GRAY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Faculty, parents and community members gathered at Ridgeview Elementary School on Sunday to hold a prayer over students as they return to school. This was part of a statewide Weekend of Prayer that has happened since Tennessee lawmakers signed it into action in April 2015.

Youth Minister at Harmony Baptist Church Brandon Mooney said he knows there’s a lot of nerves and stress for students during this time of year.

“They’ve had a good couple of months off and there’s always a little bit of stress and anxiety maybe that comes with the new school year starting,” he said. “So it’s a time for us to get together to just pray that God guides them throughout the new year and calms any nerves that they have. And just to pray that he be with them through the new school year.”

Mooney said there are numerous reasons that they hold the prayer over students, one simply being to show support to kids as they go back to school.

“One, it shows them that we care. We do care about them. We care about them enough to pray for them that God will guide them through it. And that’s something that we teach them is that God is with you no matter where you go.”

Mooney told News Channel 11 he hopes those that pray will do so for all the children that are settling into the new school year.

“Don’t pray for our kids just because of the prayer circles we had, but definitely take the time to go represent a school somewhere in your area,” he said. “To just pray for the kids. Whether it’s your kids directly or not. It might be your friend’s kids, you just never know. But kids go through a lot nowadays. And so just pray for them.”