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Returning to Prayer is America's Hope

Updated on April 27, 2015
DLeighAlexander profile image

Deborah L. Alexander is an author, business woman, wife to Doug for almost 40 years, a mother of three adult children & a grandmother of 4.

The Year Emotional Healing Began

The year was 1969 and I was only nine years old when the school year began. I would turn ten in October. It was a year destined to bring very positive change into my life. The beginnings of emotional healing began stirring and even though my physical circumstances remained dysfunctional and damaging, I found a hope to cling to. And for this I give credit to one person and one daily routine which proved to have life altering and far reaching influence. I met a hero who in spite of unjust laws, stepped up and did the right thing.

Image: scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Introducing the One Daily Routine That Changed My Life

I now began fifth grade and the year of change. Every day of my fifth-grade year started out with a seemingly uneventful routine. Our teacher, obviously a woman dedicated to her Christian beliefs, began each morning with the pledge of allegiance to the American flag, then the pledge to the New Mexico flag, and then the most noteworthy part, the Lord's Prayer, which was recited without fail. At age nine and ten, I did not understand the magnitude of this routine. However, looking back, this daily habit was something that provided peace and comfort and had the potential to impact the lives of a young group of children for the better, even years into the future. I know it positively impacted my life, and I am grateful. Prayer to God is necessary for guidance in avoiding the pitfalls of everyday life. It is no coincidence either that this year was when my life started to feel livable, hopeful, and more peaceful. It was a turning point for my entire future; positive things began to occur, and I give credit to daily prayer. I believe my life improved totally and completely when I learned to pray each day, reciting this prayer verbatim collectively with each member of my fifth-grade class, led by our teacher:

Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matt.6: 9-13)

A True Hero

After learning in later years about legislation passed previous to this school year of 1969-1970 that made it unlawful to pray in school, I believe that Mrs. Evelyn Francis was a true hero, because she prayed with us anyway. She simply prayed the Lord's Prayer each day, which gave us direction and guidance on how each day needed to start with God's presence and help. She did not preach to us about her personal beliefs, she just magnified God. Knowing now the impact this daily routine had on my life, I can proclaim that my fifth-grade teacher is without a doubt a hero in my eyes. I am not saying that breaking a law makes you a hero. But I am saying that when the law enforced on the God-fearing nation of America is so unjust in relation to its founding roots and the intentions of our founding fathers, defying such a law and doing what is morally right is the best decision for all concerned--not to mention the fact that prayer is for the common good of all people.

What did our Founding Father's have to say about prayer to God?

Man's law can never override God's law. The following is a quote by George Washington, issued to all state governors on June 8, 1783: "I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the state over which you preside, in His holy protection ... that He would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion without a humble imitation in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation." I believe that banning God and prayer from our public schools today has led us to reap unhappy experiences as a nation and as a people. It was an enormously wrong decision, and the consequences in current times speak for themselves in regard to the violence in public schools--public schools that have chosen to reject God.

...More from another Founding Father

Dr. Benjamin Rush, also known as the Father of Public Schools

Here is a quote from another founding father predicting what would happen without God's presence in our public schools. Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and author of the first chemistry textbook, is noted as the father of public schools. He predicted the following: "In contemplating the political institutions of this United States, I lament that if we remove the Bible from schools, we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them ... For this Divine Book above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and fugal virtues which constitute the soul of our government." This warning by Dr. Benjamin Rush in 1791 has come to pass in America today--the Bible and prayer are removed from public schools, and we are punishing crimes rather than using the tools God has given us to prevent the pain and loss. Those essential, preventive tools are God's priceless gifts of the Bible and prayer. Without God, there is no peace. Prayer to God is essential for peace to exist in one's life. God created every human to have a relationship with Him; when that is ignored, chaos ensues.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Has "kicking" God out of public schools led to many of the problems we experience today? The violence we have all heard of is done by mentally damaged individuals--for just one example,The Columbine Massacre. The fact is that without God, healing for damaged individuals is impossible. And it becomes a "Catch 22" when the only Hope for healing is abandoned with God, prayer, and the Bible being removed from public schools. This decision makes access to God, a vital part of life, unattainable for multitudes of our youth because sadly, children like I was, will not learn of God at home either. This puts us all in a precarious position because our youth are our future. And to clarify, the God I speak of is God of the Bible and Father of Jesus Christ, the God whose principles America was founded on.

Do you believe that the modern day problems with education and violence in schools is because God and prayer have been eliminated there?

See results

Daily Bible Reading Lights Your Path in Life

Find a favorite version of the Bible to fit your personal needs. There are many to choose from; my personal favorite is the KJV.

Prayer in School Forever Changed My Life for the Better

Prayer had a profound effect on my life because it created a relationship between me and God. And with that relationship my life was placed on a functional path. The evidence is tangible and real.

