By Carmen Joy Imes

A Prayer for Academic and Professional Conferences

Academic and professional conferences come with their own set of spiritual challenges. I offer this prayer as a way of preparing our hearts and minds to engage this part of our work with integrity and wisdom.

Lord of every sphere of thought and human endeavor,

Thank you for the gift of being here — for the resources you have provided to make it possible for me to attend this conference and the opportunities I will have here to learn, to network, and to contribute.

I commit this day to you. Grant me energy to make the most of this moment and clarity of thought to learn what will help me carry out my calling with skill.

Help me to choose wisely between the myriads of options available to me — papers, seminars, conversations, exhibits, work, play, rest. May I discern what is best and let go of what is not.

Help me to be attentive to the work of your Spirit and obedient to your promptings. Grant me courage to reach out and to speak up as well as commitment to listen well and love well.

Help me to stay grounded today — worshipping only you and believing only what you say is true about me. Banish the twin lies: that I am most important or that I am nothing.

As I interact with others, help me to appreciate their strengths and see clearly where they have erred. As I ponder their proposals, let me never mistake eloquence for accuracy or monotony for irrelevance. Let my disagreements be marked by charity and my approval never fueled by flattery or posturing.

Grant me sober judgement, sound reasoning, and clarity of expression. Let me love the truth more than I love what I have thought or said or written. May I respond to reasonable criticism with humility and to unreasonable criticism with steady confidence. Grant me discernment to know which is required.

Help me to be a friend to others today — celebrating their accomplishments and mourning their setbacks. May our conversations be seasoned with grace.

Above all, may I bring you glory today as I bear your name in the academy and among all those whose talents and energies make this conference possible.

In the name of Jesus, my teacher,


About the Author

Carmen is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Biola University. Her husband Daniel gave up his job in mission finance to focus on their three kids and keep the household running smoothly so that Carmen can teach, speak, and write. Carmen and Daniel have been blazing new trails together since 1998, with twelve (er... make that thirteen!) address changes to prove it. They enjoy camping and playing pickleball as a family.

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