We appear to be emerging from the pandemic. But we are still living with its effects on our lives and work and plenty of uncertainty about our future. We are grateful to Rebecca Gerdes for sharing this prayer for us. We hope this prayer might be a helpful guide to prayer for grad students and communities and those who pray for them.
Father, we lift up graduate students during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Please meet our basic needs. Protect our physical and mental health and that of our loved ones. Bring healing and comfort in grief where we need it.
Provide for those facing hardship. We lift up any who may be disproportionately affected by this crisis, including women, communities of color, the LGBTQ community, the disabled community, students with children, first-generation students, international students, and anyone else facing challenges in grad school. Protect them and provide compassionate professors and administrators.
Grant those pursuing coursework focus and discipline. Grant them agile minds on homework, reading, and exams, and perseverance and insight in papers or projects. Provide any extensions or considerations they need.
Give stamina to instructors and teaching assistants as they conduct their work and support their students. Grant them extra mercy with various learning formats and restoring times of rest.
Help those undertaking milestone exams or dissertation/thesis defenses to prepare well and not be afraid or anxious. Protect them from any unforeseen obstacles during their exams. May they receive favor and a full reward.
Grant wisdom and patience to students whose research has been disrupted during this time. Help us and our advisors as we put together creative and realistic contingency plans and prosper our work in new ways. Protect the health of grad students who are essential workers or are doing essential research.
Give incoming grad students patience and wisdom as they wait for direction about the next year. Meet all their needs in getting visas, finding housing, moving, and settling in.
Grant wisdom and compassion to those in positions of authority over graduate students. May they safeguard funding, health insurance, childcare, and other needs, and may graduate students’ labor and contributions to the university receive due respect. May decisions reflect justice and mercy for all members of the graduate community.
Give those graduating opportunities, creativity, and communities with which to celebrate their achievements despite the varied forms graduations are taking. Meet the needs of those graduating without jobs and all who are wondering where there will be jobs when we graduate. Open doors and grant strength to prayerfully trust You. Direct our attention to those activities that will best prepare us for where you are leading us.
And, Lord, grant us community and support during this time. Help us make time for friends, family, colleagues, the body of Christ, and You. Grant us creativity in connecting. Work through us to strengthen our communities.
In the face of uncertainty, teach us to return to your promises. Do not allow us more than we can handle but give us a way to stand up under it (1 Cor 10:13). Give us the strength to look for You and find You, to mourn with You and rejoice in You, to wake up and go to sleep knowing we are Your beloved children, entrusted with the unique duty of seeking and stewarding knowledge for the good of Your world. May we continue to do so in Your strength. Amen.
Rebecca Gerdes is a PhD candidate in Classical Archaeology in the Department of Classics at Cornell University. Her dissertation research focuses on what she fondly refers to as “washing ancient dirty dishes” – developing better chemistry methods to recover and interpret the molecular traces of food in pottery to reconstruct ancient Mediterranean food practices. She has served in and been a member of InterVarsity and IFES fellowships since undergrad.