It’s that time of year. School is starting back up and if you, like me, have college students, they’re preparing to return to campus.
Now that one of our daughters is a senior and the other’s a sophomore, I feel like the process goes fairly smoothly. They’ve registered their vehicles for on-campus parking and finalized their class schedules this week. I was out shopping with our younger daughter yesterday and she picked up a few new decorations for her dorm room.
Thankfully they’ve still got two weeks left before they head down to Florida, so we’re squeezing in a bit more time together. I’ll miss them greatly when they leave, but I’m excited about what they’ll be learning and how they’ll be growing in the coming semester.
As I continue my reading through the New Testament this week, I came across this prayer of Paul’s in Colossians 1:9-12.
“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:“
I thought this would be a great pattern to follow as we pray for our college students this semester. Here are six examples from that passage to guide us in praying for our young adults.
Pray that they will…
1. …fully know God’s will and have wisdom and spiritual understanding.
“be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” [verse 9]
What a blessing it is for any of us to have this prayer answered in our lives! Right now our young people are making a number of decisions that will affect their future. How important it is for them to know God’s will and have wisdom.
And just like Paul, we’d desire that they have spiritual understanding, May they see beyond the current temptations to sin or the pull to focus on the here-and-now. Rather, they need discernment to grasp the spiritual and long-term implications of their decisions.
2. …live to please God and walk according to His Word.
“walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing” [verse 10]
If the desire of their heart is to please God, they’re going to be okay. None of us are perfect. They may mess up or lose their focus at times as they navigate college life. But if they are grounded in God’s Word and want to please Him, He will guide them back into relationship with Him.
3. …glorify God and evidence the fruit of the spirit in all that they do.
“be fruitful in every good work” [verse 10]
Let’s pray that our children’s relationships, activities, words, and thoughts will bring glory to God. They’ll interact with a number of people on a daily basis and have opportunities to show kindness, patience, and humility to others.
4. …grow in their knowledge of God.
“increasing in the knowledge of God” [verse 10]
May our college kids make the time to read their Bible and pray. They can grow spiritually as they meditate on God’s Word. And perhaps in a way like never before, they can experience God and His work in their lives as they mature in their faith. Which leads us to the next prayer…
5. …rely on God’s strength to endure trials patiently and with joy.
“strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” [verse 11]
There will be trials this semester. It may be in a relationship, a difficult class, or a physical or financial need. Parents may be far away, but God is always near. Let’s pray that they’ll lean into Him like never before. We know that as they do, God is faithful and will bring them through.
6. …have a grateful heart
“Giving thanks unto the Father” [verse 12]
No room for entitlement here. Their perspective on everything will be much better if they start each day with a spirit of thankfulness.
As I come to the end of this list, I realize how much I need to pray these prayers not only for my college students but for myself!