First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions –1 Timothy 2:1-2a
It is my humble opinion that seminary professors would qualify as those “who are in high positions.” I believe this in part because they are responsible for training an extremely high percentage of the future leadership of the SBC as well as many of the future and current pastors responsible for their respective congregations.
Paul commands Timothy to pray not only for all people, but specifically for “kings and all who are in high positions.” Therefore, it would seem to follow that we are commanded to pray for our professors. Not only are we to lift up spontaneous prayers (as we do for most things) but I believe we are to pray meditatively and intentionally for our professors. We are to make supplications (an entreaty addressed to God), prayers, intercessions (according to W. E. Vine, this implies a conversation) and thanksgivings (denotes gratitude and the giving of thanks for the person or persons). This would entail an intentional act of prayer more than what we are able to do with spontaneous prayer.
Commit To Pray
- Download the covenant to pray for a professor here.
- Leave a comment below to share your committment.
Back in March 2008, I wrote in my diary about “adopting a seminary professor.” I can recall having a conversation with one of the professors on campus and looking in his eyes and seeing how exhausted he looked. I have started to notice just how drained the professors look at the end of each semester. I believe we all too often take for granted how much work our professors put into each class period let alone each semester.
Another incident took place a few days after my original post previously mentioned. I asked another of my professors if there was anything in which I could pray for him. As we walked back to his office, he shared some prayer requests for him and his wife. I prayed with him in his office, and as I was leaving, he told me that he had never had a student ask him that except for once or twice in a shepherding group. I was amazed to hear him say that, but as I talked with other professors, I found this to be more common than what I first thought.
I am asking for anyone who is moved by God to join together in praying for our professors. In order to “organize” this in some manner, I figure we could begin with the professors we have for the current semester and choose to pray for one, two, or all of them on a regular basis. For example, let’s say I have Dr. Whitney, Dr. Allison, and Dr. Parker for classes this semester. I could choose to pray for all three on a regular basis or concentrate on perhaps Dr. Allison for the semester.
I would pray about it before jumping in feet first and see who God wants you praying for during the semester. At the very least, I would be intentionally praying for one of my professors. In this way, I believe that all of the professors on campus would have someone praying for them each semester and hopefully throughout the year.
While I have assumed to this point that Dr. Mohler is to be prayed for; after all, he is the president of our seminary, I want to be explicit that the student body should be praying for him in addition to the professor(s) in which they are praying for during the semester. Also, in no way am I wanting to limit prayers to only your current professors. This is only a starting point. If God should so move you to pray for other professors or past professors or even staff members (think secretaries) then by all means do so!
I have produced a downloadable flier that can be printed off and handed out to friends and classmates. My goal with this flier is to add a measure of accountability for the student and encouragement to our professors.
The way this will work is the student will download the flier, fill it out, and then sign it. After signing the “Professor Copy” side, the student can then cut off that portion of the flier and drop it off in the faculty secretary’s office in Norton 114. There will be a box where these can be placed. Twice a week, these will be picked up and delivered to the respective professors.
It is important that we do this in this manner so as to not inundate the professors with a bunch of slips of paper. If we did that, we would not only run the risk of having the professor lose them, but we would run the risk of unintentionally creating a burden for the professor. However, if we do it this way, we will be more of an encouragement for the professor in that he will know that he has “X” number of students praying specifically for him and will not have to take care of the paperwork himself.
Obviously, you do not need to fill out this sheet of paper to pray for your professor. I am only recommending it for the reasons stated above.
How to Pray
There are many ways in which you can intentionally pray for your professor. One way is to simply ask him after class how you can pray for him. You could fast on a particular day for your professor. Perhaps you could catch him in his office and pray over him or do so after class with others–you could surround him with prayer on this day. Another thing I am prayerfully working on is to set aside one day each semester where we reserve Dillard Chapel for the entire day and allow for students to come in and pray for the seminary as well as their professor all throughout the day.
Something else that might be a nice addition is to maybe send an email (not expecting a response) letting the professor know that God moved you to pray a specific way for him. Perhaps just an email of encouragement reminding him that you are praying for him would suffice. At the end of the day, our professors are just as much sinners saved by grace as the rest of us. They have families (and family problems) and deadlines (we call them papers they call them books and articles) to meet as well as a whole host of other problems that we encounter ourselves on a daily basis. Many of them are pastors or have ministries outside of the classroom that are also pulling them in other directions. Knowing that they have someone praying specifically for them will both strengthen and encourage them in their day. These men pour their lives into their students. I think we could give back in the form of prayer.
One final element to this that I would ask, is that you would consider “signing up” in the comment section. This would enable others and myself to pray for those who are praying for the professors. It is my prayer that this does not remain a Southern Seminary adventure. I would love to see all of our seminaries in the SBC adopt this as well as those across denominational boundaries.
If you do choose to sign up, please give at least your first name and last initial (whole name if you want) and which seminary/college you are attending. I hope to set up a forum of sorts for testimonies as to how God is working through this if He so chooses.