Last year I wrote A Prayer for Students as they transitioned between major events in their lives. This year I have grappled with reposting that prayer, or writing another. As I read through that prayer, I realized that the circumstances this year are considerably different, and so a different prayer would be fruitful.
One of my favorite verses came to mind, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” As I prayed for dozens upon dozens of students by name, a continual theme of the rest of 1 Thessalonians came to mind, and I’ve structured this prayer closely to that Epistle, since Paul, Silas, and Timothy were praying and instructing people they were absent from. My prayer is for people who are scattered throughout several churches, throughout the country, and even throughout the world, some I'll see again, some not until Heaven, so I felt that this was a perfect endeavor.
Lord of Hosts, God of Ages, I give thanks to you for the exceeding joy of knowing your Son Jesus Christ and his glorious church of saints. I thank you that you have chosen a remnant out of every people and shown us who those people are by equipping them in faith, love, and hope in the work and person of your Son, it’s in his name that I approach your throne of grace to receive help for my fellow saints as they walk through this world.
Conviction in the Word
Strengthen these students in your Bible, let it not just be letters on a page to them, but bring it in power with full conviction of your Holy Spirit. Let them see it for what it is, not the words of men, but the very Word of God, which is at work in all believers. If any of these students have not yet been called into your kingdom, have not repented and placed their faith in the Resurrected Christ, then I ask you to call them into your kingdom and glory.
Father, give them boldness and wisdom to take the Word into every corner of their worlds. Give them the words to speak, the people to speak them to, and the boldness to speak them. May they stand as priests, prophets, and ambassadors of the Living Christ, walking worthy of this call and making disciples of all nations, beginning with their own neighbors.
Be growing these students to be worthy of imitation of all who see them, let them be examples in love and faithfulness. May they never come with words of flattery, or a pretext for greed, or seeking their own glory, but let them be affectionately desirous that everyone who knows them will glorify Christ on their behalf, first through conversion and then through life.
May you be motivating them towards good words and works, that they would be a burden to none. Especially towards the church may they prove to be holy, righteous, and blameless in all of their conduct.
May they prove to be the hope, joy, and crown of boasting for myself and all who have ministered to and among them, that at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ we may all be presented mature. May they have the joy of being able to say the same of their own disciples.
Father, appoint faithful ministers over these students, ministers that will with confidence be able to say, “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ,” let them stand firm on the Word and carry it outside of the camp. If they are content to sit within the walls of the church then Father chase them out. Let them supply what is lacking in these students’ faith.
Send your Comforter to calm my anxiety that the tempter will tempt these students and my labor will have been in vain. You promise that when your Spirit begins a good work in someone, he will see it to conclusion, and I pray that you will be doing just that for these students through your Spirit.
Send these students through the purifying fire, knowing that your Son has walked that path and promises to be with us until the end of the age. May they not be surprised when persecution comes, but let them welcome it as partaking with Christ in his suffering. Let them see the benefits of these afflictions, may they not be moved by them. May these persecutions open opportunities for them to abound in love for one another and for all, and establish their hearts blameless in holiness, eagerly awaiting the coming of Christ.
Father, what joy it is to know that your will for us is our sanctification. I pray that you would be progressing these students to be more and more like Christ every day. Father, keep them from sin, deliver them from temptation, especially concerning sexual immorality. They see daily the passions of lust which the world walks in, so I pray that they would learn from a young age how to control their bodies in holiness and honor.
Concerning these young men, that you would show them how to make a covenant with their eyes, that they would not look upon anything which they ought not, that they would be concerned with honor and wholesomeness in all of their interactions, and that they would exercise self control which will keep them, their future wives, and your Son from being ashamed.
Concerning these young ladies, Father, you have outdone yourself in giving them the gift of beauty. I ask for mine and their sake that you would blind the eyes of every boy in their schools towards them. Let these young ladies’ adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in your sight is very precious.
Father, set these students’ affections firmly on Heaven, let them know that whether they are alive or dead in the flesh, they have nothing to fear, for you have destined them for salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Fully clothe them in the faith, love, and hope that this produces, so that they will live as children of the light.
May they go into every situation knowing that you are a God who works all things for good to those who love you and are called according to your purpose. May this confidence motivate them to preach to every person they encounter, and edify them in the truth of your Sovereignty. May they forever know that free-will is a myth and that while we were slaves to sin, you called us into the freedom of your Son so that we are not destined for wrath.
The Good Fight
Let everything these students do be done in love, let them love their churches, and especially those who minister the truth over them. Let them see that these are not just their pastors, but their parents as well; let them honor them in everything they do. May their lives on this earth both be long and abounding in the fruit of the Spirit.
Let their love be one that strives for holiness, correcting those who are in sin. Grant them patience and an overabundance of charity. How true it is that bad company ruins good morals, so Father I ask you to surround these students with only those who are able to stir them up for good works through accountability and striving for holiness, or those who are open to listen, who are impressionable, and whom your Spirit will call to yourself through the good word and works of these students. Let these students never be content with lazy or impenitent acquaintances, but give them the boldness to confront sin in every manifestation.
Let them rejoice in the work you are doing in and around them. May they be frequent in prayer, giving thanks in all circumstances, knowing that Christ has prepared this path beforehand for them to walk. May they never quench the Spirit by hating godly preaching, but let them recognize bad preaching and reject it, holding only to that which aligns with your Word. Train their powers of discernment through constant practice to distinguish good from evil. In everything they do, may they be holding to the good, but hating and avoiding every form of evil.
God of peace, sanctify these students completely, may their whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of their Lord Jesus Christ. You are faithful, Father, I know you will surely do it.
You have loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, now comfort our hearts and establish them in every good work and word. Establish us and guard us against the evil one, direct our hearts to your love and to the steadfastness of Christ.
I ask all of these things in the name of our righteous and resurrected Redeemer, Jesus Christ, for his is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is his. He is exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from him, and he rules over all. In his hand is power and might, and in his hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. Amen.