Spiritual Formation

For All the Freshmen

They arrived today.

With their baskets of bedding and their neat stacks of notebooks and their brand new jeans. They came to our campus with their snarled up stomachs and their wide wet eyes and all of their hopes and dreams.

They arrived with their siblings and parents and friends, who filled up their fridges and helped settle their stuff. Who gave lingering hugs and some last words of advice and finally waved goodbye.

I watched them come. For the eighteenth time. And I am always moved by the sight of them. Moved with gratitude at what God has done. Moved with excitement over what He will do. Moved with a certain measure of awe.

On the sidewalk I greeted a few of them today with a handshake, a smile, and “you are welcome here.”

On Monday morning I will meet many more. I will show them a syllabus and learn their names and begin my specific task of helping them read, think, and write.

But knowing what I know—that these next four years will be full of all manner of things—I feel compelled tonight, before I turn out this light, to offer a simple prayer…

El Shaddai,

Walk with them. Reveal Yourself—in ways old and new. Please be near.

Fuel their passions. Strengthen their resolve. Fill their hearts with peace and love.

When loneliness comes, be their Friend.

When fear overwhelms, be their Rock.

When the path seems hidden, be their Light.

When they are broken, heal their hurts.

When they doubt their calling, be their ever Burning Bush.

When they doubt You, show up big.

May they fall in love with learning.

May they discover new gifts.

May they steward well their money, their talents, their time.

May they discern Your truth and cling to it. Tight.

I pray for a church home where they can find community and be fed.

I pray for a mentor who will challenge them and cheer them on.

I pray for some life-long, life-giving friends.

Build into their being tenacity and resilience,

Patience and compassion,

Boldness and gentleness,

And a deep dependence on You.

When they trip and fall, or when they run headlong in the wrong way, be their Father. Pursue them relentlessly. Pierce their soul. Lift them up. Dust them off. And bring them back.

You are God.

They are Yours. Not ours.

We commit to serving You and them, to the best of our ability and by Your grace alone.

We lay this year on the altar. Do with it as You will.


Freshman, what are you praying for this year?

Parents, what do you pray for your freshmen?

0 thoughts on “For All the Freshmen

  1. Sitting in Torrey-Grey Auditorium for the first time in the dedication service yesterday, I thought about how marvelously God has provided a way for my wife and I to get to Moody. We were across the world when we applied, without payed jobs, living out a chapter of our lives, when God put on our hearts to come. He made a way, gave us a home, got us the money we needed, and led me here.

    Looking at the young men and women around me, much more qualified than I am to be here, I was humbled to realize that God didn’t just do that for me. He did it for a lot of people to get here! Praise God!

    1. Welcome, Gregory! What a blessing to hear just a tiny bit of your testimony. You’re exactly right. When I say that I am filled with awe, that is my main thought. How amazing that God brought each student here–the mountains He moved to make it so! Have a wonderful first semester!

  2. Just read this to my daughter, who I mentioned on Facebook is in the online program this year. She felt immensely blessed by your prayer and is sharing the post with her distance learning group. She is probably focusing on Communications, and hopes to have you in class someday. Thanks so very much!

    1. Oh, I’m so glad, Amanda. I actually led one orientation session on study skills for the FYOP students. I assume your daughter was there? I’m excited to hear that she is likely to pursue communications! Yay! Can’t wait to have her in class.

  3. Praising God that our daughter has the opportunity to do life and ministry training at Moody…with professors and staff that pray and love and stir and steer like you do. You put words to what my heart longs for as she begins this next season at MBI. As i was not one of the parents moving a child in on Wednesday (i am currently in Alaska awaiting the arrival of number one grandson with our oldest daughter) your post reflections and prayer were especially meaningful. Praying (in tears) alongside you as you begin this adventure together. For His glory alone.
    p.s. I texted my daughter “doing good.?
    And she replied “absolutely! Why wouldn’t I be? It’s awesome!”
    Thank You God

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