Because of the many things I experienced in childhood, my life was set up to be very different from the way it actually turned out. Things I lived through are devastating and damaging to a child and usually lead to a very abnormal adult life. According to the norm for my circumstances, I should be on my fourth or fifth marriage, but instead I have been married to the same wonderful guy for over thirty years. I should be addicted to alcohol and/or drugs, but I use neither. No detrimental habits were allowed to take control of my life--I was never even tempted to go there. Instead of all the bad I was headed for, I have experienced a life rich and abundant in blessings and miracles. For this, I completely give God the credit and I began to know Him because of a teacher who was not afraid to do the right thing. And this I owe to Prayer in School.

A Wounded Daughter's Survival - by Deborah Leigh Alexander

Read more about my story here. The healing I experienced began with prayer in school. My fifth grade teacher did what was right in spite of the detrimental law that tried to forbid prayer in school.

A Wounded Daughter’s Survival: A Damaged Life Healed by Hope and Truth
A Wounded Daughter’s Survival: A Damaged Life Healed by Hope and Truth

A personal journey in emotional healing. Get your copy here in hard copy, trade paperback, or e-book.

 

What are your thoughts on prayer in public schools?

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    • DLeighAlexander profile image
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      DLeighAlexander 3 years ago

      @WinWriter: Thank you so much. Will look forward to hearing from you on facebook.

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      WinWriter 3 years ago

      This is an excellent lens. I couldn't agree with you more. I'll try to look you up on facebook. God bless you!

    • DLeighAlexander profile image
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      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      @renewedfaith2day: Thank you for your comment; I pray for God's blessings & protection for you & your son.

      It is sad for us all that a few want to control the majority. Because of God's blessings, America is a free country and there is nothing right about banning the prayers of American citizens to God. When people fear prayer to God, they reveal their lack of understanding of what is true.

    • renewedfaith2day profile image

      renewedfaith2day 4 years ago

      I don't see how prayer could be outlawed when the First Amendment guarantees this right. And yet it is banned and discouraged at every turn. If my son wants to pray, I will tell him that it is okay. I will pay whatever fine that was levied but my child will pray whenever and wherever God allows him to.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I grew up in a country where prayers are always said before any activity, sometimes, ecumenical but still said. I think it is of great value.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image
      Author

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Amen! I completely agree, we need revival! Thanks for visiting and for your comment and squid-like :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      You've expressed your story and feelings beautifully and I couldn't agree more. It's so clear that amorality is at the center of so many people's problems, and the overall problems of our nation. Time for revival!

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      Our country stumbled when it was outlawed. Our country fell when it took the right to express ones self in the public arena known as school. Bring it back before it's too late.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      some european countries banned the use of religious symbols in the classrooms because not all students are having the same religion. some are muslims, catholics, christians, aetheists, agnostics, etc. i think that each student should pray mentally. when i was at school, we were praying everyday because i was enrolled at a catholic school.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      should have it, our entire nation started in fearing in God. If you don't like it, plenty of ways to get out of the country.

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      WordWings 5 years ago

      Thank you for this important subject. When I was in school I remember the school pause each morning for silent prayer. I think that would be appropriate today if prayer was allowed. But there are so many different faith now that I think it might be confusing and less genuine if too many faiths were expressed at a school. So many religions cause a lot of strife and misunderstandings now. Thank you for sharing your story of faith with such a genuine motive toward the children.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      It's my opinion that prayer should be private. There are so many religions in our society, that prayer is better kept to oneself, except in your church, temple, etc.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I think each school should be able to decide if prayer is appropriate or not. The bias against prayer in public schools is targeted at a specific religious group, which isn't fair. In my opinion, the Pledge of Allegiance should be recited each morning in public schools. I don't have kids, but if I did, they would be homeschooled or in private schools.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image
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      DLeighAlexander 5 years ago

      @moonlitta: I too feel prayer is private. Praying in public for your deepest needs is not what I advocate. I just believe that God should not be banned completely since school may be the only place some children will every have a chance to know of Him.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image
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      DLeighAlexander 5 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: Thank you for your comments. I realize this is a touchy subject for many but felt it necessary to share my positive, life-changing experience with school prayer. I was a child with no hope of learning these essentials at home and my parents did not take us to church ... but God guided my life in many ways when my parents were silent.

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      moonlitta 5 years ago

      Prayer in schools is not something I would recommend-it's too private for me. Still prayer is necessary and helpful for all of us in certain ways...

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm glad you found the prayers beneficial. Since my ancestors came to American in the 1630s for religious freedom, I strongly believe in the separation of church and state. Everyone is free to worship as they choose in their home and church, but the schools need to be a neutral ground.