We continue our series of prayers for field areas today. 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. 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.
The earth is a marvel, Lord. Sky and sea, forest, and breeze; the flowing streams and the whirling wings all sing your praise. And so, we do.
We give you thanks at the rising of the sun. Give us strength for the day that lies ahead. Of course, we know that this “rising of the sun” hides another reality. The earth is in constant motion, but we never feel it. Teach us the deeper mystery of creation. Remind us that there is always more to the story than what appears. Thank you for the sustaining power that this daily cycle elides.
Our gaze ranges from the ground up and we see order and chaos, and looking deeper, order again and then chaos endlessly chasing one another. We wonder at your power, sustaining us moment by moment in this place. Everywhere we look is another mystery, another marvel. “How does it work?” we wonder. We study hard and it is a joy to catch a glimpse of your plan. Thank you, Lord, for sound minds and the rich work of discovery that we are blessed to pursue.
Give us grace Lord to recognize our ignorance. Amid the thrill of discovery temper our passions and protect us from the temptation to control, to exploit and so destroy the beauty your world reveals. Let our attitude be that of Job as we join him in saying, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”
We are grieved, Lord, by the hurts that come on the earth. Even more grievous are the hurts we inflict on our fellow humans. These are persistent, intergenerational, and deeply structural. Moses set before us “life and prosperity, death and destruction.” Help us choose life. As we pursue our vocational calling to study, understand and manage the complexities of earth systems, encourage us that this is not too difficult for us, or beyond our reach. Thank you for the insight that when we care for the earth, we care for each other.
Teach us to number our days. Show us the beauty of simplicity and complexity that surround us daily. Help us in using our insights to serve each other, to care for the creation, and as we love one another, to show to everyone how much you love us all.
John is Emeritus Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at The King’s University in Edmonton. He is currently the President of the American Scientific Affiliation and the interim Executive Director. His PhD from the University of California, Berkeley is in Stream Ecology and Insect Behaviour. He and his students have done population and behavioral research on urban White-tailed Jackrabbits. His current writing is on the ecological and theological understanding of physical death. He and psychologist Dr. Heather Looy have explored global food security and our cultural blind spot toward accepting food insects – one aspect of Western exceptionalism. His professional service includes developing and reviewing undergraduate environmental science programs as a reviewer for ECO Canada. John is also the past Academic Dean of the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies.