By Carmen Joy Imes

An End of Semester Prayer

Just like that, it’s over — the frenzy, the stacks of assignments, end-of-year parties, exams, graduation robes, and faculty meetings. Busy sidewalks empty of students and the hallways no longer echo with their voices. Whether you’re joyful about the change of pace or too exhausted to care, here is a prayer to usher in a season of replenishing and retooling.

Lord, here I stand at the end of another term.

I have poured into my students — ideas, questions, caring, comments, time.

Now I entrust them to you.

Take what I have taught them and separate wheat from chaff. Blow away what I said that was empty or worthless. Help them to treasure the truth. May it nourish them in days ahead as they move into new contexts.

Take what I have modeled for them. Help them to discern the value of what they have seen in my life. May my godly example live on in them and may my selfishness and worldliness be seen for what it is and left aside.

Help my students thrive. May they humbly put into practice what they’ve learned and make the world a better place.

As I read course evaluations and think about how to pursue excellence as a teacher, keep my soul steady. Thank you that my worth does not depend on what others say but rather on what you say. Grant me the humility to accept the kernel of criticism I need to hear and release the rest as chaff to the wind.

I entrust these coming days to you. Help me to prioritize the assignments you have given me and find joy in them. Give me the discipline to leave aside distractions and engage what I am called to accomplish.

Give me the strength to pursue excellence on behalf of my institution as I have pursued excellence in the classroom. For committee meetings and assessments and curriculum revisions and accreditation tasks, grant the grace of focus and clarity.

As I pursue the other aspects of my academic calling – research, writing, speaking, planning – let me do so under the inspiration of your Spirit and with the one aim of bringing honor to your name.

Teach me to worship you with my free time as I worship you with my work. Let me embrace your rest without guilt or fear. Restore my creativity, vision, and passion so that I can serve wholeheartedly the next group of students you bring me.

Thank you for the privilege of teaching. May I be found faithful.




About the Author

Carmen Joy Imes (PhD, Wheaton) is associate professor of Old Testament at Biola University. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, she is the author of Bearing YHWH's Name at Sinai, Bearing God's Name: Why Sinai Still Matters, Being God's Image: Why Creation Still Matters, and the editor of Praying the Psalms with Augustine and Friends.

Imes has written for a variety of websites, including Christianity Today, The Well, and the Politics of Scripture blog. She is a fellow of Every Voice, a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, the Institute for Biblical Research, and the Society of Biblical Literature. Imes and her husband, Daniel, have followed God's call around the globe together for over 25 years.

Read Carmen's article on being God's image as a woman in the academy and the church.

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