Glorious Heavenly Father,
It has been a joy to work with children most all my life in one form or another. They amaze me with their thoughts (and keep me humble with their truth, and wear me out with their energy!) I have served as a licensed child care provider, early education teacher, Wee Worship and Vacation Bible School teacher as well as mom and grandmother to many. I have learned much more than I could ever teach these precious children. I can see why Jesus said we need to be child-like to be part of His Kingdom. I’m not talking about the screaming melt-downs in the grocery-store aisle, or the demanding “I want’s,” or the irritating tattling (though I’ve learned a lot about how we act towards You from those episodes. too)—I’m speaking of the trusting nature of a child’s faith which I see over and over again…

• My young friend, a 4 year-old hyper boy who invited his preschool teacher to the Thanksgiving church dinner and worship service without anyone telling him to! (Thank You, Lord, for that sweet loving teacher who came and was drug around church all morning being proudly introduced by her wild-hearted little student!)

• The precious 8 year old boy who came to me Sunday with a little notepad and asked if I had a prayer request. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked to be prayed for by someone so young. (I was able to give him a request that I have really been praying about–which he promptly wrote down. I just regret that I didn’t think to ask if he had one. Yet I know something dear to his heart I will pray about!)

• A teenaged grandson who began praying to You even before he could talk. He has blessed many with his fervent prayers as he grew. I think he may be slipping from that closeness with You as he grows, yet I know he knows Your call on his heart and will return.

• The tried and tested faith of a young grandson who I believe cried out to Jesus to save him and his sisters from danger. He knows who saved him and placed him in a new loving family where he and his sisters could stay together. (I am humbled by his faith in You and his deep compassion at such a tender age.)

• For a “special needs” great grandson, who ever so often displays special insight into You, the only One who truly understands him.

• Babies and toddlers- I often see a built-in faith in these fresh new lives who can somehow tell who to trust. They seem to be able to sense who is safe fairly quickly—who will care for them, love and protect them.

 

Father, help me to know, just as these children know, that I need help; that I can’t survive on my own; that I don’t know what is best for me; that my demands could be the worst thing; that all my deepest needs and desires are fully met through Jesus Christ so I can know a loving relationship with You—my Heavenly Father, the one I can fully place my faith in for all eternity. I am so thankful to be your child!

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“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…” Galatians 3:26

 

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’” Matthew 18:2

 

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:15-17

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father God, show me where I do not trust You as my Good Father…

Heavenly Father,
Thousands of teachers are starting a new year with a fresh crop of students. Why do they place themselves in classrooms overflowing with young minds, crazy emotions, wiggly bodies and loud voices which have a hard time containing themselves? It has to be a calling of love to subject themselves day in and day out to this organized chaos. It’s true—teaching is a gift. It can also be a stressful calling. That’s why they need our prayers.

Father, since I’ve been an early childhood teacher a lot of my life, I know how hard it can be. Yet whether students are infants, kindergarten, elementary, Jr High, Highschool or college, teachers are investing in the lives of their students. Most teachers have their students for one year before they pass to the next teacher. That is one year, or less, to try to make sure every student is learning all they need to, while on their watch. Most teachers are fully aware that they are not simply teaching reading, writing and arithmetic (although that is what their students and they are tested on). So many times, they are teaching far more important lessons, like: kindness, cooperation, confidence, perseverance, leadership, listening, respect…There are times, they know they may be one of the few positive influences in a young person’s life. Teachers need to be able to look past the stack of papers that need grading to a young person’s soul to make the most lasting impact.

Lord, with so much emphasis on testing and curriculum these days, I pray that You give each and every teacher a selfless love for the students You have placed in their care this year. I pray that they each get all they need from You to do what seems impossible. I pray when their energy runs out that they run to You to be revived and refreshed. Lord, help them to have sensitive eyes to see the child that needs tender care, extra patience and love for the one who loudly demands attention, encouragement for those who are uncertain… I pray for innovative ways to engage young people to use their minds to solve problems, have curiosity for how things work, opportunities for learning to work cooperatively with others, and ways to fan the flames of Your love and a desire to make this world a brighter, more hopeful place.

