Would you pray with a student? - page 2

I have a 5th grade student who came to me last week that I ended up making a child abuse report on. Today, she came to me and informed me that her "safe" caregiver has been removed from the house and... Read More

  1. by   llg
    Quote from OldDude
    My first reaction would be my Christianity and the pursuit thereof would be a higher calling than separation of church and state. But as I pondered the aftermath of the possibility of being fired as a result of praying at school I can't help but think God might tell me..."You know you could of handled that differently!" So, I'm reminded of Matthew 18:20..."For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them." I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned, "encourage them spiritually." The state isn't allowed to encourage any particular religious belief on another but it can't prohibit any religious belief either. I believe you could "encourage" a conversation with her wherein you provide a safe communication pathway for her to express her concerns and feelings and if her Christian beliefs became part of the conversation, that would be part of the therapeutic communication. Remember, prayer comes in all forms and fashions - not just a recitation of words. And, as Matthew mentioned, Jesus would be present and I believe He would completely understand the purpose of the conversation.

    What a thoughtful and heartfelt post! Blessings and Peace of Christ to you!
    Dear OldDude,
    I am what most people would call an atheist in that I don't believe in God as a being ... but I am a spiritual person in my own way.

    I want to compliment you on your post, which I can support in spite of being an atheist. I feel strongly that the staff of a public school should not "push" their particular religious beliefs onto a child -- and if someone at a school tried to push their religion onto my child, I would have them in court real fast. However, I see nothing wrong with your suggestion to create a safe space for a spiritual conversation, allowing the child to lead the conversation within that space.

    Your approach is one that allows people of differing spiritual beliefs to work (and live) together peacefully -- and to even learn from each other. Thank you.
  2. by   Forest2
    You could pray but not say who you are praying to. Such as starting off with " We are here to humbly ask",

    How to love and care for others as a Christian and not offend the worldly is a very thin tightwire to walk indeed.
  3. by   OldDude
    llg, you are mighty kind, I appreciate you and thank YOU!!
  4. by   Jedrnurse
    If you really believe that God will hear and answer your prayers, why do you have to be praying with them? Wouldn't praying for them be just as good?
  5. by   offlabel
    To Jesus, yes. Ra, no.
  6. by   rbytsdy
    Yes, I would pray with a student. I would allow the student to lead or ask the student how he or she prays. I consider this supporting a student and caring for a student holistically. It is different from teaching a child prayer or about religion. When i had my first baby, I was in a Catholic hospital and my husband called for a Eucharistic minister to bring communion. My midwife was in the room when the EM showed up. The EM took a few minutes to pray for me and for our baby. I distinctly remember my midwife bowing her head and folding her hands respectfully. I was surprised to later find out she was Jewish. I felt her respectfulness was very kind and much appreciated.
  7. by   Josh Runkle
    Why not just encourage her to be herself and allow her to pray if she wishes, and you could silently sit and agree with her and be there for her with encouragement of her needs/desires, but not specifically by "leading" her?

    On the outside, you would simply be allowing her to observe her own faith and you would be supporting her own needs. You wouldn't be violating the rules of a job that you chose to put yourself in. What you say privately in your own head is your own business.

    Why not say something like, "You mentioned finding comfort in prayer during a time like this. Why don't we sit here and you go ahead and pray, and I'll sit here and agree with you".
  8. by   kakamegamama
    OP---great question! I would pray for a student (and I have/do) in my heart, and if asked to , out loud. I think OldDude's response was one of the best. Also, "praying without ceasing" is a way of life, and doesn't have to be outwardly expressed in words and allows us to be obedient to pray for others, even in situations in which we have been told we can't verbally do so. Your kids are blessed to have you in their lives.
  9. by   babychickens
    Please allow me to insert my completely objective and emotionless point of view: I'm assuming you're a school RN. In your statement you say it's illegal. If that's in fact true and you know that to be the case, I'd stop there. However, as an RN you are licensed to communicate therapeutically so the conversation could be driven by your student/patient. If you believe that would protect you legally, do it. But what about charting to protect yourself? I'm assuming there is a chart of some sort on this young lady, given the circumstances. Could you cover yourself with a "student states, 'will you pray with me? so I bowed my head... Student felt more calm upon completion of prayer". Also, I would try to remove any of your own beliefs as much as possible. As with any nursing, it's not about our feelings, but the patient's needs. Just a suggestion.
  10. by   JenTheSchoolRN
    I'm a religious person. Not as deeply as perhaps some people, but in my own way. I think the important piece here is giving the student a private and safe pace to pray if the student needs it and finds it comforting. I would let the student lead and join them in silent support.

    I have told students my faith domination if asked, but usually turn the conversation back to them and ask them about their faith and needs (which the student is usually happy to talk about and appreciative of my safe space to do). I have learned so much about different faiths and cultures and love that.
  11. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from smudges.blips
    . She has mentioned her faith a number of times to me and what a comfort it is. I am also a Christian. I have told her that I am praying for her and for her situation, but believe that encouraging her spiritually as well as taking some private time to pray with her at school would be of help to her physically, spiritually, and emotionally. She has been missing quite a bit of class time due to her emotional state.

    I know that this is not legal.
    Not exactly true....moment of silence in school and all....what is illegal is you forcing your views on a student, and that doesn't seem to be the case. But since you're asking in a public forum, that means you're conflicted. You got a lot of good advice here. If it's student-led, you should have no problem. If you're leading it, that could be misinterpreted even if you have the student's best interest at heart.
  12. by   Farawyn
    Quote from kidzcare
    I think religion is very personal and I would probably not pray with a student. Everyone fulfills their spirituality in a different way. I am pretty conscious of how I speak when people are having hard times. I always say "I will be thinking of you" but don't specify praying. When I have hard times, I accept with equal gratefulness being kept in peoples' thoughts or prayers.

    For example, when my daughter broke her arm and had surgery, I kept this board updated and many nurses said they were thinking of us and probably more said they were praying for us. I appreciate both.
    I wish good thoughts, or say you are in my mind, or heart. I'll offer my time. Or a cot. If a student wanted to pray I would be respectful and sit with them while they did.

    Personally, if someone says they will pray for me, I know that is most likely the way they tell me they care, and I accept it as well, wholeheartedly.
    But, I won't be praying for anyone.
  13. by   Farawyn
    Quote from babychickens
    Please allow me to insert my completely objective and emotionless point of view: I'm assuming you're a school RN. In your statement you say it's illegal. If that's in fact true and you know that to be the case, I'd stop there. However, as an RN you are licensed to communicate therapeutically so the conversation could be driven by your student/patient. If you believe that would protect you legally, do it. But what about charting to protect yourself? I'm assuming there is a chart of some sort on this young lady, given the circumstances. Could you cover yourself with a "student states, 'will you pray with me? so I bowed my head... Student felt more calm upon completion of prayer". Also, I would try to remove any of your own beliefs as much as possible. As with any nursing, it's not about our feelings, but the patient's needs. Just a suggestion.
    Love.

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