equal members of the IEP team–which includes everyone in the room.

I know school personnel could NOT open a meeting with prayer because that would bring in the issue of separation of church and state, but they CAN pray before a meeting. Also, a parent has a right to individual religious beliefs and I don’t think they could be legally stopped from praying in the school, although it may need to be outside of the meeting.

Parents could always pray the “Interfaith Education Prayer” (IEP) outside the school before an IEP meeting, or friends of the family could pray while an IEP meeting is in session.

Foundational Reasoning: The major religions are all based upon the Old Testament. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all believe in the same God.. One God who was the beginning and end, and who is written about in the Old Testament. My thoughts do not center on which is “right” in any form or fashion, but rather focus on what God would expect of us as adults who profess faith in Him.

Many Blessings,

Sandy