Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How Do You Pray?

Recently I had a great conversation about academic faithfulness with students at a nearby college. The students were honest and open about their own struggles to be faithful to Christ in academic pursuits. What hinders academic faithfulness? Many responded that they were overwhelmed, fragmented, lazy, and only motivated by grades. We then discussed what practices might lead toward academic faithfulness. Prayer was mentioned. I asked, “How many of you pray about what you are learning?” Again, the group was honest: academics is rarely on their prayer list.

What follow comes from page 105 of The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness. This is a challenge to us all as we consider how to pray to the Lord of education:

Would you be willing to commit yourself to a week-long prayer experiment? Pray for your professors, for your classmates, for your research interests, for wisdom. If you are part of a prayer or Bible study group, pray about taking learning seriously. Pray before each class. A brief prayer will do just fine, and pray before you begin to engage your readings and assignments. We think that this is a good place to start the journey of academic faithfulness and this is something tangible that you can do. We also think that this experiment will help you to establish an important practice that in time will change you. Saying a little prayer like this before a class or before you study would be a good start:

God, I trust that you have called me to this institution, this major, this class. Help me to discern the lies, to retain valuable insights, and to contribute humbly as I may. I ask for your wisdom as I learn more about your world. Watch over me as I study and engage this material. Through my work here prepare me to serve in your kingdom.

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