Prayer for academic study and life choices
Studying is hard work, especially if you are diligent and want to do well. It can be enjoyable and it can be stressful; all those books to read, essays to write and projects to complete. And then there are deadlines! Pressure mounts and anxiety increases, and sometimes we just wonder why we are putting ourselves through it all.
Actually, that is a good question to ask. "Why am I doing this?" The obvious answer might be because you need the qualification to get the job you want or to improve your employment prospects. There are all kinds of motivations for studying, whether as a young undergraduate, a mature student returning to study or for any variety of work-related or personal reasons. But beyond the more obvious answers, such as "I need to be a graduate to work as a ....," there is a bigger question that we may or may not choose to address. It is this: "What is my life for?" It is about finding purpose beyond the mere economic necessities.
Christians believe that life has a meaning and a purpose, for we believe that life is a gift and ultimately meant to be used in the service of God, in the service of His creation and of all of humanity. Creation matters, the natural world matters and the good of humankind matters too. And so we view work as more than something merely functional, but as a means of each individual using and expressing his or her God-given talents as fully as possible, whatever the work place. This prayer reflects that aspect of Christian theology.
LORD, I thank you that you have given me gifts and talents that enable me to study. Whether I have many talents or just a few, I thank you for those that you have entrusted to me. I want to make good use of them.
LORD, I pray that as I embark (or continue) on my course, please help me to realise that this time of studying is an important time in my life. It is not just a means to an end, but a rich experience in itself. Help me to value the people I study with. May I be able to show your love to them. Help me to be disciplined in the use of my time so that I can use the time wisely. Help me I pray, to focus on what is most important. Help me too, so that I can grow intellectually and personally through this time of study.
LORD, I don't just want another qualification on my cv. I want it to be an achievement that equips and prepares me personally and spiritually as well as academically. I want to work out with your guidance how I can use all these things well in what shall follow. Please guide my steps and please have guard over my ambitions. LORD, I want to be the best that I can be, but not just for my gain or pleasure, but so that I can honour your will and purposes for my life, wherever I shall go. In all things and in all places, let me be a follower of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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