As you may have noticed, I have not been at school this week. While students and staff have rest during the term break, school principals are often found at school during these times. They have to work hard to catch up with the administrative tasks that get pushed aside while important learning is taking place during the term. I am sure that the week has gone well and few have noticed my absence! I thank the staff for taking on additional responsibilities.

To be honest, most principals get a bit nervous when we take leave of our schools during term times. It is a temptation of our modern times for us all to believe that we are more significant, necessary and important than we really are. We are all indeed unique, needed and loved by our heavenly Father, but we must be careful not to start thinking that we have the power of God.

One of the readings for this week comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. I think Paul had a good idea of what it was like to be the leader of a community and to be away from it—most of his letters are focused on encouraging communities that he is physically unable to be with at that time. When we look at these letters we soon notice one of the foci of his work—the importance of prayer.

He writes to the Ephesians:

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you…

In a world as troubled as ours currently is—floods in Queensland, earthquakes in Nepal, war in Syria – we often feel powerless and unable to do anything for our brothers and sister in humanity spread across the world.

What prayer does is give us the power to express our love for people to God, and experience the comfort that comes from knowing that He is a God of hope who hears all prayers. Prayer is not an excuse to avoid providing for the practical needs of others, but is a comforting balm for our souls which provides us with the strength to go on despite the crushing sadness in the world.

So this week in my physical absence from the school I held the community up to God in my prayers. May we all put aside time to bring before God our brothers and sisters around the world who so desperately need hope.


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