As a reminder that Jesus is our source of guidance, love, and protection during the school year, many churches set aside one Sunday to “bless the backpacks.” Here are some ways to do it:
1. Have children in grades K-5 bring their backpacks to church with them on the Sunday before school begins in your community. During the children’s message, invite the youngsters in attendance to come forward with their backpacks for a special blessing. Pray a prayer like this:
Lord Jesus, as our children being a new school year, bless them. Fill them with excitement as they think about all the adventures you have in store for them. Keep them safe. Guide their learning. Help them be examples of your love for their teachers and classmates. Help them always remember they belong to you. Amen.
After the prayer, give each child a small gift to attach to their backpacks. CTA’s Make a Joyful Noise items would make good choices.
2. Host a prayer vigil for all the children and youth in your church a week or two before school begins. (Consider including students who will be attending college, too, whether in your community or away from home.) Post the names of all the students in your church’s prayer room. Invite parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, youth workers, and others who have demonstrated concern for your congregation’s children to come to pray one or more times during the week.
3. Involve parents in the backpack blessing event. Have them accompany their children to the front of the church during the service. Then invite a parent or two whom you have recruited ahead of time to pray for all the children and parents.
Or, if yours is a more traditionally liturgical church, use a responsive prayer like the one below. Invite students, parents, and the congregation to speak the words in bold type.
Leader: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for blessing our church with so many faithful children and young people.
Response: Thank you, Lord Jesus!
Leader: As school begins, please give each of them the wisdom, strength, and safety they need each day.
Response: Bless them, Lord Jesus.
Leader: Remind them to show your love to their teachers and classmates.
Response: Help them, Lord Jesus.
Leader: Send your holy angels to keep them safe and healthy.
Response: Protect them, Lord Jesus.
Leader: Guide them as they learn many helpful skills.
Response: Guide them, Lord Jesus.
Leader: May their lives always honor you.
Response: Thank you, Lord Jesus.
4. Before you send the children and parents back to their places, give each child a small gift to attach to their backpack or backpack zipper as a reminder of Jesus’ presence and power throughout the school year.
Editor’s note: CTA carries many items appropriate for use in your church’s backpack blessing event. If you would like more ideas or if you’re ready to place an order, just visit www.ctainc.com or call us at 1-888-285-3598.