Praying for LaRue Co. Schools

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By Doug Ponder

Preparing for the beginning of the school year often includes tasks such as buying school supplies and buying new clothes to wear to school, but for a group of over 200 people in LaRue County, preparing for school also means praying for the faculty and students in the LaRue County School District.


A second annual prayer meeting was held on Sunday, August 5. The meeting started at the LaRue County Central Office. Leaders in the community led the group in prayer for several topics including physical (health, safety, growth and protection); relational (staff, students, parents, friendships and mentors); spiritual (love of God, love of others and holiness) and educational (knowledge, understanding, wisdom and truth.) Those in attendance also sang songs in between prayers.

After the main meeting, the crowd then divided into groups where they met to pray at the LaRue County High School, LaRue County Middle School, Hodgenville Elementary School, Abraham Lincoln Elementary School and the LaRue County Bus Garage. At each of the facilities, those in attendance prayed for the bus drivers, teachers and other faculty individually and a lot of them left notes of encouragement and gifts for them to receive the following day.

Paul Richey, who is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Hodgenville and who played the primary role in organizing the event as the coordinator for the LaRue County Ministerial Association, said that he thought the turnout was good for it to be the second year of the event.

“The attendance included people from various backgrounds, churches, and denominations that gathered together for the singular purpose of seeking the Lord’s blessing, provision, work, and presence throughout the lives of students, teachers, administrators, bus drivers, and all personnel in our school system,” Richey said. “It is the corporate singular heartbeat that displays the unity that should exist between all believers and demonstrates that the heartbeat is a response of the people of God living in Christ.”

Richey said that he is grateful to the new LCS Superintendent David Raleigh and the LaRue County School Board for their support and openness to see the prayer event continue for this school year.

“To have the opportunity to enter into each school and pray over the teachers and the students is a blessing and an opportunity that I am so thankful for.  As a believer, I hold to the power of prayer in every avenue of life,” Richey said. “In the current cultural temperature, we are bombarded with division, hate, and distrust. To have the ability to unify in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and entrust the school year to Him provides an opportunity to counter many of the culture voices that influence.”

Jonathan Carl, who is the pastor at South Fork Baptist Church in Hodgenville, said he was also happy with the turnout for the event.

“I think people turn out because of a genuine love for our community that flows from the love of Jesus in us.  It is a wonderful opportunity to lift our children up to the Lord for their safety, learning, relationships, growth, and spiritual life and health,” Carl said. “It is a privilege to lift all of the staff of our school district to our great God for the year ahead.  I think part of the reason for such a strong response is there has been decades of a wrong feeling like we can’t mention God in our classrooms.  The world is darkening around us and this is a joy we have to encourage our schools to be a bright light within our community.”

LCS Board Chair Dawn Conner led the prayer for the educational part of the main prayer event at the central office and she expressed how thankful she was for them to be able to hold the event in the schools. She talked about her first mission trip and how she felt God’s presence there.

“You walked into that place and you could feel the Holy Spirit in that place. I feel the Holy Spirit in this place,” Conner said. “What a blessing it is for us to not only be able to share Jesus with people we don’t know, but to share Jesus with our children and our teachers. What an amazing ministry we have to love them and share God’s love with them.”

Celina Leggiere is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and she attended the event. Leggiere attended the event because she was in LaRue County spending time with some family friends and though it was a great opportunity. She decided to go to the middle school to pray after the main prayer event ended.

“I am family friends with Madison Chaudoin and Baylee Fortner, who will both be students at the middle school,” Leggiere said. “I heard about the event and heard they were going back to school, so we all came. It’s important to pray for them.”