Best Practice Guidelines

This is a rough draft version of this document and will change! Feedback can be sent to

General Guidelines

Prayer groups are independent and made up of people who are all doing their best and want to see their school doing well. These are some guidelines which Prayer Groups for Schools has published, to support you as you pray together:

Start with some bible

As Christians we want to keep the focus on Christ. Starting with a song (if there’s one that your group knows), and reading some Bible together helps shift the focus from you, me, the school and problems, to God, who knows how to help.

We don’t pray because we have some kind of magic powers or because “prayer” itself is powerful. We pray because God is powerful, He can do mighty things and He wants us to ask Him things. Reading some bible together helps us to focus on Christ first.

Less talking, more praying

We pray because we want to build up the people in our schools, not tear them down. It is very important to make sure the way we talk about people we are praying for is uplifting, and caring. Everyone wants to see our schools flourish and our students grow strong, healthy and wise, and make good life choices. We might disagree about what ‘good life choices’ looks like, or how to get the best outcomes for our students - this is the reality of living in a fallen world.

As christians, we believe in doing things God’s way. We aim to do what He said, in the Bible - to ‘bless those who curse you, and pray for those who persecute you’.

Respect Privacy

They’re called ‘prayer groups’ not ‘gossip groups’ for a reason. Even if you had a chaplain, pastoral care worker or other staff member come to prayer group out of hours sometime and pray too, they wouldn’t be able to tell you about things going on in the school. Please respect this! We want to honour the people we’re praying for and pray blessing over them, not talk about them.

In some situations which are public knowledge - e.g. a student who is terminally ill and this has been mentioned in school assembly - it will be appropriate to acknowledge what has been shared publicly and pray for the situation.

In others, where someone is aware of a family situation but this is being managed privately, prayer group is really not the time to be sharing details. Prayer group attendees who are distressed by a situation they know about should be encouraged to instead discuss situations with their pastor/minister or someone in a similar role, rather than gossiping in the group about it.

Child safety is important

Prayer Groups for Schools (PGS) exists specifically to support adults praying for school communities. Students who want to pray for their school are encouraged to do so also - please contact Mustard, who are a student-focused group.

PGS supports the Victorian government’s Child Safe principles, as well as the child safe standards upheld by most church denominations. In line with this, we don’t encourage children or teens to attend parent or community prayer group meetings unless their own parents or guardians are there supervising them. (Student prayer groups, where they exist, are run differently). We welcome people in local churches to pray for their local schools; As a result, PGS cannot and will not guarantee that all people attending a local prayer meeting (e.g. at a cafe, church, park etc) have appropriate registration, police checks or paperwork etc.

If prayer meetings are able to be held at a (e.g. Christian) school, where the school has given permission, schools may ask for parents to be registered or signed in with the school in some way. Schools have a duty of care to students and we want to abide by these rules for the same reason they are set - we also very much care about students’ safety and wellbeing.

Pray Positively and Wisely

Here are some examples for how to pray well and in a healthy and encouraging way for a couple of different situations:

  • For a custody dispute - Rather than discussing a particular family’s needs in much detail, it would be more appropriate to request prayer for…
    • good parenting outcomes
    • wisdom and mutual respect for parents who are navigating shared parenting arrangements
    • safety for everyone involved
    • clarity around the situation for those who are supporting the families in question
  • For a child who is going off the rails - whether they are hurting others or just making some bad life choices: Rather than discussing which kid, which grade, which teacher etc, it would be more appropriate to pray for all the kids who are making not-great life choices. You are encouraged to request prayer in your group for…
    • students to be able to listen well at school
    • students to know they are loved and they don’t need to prove themselves by clowning around
    • students to support one another in healthy behaviours
    • students to find good and healthy ways to have fun together
    • students to not be at a loose end at times when they have done things they shouldn’t have (e.g. afterschool, school holidays)
    • parents and teachers to have the courage and ability to enforce boundaries with their kids where appropriate.
  • For a principal who’s made a bad decision, that hurts Christians, or that you feel is bad for the school or the kids:
    • pray a blessing specifically for the principal - not out of any intention to control or manipulate, but in humility pray for wisdom, good decisions
    • Pray that they would be encouraged by wise counsellors
    • Pray that if there’s anything they need, that Christians would be there to support them
    • Pray that as Christians we would have courage and wisdom in how to respond effectively
    • Pray for any kids or staff that you feel may be hurt or adversely affected by whatever the decision was, for good outcomes for them in spite of this.
"Bless those who curse you; and pray for those who persecute you..." Romans 12v14