Blessing of the Backpacks

backpackIt’s almost time for another school year to begin. As the Sunday school superintendent at my church, I wanted to do something special to get the kids off on solid footing. I saw on Facebook the idea of having a “blessing of the backpacks” during the morning worship service. So this Sunday, we’re doing this for the first time. Most of these ideas aren’t my own, but rather, things I found when I Googled “blessing of the backpacks.”

Invite all the children to come forward. Hopefully they will have remembered to bring their backpacks to church with them. We’ll start with a responsive prayer I found here. I reworded it to better suit my style and our congregation. I’ll invite all school workers, including home school parents, to come up front with the children.

Leader: O Holy God, school is about to begin. As these your children begin their studies, we ask a blessing on their backpacks in which they carry the books and notebooks, markers, and pens and pencils they will use to learn. O Lord of Life and Love, 

People: Hear our prayer.

Leader: Bless, O God, all who will teach our children in the coming days. Give them the wisdom to find inspiration for each child. Give them the energy and creativity and love that will make their work a blessing to our children. O Lord of Life and Love, 

People: Hear our prayer.

Leader: Bless, O God, all principals, secretaries, school board members, custodians, cafeteria workers, librarians, and home schooling parents that they may be faithful stewards of the resources entrusted to their care. Make them fair and merciful, able to do their crucial work with a spirit of grace and compassion. O Lord of Life and Love, 

People: Hear our prayer.

Leader: Bless, O God, each one gathered here that we will seek every opportunity to grow in our knowledge and love of you—in our Sunday school classes and morning worship, our Wednesday night Bible studies, all our classes for youth and students and adult learners. Grant that we will grow ever closer to you. O Lord of Life and Love,

People: Hear our prayer.

Leader: And bless, O God, these our cherished children, whom we have promised to love and nurture. Keep them safe, keep them enthusiastic, keep them ever seeking to learn more and to develop their gifts. Help them to DO their best and BE their best at school. Guard them from discouragement. Grant that through their study, they may gain the tools to grow in love and faith and service all their days. O Lord of Life and Love,

People: Hear our prayer.

Leader: Bless, O God, these backpacks and the children who carry them. O Lord of Life and Love, 

People: Hear our prayer. 

All: Amen.

The school workers will be seated. Next, I’ll hand out some wooden cross key chains I ordered for the children that they can attach to their backpacks or tuck inside a pocket. We’ll talk about how Jesus goes everywhere with us, even to school. I’ll lead them in the following:

First day of schoolLeader: When it’s the night before going to school, and I’m picking out my clothes and making sure I have all my school supplies…

Children: Jesus is with me.

Leader: When I’m waking up and eating a healthy breakfast to start the day…

Children: Jesus is with me.

Leader: When I’m tempted to do something I know I shouldn’t…

Children: Jesus is with me.

Leader: When I meet my teachers and the kids in my class…

Children: Jesus is with me.

Leader: When I’m with my friends… 

Children: Jesus is with me.

Leader: When I’m doing my homework…

Children: Jesus is with me.

Leader: When I’m telling my family about my day at school…

Children: Jesus is with me.

Leader: When I’m praying at night and thanking God for my family, my friends, and my school…

Children: Jesus is with me.

Leader: Let’s bow our heads and pray: 

Thank you, Jesus, for always being by my side. I know that if I get nervous or afraid, you will be there with me. When I see the cross on my backpack, I will remember that you are always with me. I know that I can talk with you any time—day or night—and I am so thankful for that. I pray this all in your name. Amen.

I’m hoping the Blessing of the Backpacks will become an annual event that kids look forward to. I believe it shows kids they’re not alone in their efforts to be strong in their faith, even when they’re at school. I want them to know their church stands behind them and is praying for them every step of the way. We’re here and available to support them when they need a soft place to land.

Does your church do a Blessing of the Backpacks or something to send kids off into a new school year? Tell us about in the comments below.

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Comments

Blessing of the Backpacks — 2 Comments

  1. Thanks, Crystal! I know some churches include the adults in their blessing of the backpacks. They can bring brief cases, computer bags, backpacks, or anything else they carry to work. But this first time I wanted it to be all about the kids and making them feel valued.

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