We hope you find rich material for reflection in the third entry in our new series of prayers for academics in specific field areas, by Julie Reynolds. Our hope is that each prayer will encourage those in a particular subject area in the specificity of their daily work, while also giving those in other fields a glimpse into how their colleagues are glorifying God in different areas of inquiry. One consistent need we notice at ESN is a lack of readily available devotional and spiritual formation material addressed to the academic life. One of the best ways we’ve found to fill that need is to invite our talented members to write material and share it with each other. If you’re inspired by the series and want to contribute a prayer, you can submit a prayer for those in your field area and a short bio here. For others in the series, click here.
Our heavenly Father, creator of the universe, proteins, nucleic acids, and RNases.
We come to you with repentant and contrite hearts to ask for forgiveness for our behavior when our experiments go badly.
For not controlling our anger when the HPLC, LC-MS, or qPCR machines, which we rely on to give us the results we seek, fail for any of a hundred different reasons.
For weeping with despair when our results are hard to explain or do not meet our expectations.
For not turning to you in our panic and distress when freezers or incubators fail and jeopardize our samples and, sometimes years, of work.
For putting our worth in the quality of the results and the number of our publications.
For our jealousy when our coworkers’ experiments are more successful and their results more impressive than ours.
You created miraculously complex and wonderful proteins and allowed us to discover Western blots and other methods for detecting them and measuring their abundance. Yet, we weep with despair when these methods don’t work as anticipated.
You created a vast diversity of animals and plants, yet we allow ourselves to become frustrated because so much of what we understand about just a few model organisms doesn’t apply to the animals we have chosen to study.
Forgive us for these sins, we pray. Be with us in all of our strivings to understand how bodies work at their most fundamental level. Give us resilience and energy to run the research race with endurance so that we may grow closer to you though our understanding of the living world. And remind us of the love and awe we have for the world you created and have given us stewardship of.
About the author:
Dr. Julie A. Reynolds is a Research Scientist at The Ohio State University in the department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology. She studies insect physiology and biochemistry with the goal of learning how animals adapt to extreme environments and survive changes in climate. In addition to writing for the Emerging Scholars Network, she is actively engages in discussions about science and faith as a Sinai and Synapses Fellow.