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Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Prayer for Southern Wesleyan University

May the words of this blog, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord.

On this, the day of the December graduation at Southern Wesleyan University, I offer a prayer to you on behalf of SWU and the people who make it a living institution, students, alumni, employees, and constituency. I am three time zones away, but You are not.

Thank You, Lord, for what You are. You are so good, so wise, so loving. You made heaven and earth. You made air, water, sweet gum trees, poinsettias, DNA, and galaxies. You deserve all our praise.

I confess that I was not always what I should have been, in the years you gave me at SWU. Sometimes I wasn't prayed up, sometimes I lost focus, sometimes I said, or did, things I shouldn't have done. Forgive, please. I didn't always know my subject matter as well as I should have, or present it as clearly as I should have. Forgive, please. Cover all my mistakes, my sins, my human failings, and my omissions, with Yourself.

I thank You for Paul Wood, the speaker for today's graduation. Thank you for his influence on my own decision to join the faculty at SWU, for his godly, courageous and principled stands on many issues affecting the institution and its people over the years, especially his influence on the racial integration of the institution, over 40 years ago now.

I thank You that You have preserved SWU for a century, from the prayer meeting out in an open field back then, until now. You have provided our needs: finances, employees, students, leadership, approval by various bodies, and Your presence, always, but, from time to time, perceptible, in class, in chapel, and in various other ways and places.

I thank You for the graduates in my own area of specialty, especially those graduating today, and those who graduated in May of this year.

I thank you for my wife, whom I met at SWU, and the children you have given us.

Guide my two advisees, who are supposed to graduate today, into all the ways that they should go. One wants to be a physical therapist, one a veterinarian. If it is your will, may both of them achieve this. May they also find a life's companion of Your choosing, and places to serve you, and may they want to serve You more than anything.

I also pray especially for another graduate, not in my area, who was especially good to me. She nominated me for teacher of the year, and came by to thank me when she heard that I was to retire. May she find employment in the difficult area of service that she has chosen, elementary education, and may she serve You there. Bless her and her husband on this day. Bless also those like her, most of them working full-time and going to school at night, not to become wealthy, but to serve in the public and private schools.

I also pray for the graduates from May in my areas of specialization. At least two of them are now working for SWU. One is in seminary, one is a webmaster for a local company, one is working at another Christian institution, one is preparing to enter medical school, one is working in biological research, and I'm not sure what's happened to the rest. Most likely, some, perhaps including those referred to above, are still seeking a position. All of them need guidance in all sorts of ways. All of them need Your presence in their lives.

Be especially near to Keith Iddings and Walt Sinnamon, who have academic leadership roles, and Jerry Cade. Samantha Wilson and Sara Christensen, Jim Schmutz, and others on the Student Life Council. Also guide my colleagues in the sciences. May they be what they should be. There are other employees, secretaries, janitors, administrators, coaches, faculty, librarians, IT personnel, workers in development and alumni, and others, who are just as important. You know their needs. Meet them, please. There has been a lot of change in academic programs, especially, over the last few months, and a lot of change in leadership in that area, with, I believe, more changes coming soon. None of this is a surprise to You! Guide through all these changes. May the people, whether leaving, coming in new, or staying, and the institution, be what You want them to be.

There are graduates who have worked hard to graduate. Reward them for their efforts. No doubt there are some who should have worked harder. Encourage them to do better.

Above all, may all the graduates, alumni, and employees serve you, and grant that all of us may be where you are, when SWU, and other earthly institutions, are no more.

There are other institutions, and other people, not fortunate enough to be associated with Christian institutions of higher education, just as deserving of your blessings. Bless them, too.

In my Saviour's Name, Amen.


Mufana said...

I thank you for this prayer and for including me in it. Thank you for you many prayers for you students over the many years that you taught at SWU. Thank you for the prayers you have said for my sake. Thank you for the continued prayers over hopefully many more years to come. Please pray for me and my wife as we have some difficult decisions in the near future. She had a job interview last Friday; please pray for her in this process of trying to find a position. She is also taking her boards in Jan and is very nervous because she feels that she is not currently able to adequately prepare while she works her current jobs outside of the medical field.

I have always admired you, Dr. LaBar. You have been an example of intelligence, curiosity, faithfulness, patience, prayerfulnes, practicality, and humility. You have taught me not to think to highly of myself, not to believe that I know and understand everything, to seek the other point of view, and to continually STUDY the Word. Thank you for your contributions in my life.

J. Potts said...

Your prayers have always been blessings to me. Thank you.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks to both of you. Your prayers mean a lot to me, too.