Teachers have a huge challenge because young people have so many fears, distractions, and obstacles at home and in the world…but nothing is impossible with Jesus to strengthen them. We lift up teachers before You, Lord. We also ask that You help make each of us better teachers—in whatever setting You have put us in. Lord, You are the Ultimate Teacher. Though You created each of us, You never leave us. Other teachers come and go, yet You are always with us and have given up everything for us to live and learn in You.

 

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Jesus teaching on teachers:
“A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant to be like his master.” Matthew 10:24-25

 

“Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be called your servant.” Matthew 23:10-11

 

“You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so. For that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:13-15

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, what teachers can I pray for? How can I teach others about You?…

Heavenly Father,  I recall my dad talking to me one time about “investing” in his children. It hit me the wrong way when I first heard him use the term “investing” when speaking of my brothers and me. At the time, being a very young adult, that word seemed a little cold and calculating—probably because I had only heard it in reference to money. But I am beginning to understand my daddy’s investment…

                Yesterday was my last day of a 25-plus-year career I had spent investing in the lives of little people. I spent at least fifteen years loving, nurturing and teaching other people’s children through my in-home Child Care. Then I just chose to leave a job where I continued to love on countless precious little ones from 6 weeks old to six years old in a wonderful Child Care Center. That’s a lot of noses and bottoms which have been wiped, dirty bedding laundered, meals prepared and dishes washed , boo-boos treated, temper tantrums calmed, tears hugged away, silly songs sang, books read over and over, bubbles blown and popped, potty training with accidents and success, teaching to share and take turns, helping them learn to be caring and respectful, helping them realize responsibility, discoveries about butterflies, plants, dinosaurs, weather, firemen, building and art… (and their families loved and prayed for!)

                Most of those little people who run to hug me when I walk into the room will not remember me 5-10 years from now…but I know the other teachers and I have invested more than they will ever know into their lives. Then there are my own children, grandchildren and great grandchildren! For over 34 years, I had children underage at home. Now there are grandkids in and out of my care on a regular basis. Even when they are not in my presence, I am still investing love by praying for them daily. As my children and grandchildren have grown to be amazing big people, I am blown away that my little investments had even a tiny impact on who they are and who they influence! The more I invest (even in seemingly insignificant ways) the pay-off is occurring in eternal dividends I can’t even begin to count. Just a little peek makes me realize I am so richly blessed!

                Father, You invested in us first! You knew there wouldn’t always be immediate return for the precious investment of Your Son Jesus Christ. No one understood the price of Your loving investment poured out for us when it was occurring. We still cannot count the riches of how Jesus’ life, death and resurrection continues to grow, flourish and multiply in our lives and those we touch! Father, thank You so much for investing in us when we didn’t deserve it, understand it, or even acknowledge what You’ve done for us. Lord, help me be one that keeps passing Your great blessings along. The more we invest, the richer we discover we’ve become spiritually.

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”    John 3:16

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:9-12

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, how am I investing the Love You have poured into me?

Heavenly Father,

It is the first snow fall of the year. Yes, it is beautiful, but as an early childhood teacher, it may mean a really wild day at school today! There is nothing like a class full of little kids who are seeing or perhaps playing in the snow for the first time! If we don’t take the kids outside, they will be super-hyped-up, looking at the snow through the window. If we make snow ice cream, they will be super excited about their first real “snow cones!” If we take them out, there will be 12 sets of wet shoes or boots to take off, a dozen freezing noses and sets of red hands, wet clothes and coats everywhere! Snow is exciting in our warm climate state. It is lovely and pure to look at when it is outside; yet it sure can bring a mess inside!

