Prayer is raising one's mind and heart to God. When the school day included prayer, there was an implicit acknowledgement that God existed, and that He was a loving Father who required a certain standard of behavior from His children. Today, prayer is no longer allowed in schools, and the behavior of young people is falling to ever-increasing lows.
Many of the problems adults are experiencing with today's youth are caused by the fact that young people have little fear or respect for anyone or any institution. Parents, educators, and the justice system no longer have effective means of disciplining youth.
Many parents are no longer comfortable applying strict disciplinary measures to wayward children. One complaint from a neighbor, the school, or even the child himself can bring social workers into the home to investigate every nook and cranny of the family's life.
In some cases, this hyper-sensitive vigilance is a valuable safeguard against children being mistreated, but it has also struck fear into the hearts of numerous parents. It prevents them from enforcing firm discipline, even in cases where the young people are sorely in need of it.
We live in a permissive, child-centred society. Heaven forbid that anyone or anything should damage a child's self-image, or stifle his effort to express himself, or curtail his creativity, even if it's expressed in graffiti on the side of a public building.
Today's young people need to be reminded that there is indeed an omniscient, all-powerful, and all-just Heavenly Parent who sees all and is quite capable of punishing wrong-doing.
The school also has had its hands tied with applying effective disciplinary measures. A child cannot be kept in at recess, (he needs the break and exercise), nor after school, (he'll miss the bus). If he's so much as patted on the shoulder, the offending party can be charged with assault.
At school, presently, a student who misbehaves can no longer be effectively punished. The children are well aware of this fact and take full advantage of it. In the past, when prayer was a factor of daily life, they were at least reminded that there was a Higher Power who was not subject to the restrictions of the local education authorities.
Police officers and the courts also have little authority when it comes to young offenders. Trouble-makers can't be identified publicly by name even when they've committed murder. For lesser offences, they proceed through the revolving doors of the justice system to be returned to their homes or into foster care. From these places, they often progress to more serious offences until they reach the age where they can legally be held accountable for their actions.
Parental, educational, and legal authority over young people has been eroded to the extent that it is practically non-existent. Family church attendance has fallen off dismally and few young people even know the Ten Commandments, much less harbor any desire to obey them.
With street crime, domestic terrorism, gang wars, rape, home invasions, vandalism, drug use, and all kinds of delinquency and villainy on the rise, society in general needs to take decisive action to avoid anarchy, as young people become more self-centered and rebellious. We need to turn to the Source of all authority for guidance as we strive to reestablish secure, law-abiding families and communities.
What better place to start than by making prayer once again a daily practice in our schools?