Father in heaven, Lord of hosts, God of Israel: you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are the God, you alone, who made these students and gave them to us for a season. We pray for them today in the same way as King Hezekiah prayed for his people two thousand seven hundred years ago. When the Assyrian armies of Sennacharib came against Jerusalem, their spokesmen were not content to threaten your people; they mocked your very name and declared you powerless. They made a bold and blasphemous speech, wrote it down in an obscene and scatological letter, announcing that the downfall of Jerusalem would prove that you, the God of Israel, were a figment of the pious imagination.
King Hezekiah, son of David, did not argue with them. He did not try to refute the Assyrians or cheer up the Israelites. Instead he came to you, and Isaiah (37:14) says he “spread the letter before the LORD.” The threatening message was too much for him. He didn’t hit reply, he hit forward. The care of Jerusalem was not Hezekiah’s problem, but yours. So Hezekiah spread out the letter in front of you and said, “Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God.”
Father, as parents and professors we bring these students to you today and display them before you. Their upbringing and their education has been our responsibility for these years, and we have loved raising them and we have loved teaching them. But their souls and their futures are too much for us. So we spread them before you and admit that they are too much for us. They are not our problem. These seniors are your problem. Take care of them. Make them know your nearness and your forgiveness. We put them in front of you and ask, “Have you seen them? Do you know what they’ve accomplished? Do you see how many books they’ve read, how many pages they’ve written, how many conversations they’ve kept going?”
And Father, we also ask, have you seen what the world wants to do to them? Are you watching the trend of the culture, the way of the world we are sending them into? Have you seen the leading economic indicators? Have you seen the job market? Have you seen the divorce rate? Have you heard the harsh words and felt the tension in their families and their friends’ families? Have you seen how Satan wants to sift them, to steal their faith, to kill their hope, and destroy their love? Have you seen how their downfall would cause your name to be blasphemed among the nations, and their backsliding would hide your own glory from the world that watches them?
Yes you have. Like Hezekiah, we know you are fully informed about the past, present, and future of everything that worries us, and everything that makes us rejoice. All we are doing is bringing them before you, spreading them out in your presence, and confessing that they are your problem, not ours.
Save them! Save them from prayerlessness, loneliness, purposelessness, filthiness, from worldliness, from unworldliness, from always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth. They are your glory, not ours; they are your projects, your disciples, your students. Hallowed be your name in their lives, may your will be done in their lives, as it is in heaven.