Hopefully, it will also provide good sleeping weather at naptime! How many minutes til naptime? Give me strength, Lord to make it until naptime and please let them sleep today! I need some You time, Father. I need some quiet alone time with You! Even if there is a room full of babies or preschool kids—if they are sleeping, I can get a moment of sweet alone time with You. I can handle the afternoon with a room filled with rambunctious little ones, if I can get a few refreshing moments with You.

You are the one who gives me Your peace, refreshment, strength, eyes to see and enjoy the beauty of snow out the window and even tracked all over the room. You are the One who lets me enjoy such crazy chaos and love each of these spectacular kids with all their unique idiosyncrasies. You are the One that gives me the supernatural strength and patience to care for each one of these precious children…but please let me have a few moments of quiet prayer time with You!

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“Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”  Psalm 51:7b

“’Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow…’”  Isaiah 1:18

“I pray that out of His riches, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3:16-17

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me take some quiet moments with You today…

 

Heavenly Father,

I cannot tell you how many times as I have cared for children that they ask me a question and I answer. Within a few minutes, they ask me the same question—I answer again. A few minutes later, they ask me the same exact question. I finally point out that I have answered their same question every single time they have asked me. They ask; then go about their busy play—not even waiting or listening for an answer.

Lord, how many times in my life have I done the same thing to You? I make a big deal of asking You for something or for guidance in a situation; then it’s like I forget that I asked—or I don’t even bother to wait or listen for Your answer. I know that You hear every single thing I bring before You. My prayers are precious to You (even if what I ask for is not always so precious).

I’m learning to listen for Your answer after I ask You something. I’m learning to be patient and wait to see how You are working on whatever I have brought before You. There are many times, as I go on about my busy day that You quietly point out that “This is the answer to that prayer.” You work so much differently than I do. Your thoughts and ways and plans are so much higher than anything I could ever scheme up. Your ways are always so much better—even if I don’t see it at the time.

How I thank You for all the big and little ways You have answered every single one of my prayers. I can think of prayers that were answered immediately (sometimes before I could even voice them) and others which You answered, “Wait” and it took 34 years to see the answer. It was so worth the wait! Lord, help me continue to bring every little and big thing before You, and then listen and watch for Your answer. Thank You for listening to me, Lord!

 

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“They have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations; so I will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke no one listened. They did evil in My sight and chose what displeases Me. Hear the word of God, you who tremble at His word.” Isaiah 66:3b-5a

“He (Jesus) came and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when He had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are all the prayers of the saints.”  Revelation 5:7-8

 

“He answered their prayers because they trusted Him.”  1 Chronicles 5:20b

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me listen to You, watch for You, and obey You today…

Heavenly Father,

I’ve seen the look of both trust and non-trust as an early educator—in parents and in children. Trust is critical. Parents drop off their precious babies in the morning. Since I cover a lot of different classes, I am in a lot of situations where the parents and the kids don’t know me the first time we meet. They have no idea whether they can trust me—other than I have been hired as a trained professional at this particular center. They are not just dropping off their laundry, they are leaving their most treasured vulnerable loved one in my care. Even when they attempt to conceal it, they are looking me over trying to decide if I will cherish and care for their babies even half as good as they do. They clutch their babies tightly even while trying to convince their kids they will be fine. The babies are also looking me over. They are usually a better judge of character than adults who have heard too many bad reports. Little children know when they are loved and enjoyed. They can see love in the eyes and in the heart!

Father, the more I read and hear Your word, the more I realize how important trusting You is. You have beautiful plans to bless us, if only we will look into Your heart and see how good and holy and loving You really are! There is no one more trustworthy. You love us so much more than we can ever imagine or describe. It can be delightful discovering more of who You are every single day of our earthly lives and beyond. Yet far too often, we clutch hearts with fear. We hold on to our circumstances and the people we love. We are not sure we can really trust You.

