Every Hour I Need Thee

Ah, the month of May. State testing will be finished. Spring break is a distant memory. The countdown is on and we know exactly how many days of school are left. It's time for teacher cruise-control: being more laid-back, more informal, more creative. The hardest days are behind us, and we can relax and enjoy what's ahead.

But don't forget that we are most vulnerable to an attack from the enemy NOT when we're at our weakest point, but when we're at our strongest.

What believing teacher doesn't say a prayer before the first day of school? Who doesn't murmur "God help us!" during standardized tests? Our awareness of how we are totally dependent on God is highest in stressful times because we can't imagine doing it without Him. We know we need Him to survive and don't dare try to do anything on our own.

But now, as the warm spring air fills our classrooms, it's tempting to let our guard down and try to get through the day in our own strength. It's the easiest time of year, right? We can handle it! And so we miss the opportunity to commune with the divine in our daily tasks. We shut God out and just try to make it through the last few weeks.

I'm experiencing this phenomenon on two levels this year: as an instructional coach whose school year is winding down, and as an author who has just about finished writing a second book. A few months ago when a blank computer screen taunted me, I was always on my knees. I was completely dependent on God to place every word in my heart and tell me what I need to write. But now it's tempting to think the creative work is done, and I need to focus on editing, I need to choose the cover, I need to handle the publishing technicalities. My human nature keeps concluding Thanks, God, you did great so far, but I think I've got it from here. If a minor disaster occurs, I'll be sure to check in, but otherwise, I'll be handling things myself. Kthxbye.

And so it's a conscious, daily decision to STOP. To silence my mind and feel with my spirit. To ask God:

Would You make Your presence known to me? Would You be a full part of every moment and guide me each step of the way? Don't let me get overconfident, God. Don't let me think I can do this on my own. Everything turns out better when You're involved. And every moment becomes more precious and enjoyable, knowing that You're there. Keep the song placed in my heart: "I need Thee, oh I need thee, every hour I need Thee." You placed the lyrics for that hymn in the heart of a housewife as she went about her daily routine; you directed her to write it so that we would have inspiration in even the most mundane tasks. Inspire me, too, Lord! Fill me with your presence and give meaning to every hour. Let things of great beauty come from times of monotony. Help me to be receptive to Your spirit in everything I do.

I pray that this prayer stays on your heart as you finish the school year, so that the Lord is with you every moment of every day, filling you with peace and contentment and purpose. And can I ask that you pray that prayer for me, as well? Ask that God continues to guide me through these last crucial steps so that the message I publish is one that is pleasing in His sight and gives glory to His name. Though the book is not written just for Christian teachers, it is biblically sound and establishes important truths that will help teachers combat worldly, fleshly ways of thinking and bring their thoughts in line with what the Bible tells us is most beneficial and edifying. It's designed to help teachers renew their minds and take every thought captive. At least, that's my prayer. It would mean so much if you joined me in asking God to use this book to help change the lives of stressed out teachers and help them accomplish their calling with enthusiasm and purpose! Thank you, as always, for your unfailing encouragement and support.

[The book is called Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching. You can read more about it here.]

[And if you're not familiar with Jars of Clay's version of "I Need Thee Every Hour", check it out. Beautiful.]


Justin Stortz said...

This is a wonderful thought as we start to zip up another school year. That is so true that attacks can come when we are the most vulnerable.

Although this is a sweet spot right now, I've always felt the last two weeks of school are brutal. Not only is it such an emotionally draining time (for many students, as well) but, it's also a physically draining time. There are so many things to wrap up, papers to sign, checklists to complete, etc. Ugh.

Your prayer is a great example of where our hearts need to be at this time. Thanks for sharing.

- @newfirewithin

Susan said...

Angela-Thank you for this blog post. Not only is the end of the school year upon us, but for me, the end of this part of my career. I have opted to retire early to focus on other activities I feel God is calling me to do. I definitely need to pray my way out the door! Please pray for me that God will lead me just where he wants me to be.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you so much for loving us and sending your son to die on the cross so that we might be saved! Please today bless Angela as she works hard to put the finish touches on the book you have led her to write. I pray that it will end up in the hands for which it was intended and bless teachers and students, alike.
In your holy and precious name, Amen

D2 said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! I just came across your blog and I love it!

Anonymous said...

I'll be praying for you as you complete your book. To God Be the Glory!

Angela Watson said...

Thanks to each of you for sharing your words of encouragement and support. I'm late in replying, but each comment made me smile as it was posted and again today as I re-read. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and have a wonderful school year!