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People from across the UK are encouraged to pray for our schools this Thursday … and The Church of England in Lancashire (Blackburn Diocese) is actively playing its part; including via a new prayer video featuring pupils and staff from one of the County’s schools.

Locally across the County our Diocesan Board of Education has been encouraging support for the national ‘Day of Prayer for Schools’ initiative on September 24 in a variety of ways. It has also been promoted via internal Diocesan channels and it’s on the Diocesan website; while you can find the Board of Education website here.

Prayers will be said in parishes and schools for the teachers, pupils, families and governors; particularly important this year as the pandemic continues to present unique challenges.

Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, has written a new prayer for the event, which you can find at the bottom of the page, which has been recorded in a special video featuring children and staff from St Christopher's CofE School in Accrington. The video is available now to view on our Diocesan YouTube channel and to share on social media.

The national Day of Prayer for Schools was instigated by the Pais movement, a discipleship-led organization operating on six continents.

The initiative seeks to encourage prayer for schools in communities across the country; so churches from all traditions across the Diocese are encouraged to engage in prayer for the schools in their parishes in whatever way they can.

For some this might be lighting a candle for each school and using this as a prayer focus, but for others it could be a virtual prayer gathering, while others may undertake a walk in the community, stopping to pray at various places.

More information and ideas, together with further links to other resources can be found here but anyone wanting more specific help, or a list of schools to pray for from their area, can contact the Board of Education team:

Meanwhile, staff from the Diocesan Board of Education alongside other staff from the Diocesan offices in Blackburn are leading the way in supporting the event via a series of online prayer meetings on September 24.

Commenting on the Day of Prayer initiative, Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education and the Archdeacon of Lancaster, The Venerable David Picken, said today: “The Diocese of Blackburn is committed to making disciples, being witnesses, growing leaders and inspiring children and young people as part of the living out of our Vision 2026.

“Schools are a central part of our Vision and this day of prayer is the perfect opportunity to focus on vital area of work and to seek God’s blessing on the schools in this diocese.”

Director of the Diocesan Board of Education, Stephen Whittaker, said: “We are passionate about church school education and the amazing job our schools do in being a Christian presence in their communities.

“We are thrilled to join in the national Day of Prayer for Schools; to bring before God all schools, their staff, local communities and families while we also we look for new ways for the church and school to work together for the flourishing of all.”

And Pete Baker, Pais Movement British Isles Director, added: "We wanted to create an opportunity for people across the UK to hold up our children and young people, their teachers and the wider school communities in prayer.

“We believe this day of unity could bring breakthrough, strength and encouragement to those facing the huge challenge of teaching, learning and living during these strange and difficult times.”

The full text of the prayer read on video by pupils and staff from St Christopher's CofE School in Accrington, and written by Bishop Philip, follows:

Lord God, we ask you to pour your blessing on the schools of our nation.
Give joy and curiosity to our children:
that they may discover their gifts, grow in knowledge and learn to live well.
Give wisdom and stamina to our teachers:
that they may delight to inspire young minds and find contentment in their work.
Give vision and good judgement to our headteachers, school leaders and governors:
that they may guide our schools well and keep them safe in challenging times.
Give courage and compassion to the people of our land:
Protect us from fear and help us to act with calmness and kindness.
Your Son Jesus Christ taught his disciples to follow in his Way.
Inspire us by his example and strengthen us by his presence,
for we make our prayer in his holy name.