Lord God Almighty! Do we think we can do better than You? Are we trusting in our weak human understanding more than Your divine knowledge that created us and everything around? Do we truly believe we can care better for our loved ones than You can? Do we tend to trust only in what our mere eyes can see instead of You—who knows all there is from the beginning to the end? Father, help me look into Your heart at all times and trust who You are. You loved us so much that You sent Your Son Jesus to die once and for all for our sins, and rise in victory so we can live for all eternity. All we have to do is trust You! (Even if it seems like a tiny trust at first.) I suppose we will be forever growing in our love and trust of You the more we get to know You—and place our treasures, sins, concerns, fears, situations, dreams and loved ones in Your hands!

 

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“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved, As the scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts  in him will never be put to shame.’”  Romans 10:9-11

 

Jesus said in John 14:1: “do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me.”

 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, who do I turst…

Heavenly Father,

I have rocked a lot of babies to sleep in my life—between my own, grandbabies, great grandbabies and who knows how many at work! I can usually rock almost any baby to sleep. I tell my co-workers that it’s either because I’m boring or calm. I’m not sure which. Some babies are naturally more laid back and easy to put to sleep. Others…well, it can be a real battle. Yet I almost always win!

The babies who fight against sleep need rest more than the others. The sleepier they are, the crankier they are. They squirm, cry, thrash around, hold their bodies rigid, arch their backs to get out of your arms…anything to stay awake. If their eyelids almost close from exhaustion, they immediately start moving to try to revive themselves. Yet, if I remain calm and think loving thoughts over them, sometimes quietly singing to them, and hold them gently yet firmly to calm them down, they sooner or later drift off to sleep. More than once, I’ve raised my hands in victory because I won the fight. It’s not so much that I am proud of winning—it’s that I know they need the rest. They (and everyone around) will be able to enjoy life so much better if they get a good rest!

Father, now that I have bragged on my ability to get babies to rest, I have to admit that I often thrash around when faced with an obstacle. I start fighting and frantically attempting to figure my way out. I squirm with worry or anxiety when what I really need to crawl up in Your lap and let You hold me until I can rest in Your care—until I can relax and trust You to handle whatever situation I am facing. I know You have to hold me really tight sometimes until I give up and surrender into Your sweet care. You know what I really need. Every time, I am finally still in Your arms, a sweet peace overwhelms me and I can rest in Your love and trust Your care for me.

Now, there are times when I stand up and try to lay those babies down in their cribs, they immediately start fighting again. Father, I’m so grateful that Your arms are big enough to keep holding me while You do everything else You do!  The best place to be is in Your arms!

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“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

 

“”He who dwells in the shadow of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

 

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.”  Psalm 23:2-3

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, hold me until I calm down and rest from…

Heavenly Father,

Prayer in schools can never ever be outlawed as long as there are students, teachers, moms, dads, grandparents, churches, school staff and administrators who are praying. There are prayers lifted before You, Lord, all over our land as schools start back after summer break… fervent prayers by first time teachers, parents entrusting their precious children to teachers they don’t know, parents who suddenly have a high school student or college student, prayers by custodians who are prayer warriors disguised as janitors, cafeteria workers who pray as they cook, clean and interact with children, prayers by administrators who realize they cannot handle the responsibility on their own, prayers by teachers who have seen it all and impacted hundreds of students in their lifetime.

Twenty-five years ago, I started praying with a small group of moms for our kids and their schools through Moms In Touch (which is now an international group of small groups of moms praying in homes all over the world for students, teachers and schools because as the founder Fern Nichols always said, “If we are not praying for our children, who is?”) Since then, I’ve heard of parents stopping during the parent/teacher conference to pray for/with their teacher, churches adopting a nearby school to pray for, community prayer walks around a local school to pray for the specific needs, children and staff of that school…Tomorrow, my van will be filled as a bunch of our family- including moms and kids do a drive-through prayer around our grandchildren’s schools! What if everyone prayed for a school as they slowed down to pass through a school zone?! Or passed the school supply aisle?

