The Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) is a long-haul endeavor that depends on God’s gracious guidance and providence. In other words, it’s the perfect subject of serious prayer.
Some ESN members — including the national leadership team — have covenanted with one another to pray regularly for God’s purposes to be realized for the Network. We hope, too, that more and more local campus gatherings of ESN members may begin this academic year to meet one another and make prayer a central part of their community.
To that end, we offer here a seven-part cycle of prayers and Scripture readings as one resource for your personal and corporate life of prayer.
Some notes about the use of this cycle of prayer:
The division into seven sections suggests a weekly cycle of use, so feel free to use them daily. But the cycle can also be used in other ways (to structure the calendar for a weekly campus prayer meeting, for instance).
Scripture readings and a more formal written prayer are included as suitable for public or private use. They are intended as models to guide our prayer and structure corporate prayer. Certainly, they should not be viewed as any limitation on your normal prayer practices, nor are they offered to set up a legalistic requirement.
Most of the prayers written here are adapted from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. No effort has been made to update linguistic usage, nor is any claim made for the superiority of the language of this resource. Translate freely into your own idiom. Certainly other devotional resources are equally useful and should be drawn upon.
1. Seek the Lord for the peace of the university; the flourishing, wholeness, justice, harmony, truth, and leadership of higher education; and the particular campuses and issues of immediate concern to us.
1 Timothy 2:1-6
A Collect for Schools, Colleges, and Universities
Almighty God, we beseech thee, with thy gracious favour to behold our universities, colleges, and schools, that knowledge may be increased among us, and all good learning flourish and abound. Bless all who teach and all who learn; and grant that in humility of heart they may ever look unto thee, who art the fountain of all wisdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
2. Ask the Lord to renew the truth of vocation among his people in the academy, helping us to see its foundational place in the life of discipleship to the Lord Jesus, renewing the calling of those who are flagging in zeal for the Lord’s purpose for their lives, making his particular calling clear to each Christian student and faculty member, and calling many into the academy.
1 Corinthians 7:17-24
A Collect for Vocation
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who declarest thy glory and showest forth thy handiwork in the heavens and the earth: Deliver us, we beseech thee, in our several callings, from the service of mammon, that we may do the work which thou hast given us to do, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as thy servants, and to the benefit of our fellow mortals; for the sake of him who came among us as one who serveth, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
3. Ask the Lord to provide and assemble all the needed resources of people, ideas, relationships, institutions and organizations, and funds to accomplish the goals of ESN. Our long-term goals include:
Twenty percent of the total membership of each division of the academy are members of ESN.
A body of Christian scholarship will exist within each academic discipline of such quality that it is required reading and reflection for all scholars, even when they dissent from its informing Christian foundations.
All ESN members will have a biblically formed understanding of vocation and the resources at every stage of their professional development to realize their own vocation within the university.
ESN members will be present throughout the structures of service, administration, and leadership in higher education, serving the peace of the university.
ESN will contribute to the social diversity of the academy and serve the quest for justice with the academy, overcoming the historic legacy of underrepresentation due to social class, gender, and ethnicity with the academic world.
Psalm 127:1-5 and Psalm 145:1-21
A Collect for the Ministry of the Emerging Scholars Network:
Sovereign God, whose plan it is to redeem, renew, and unite all things in your Son, we ask you to work in the ministry of ESN to accomplish this gracious purpose. By the power of your Holy Spirit raise up men and women to be a blessing to the academy, working in them to be a light of gospel truth, beauty, righteousness, and grace in every aspect of academic life to the praise of your great name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
4. Seek the power and faithfulness of the Lord to overcome the durable spiritual challenges and barriers we face in accomplishing the goals of ESN. Pray about the following challenges and barriers to our work:
- Overcoming privatized, and therefore self-censored and silenced, faith.
- Overcoming individualism, and therefore the isolation from Christian community in our vocations in the academy.
- Overcoming a culture focused on novelty, therefore creating the fidelity we need to carry on a thirty-year effort.
- Overcoming the loss of the concept of vocation among those who follow Christ, therefore renewing this concept as basic to our discipleship to the Lord Jesus.
- Overcoming the racism, ideological captivity, and culture of suspicion all too characteristic of the university, therefore demonstrating a Christian life of justice and peace within the academy.
A Collect for Those Who Would Overcome in the Academy
Almighty Father, whose creative power made the worlds and raised our Lord Jesus from the dead, and is at work in the lives of your redeemed people, work in might through ESN to overcome our weaknesses, ignorance, and sin. In particular, we implore you to make us faithful for the full thirty years of our ESN vision and beyond, toward the consummation of the kingdom of your sovereign love through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
5. Intercede for the concerns of our immediate circle and circumstances, focusing on the ministry of ESN on the campus to which we have been called. Reflect on the five goals of ESN and five challenges and barriers that are identified above and seek the Lord for the ways they are a reality in your local ministry and among your circle of friends and co-workers.
[Choose readings from the Bible suited to your local situation.]
A Collect for Our Local ESN Ministry
[Write a prayer you could repeatedly offer to the Lord in your local situation.]
6. Give thanks to the Lord for his goodness. Think about the ways he has answered your prayers for the peace of the university, for the goals of ESN, for the strength to overcome challenges and barriers, and for the development of ESN in your campus community. Give him thanks so that he receives all the glory.
A General Prayer of Thanksgiving
O Lord, we offer unfeigned thanks for all thy mercies; for our being, our reason, and all other endowments and faculties of soul and body; for our health, friends, food and raiment, and all other comforts and conveniences of life. Above all, we adore thy mercy in sending thy only Son into the world, to redeem us from sin and eternal death, and in giving us the knowledge and sense of our duty toward thee. We bless thee for thy patience with us, notwithstanding our many and great provocations; for all the directions, assistances, and comforts of thy Holy Spirit; for thy continual care and watchful providence over us through the whole course of our lives; and particularly for the mercies and benefits of the past day. We thank thee for the progress of thy word and truth in our universities and for thy blessings on the ministry of ESN, beseeching thee to continue these thy blessings to us, and to give us grace to show our thankfulness in a sincere obedience to his laws, through whose merits and intercession we received them all, thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
7. Sabbath celebrates the foundation of faith and rest in the grace of our God. Enter into this rest consciously to find renewal for the work of our vocations.
Mark 2:23 – 3:6
Hebrews 3:7 – 4:13
A Prayer for God’s Rest and Peace
O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, and in quietness and confidence shall be our strength; by the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.