By Carmen Joy Imes

A Professor’s Prayer

Last week the campus lay dormant, mounds of snow lining empty sidewalks. Quiet buildings stood ready, expectant. So did my heart. This week all is abuzz as students return from break and embrace in happy reunions. Classes begin with characteristic rigor. Last semester I was new here and my head swirled with names and syllabi and schedules and handbooks. This semester I welcome familiar faces with a settled heart. The inner calm permits more deliberate reflection on my role as professor and my investment in this community. Perhaps my prayer for this new term may become your prayer as well.

A Professor's Prayer

God in heaven,

Thank you for the privilege of being a teacher.
Thank you for these students you’ve entrusted to me this semester.
Thank you for this institution where I can serve.
Thank you for your guiding presence as I fulfill my vocation.

Grant me wisdom to manage my time well so that I can stand before my classes prepared.
Grant me the grace to let go of misplaced guilt for what I cannot be or do.
Grant me discerning eyes,
           that I may see my students as you see them
           and that I may love them as you love
           that I may anticipate potential mental blocks
           that I may discover the key to unlock their desire to learn
Let me not get in the way.

Melt their resistance to what is good and right and true.
Melt their fear of failure.
Melt their overweening pride.
Melt the distractions that vie for their attention.

As I interact with students, may I inspire them to know you more deeply.
As I critique their work, may I do so with grace and love.
As I offer guidance, may I listen well to the leading of your Spirit.
As I present new concepts, may I do so with clarity.

Let me discover anew the joy of learning, and let my joy be contagious.
Let me be the first to surrender my ill-formed opinions to the light of your presence
         where they may be transformed by truth.
Let my indifference to structures of injustice in my institution and in my classroom be shattered.
Let my blind spots be exposed so that I do not mislead others.

May my institution be stronger because I am here.
May I build up my colleagues rather than exalting myself.
May I be willing to serve without recognition.
May you receive all the glory.

In Jesus name,



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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