Father, I know You hear our prayers. We lift up our schools, students of all ages, teachers, professors, administrators, staff and families who have students in school. Father, hear our prayers and protect, bless, guide, lead, bring divine inspiration and curiosity and love for learning. Bring about a spirit of respect, kindness, safety, encouragement…Encourage families to start the day off before school with prayer every single day before they leave home, or on the way to school while everyone is together and buckled in. That would start every day focused on You.  Lord, You have all authority above all earthly authority. We ask Your will be done in our schools and in our young people in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

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“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous (through Jesus Christ) and His ears are attentive to their prayers.”   1 Peter 3:12

 

“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven  and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”  2 Corinthians 7:14-15

“ ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.’ ”  Jeremiah 29:13-14

 

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, let me teach my children to pray by praying for ….

 

Heavenly Father,

For a long time, I have asked You to lead the weekly Bible Study growth group I facilitate. It’s always an adventure to watch how You lead. It never goes like I expect. I’m always surprised by the ways You teach all of us. The latest lesson You are leading us in has been through these “hawk attacks” as I go on my morning walks. There have been a series of attacks starting with a silent hawk zooming from behind with great power right on the top of my head! There has been a fair amount of fear try to keep me from walking as there have been more threats on sequential walks—but, Lord, I know You don’t want me to give in to fear.

So besides yelling at them and shaking my keys, this morning I pulled my long ponytail up and wore a straw hat. The huge birds were still out in full force all around me but I felt protected. As I walked past one scene of attack, there were four of them sitting high on the dead branches protruding high above the live part of the tree. Right as I walked past, a car drove by in the otherwise deserted street. I felt Your timing. They would not attack while something so large and powerful was there. As I passed by the first painful point of attack, there just happened to be four young people I had never seen walking together on the other side of the street. They passed by exactly at the very point of attack. They were talking about Jesus and said His name several times!

Father, thank You for the reminder that You are always with me protecting me. You won’t let anything through unless it is somehow for Your glory. All I need to do is be on alert for the attacks that are certain to come; be dressed in Your armor; overcome fear with the knowledge that You are with me; keep around other believers; and trust in Your protection, timing and angels; and use Jesus’ name to ward off the enemy. Help me to keep on walking with You (and to finish the lesson on “weapons and armor” that I didn’t know I was teaching—but You are leading for tonight! Just following Your lesson plan, Lord!)

 

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“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  Ephesians 6:10-18

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.”   1 Peter 5:8-9

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me where I’m being attacked right now and help me stand in Jesus Christ…

 

Heavenly Father,

Life certainly does not stand still. Graduations are a picture of that. This is the time of year, we teachers say goodbye to children we have cared for since they were on bottles. Sometimes, they are moving up to the next class. Other times, they are leaving our school. It is so bittersweet. Those young souls we have poured our hearts and energy into for however long we had them in our care are graduating from us. Whether we think they are ready or not, they are leaving our little nest. They are branching out into a larger world.

In some ways, we are ready to see them go. So many times, they begin to let us know they need the next step, more challenge, a larger environment to test and explore. In other ways, it’s hard to let them go. They have become our babies, our students. We have invested our lives into them. We know we may not see them again—at least not in the same way. We wonder, “Did we teach them all they needed?” “Could we have done better?” “Will they be OK?” “Will the next teacher be as loving, patient and understanding of their particular quirks?”

Father, thank You for letting us having them for the point in their lives we had them. Let the seeds of love, curiosity, kindness, respect, confidence and trust grow and flourish as they go forward. We hand them off to their next teacher, trusting that You are placing them in their care for the next step. We pray for both the child and their next teacher to continue to build upon what You have instilled in this precious child who is leaving us. It helps to know that You are with them every step of the way. Bless them and their family. As this child graduates from our care and goes forward, may their life be a blessing to this world. Thank You for letting us have a small part along the way.

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“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”(because of our influence)  James 3:1

“…so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach…” Romans 12:5-7

“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching, show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”  Titus 2:6-8