A prayer for graduates

Here’s a prayer for graduates from Steve Fry’s The Radical Middle blog.

Prayer for Graduates

In Psalm 127 we are told that the young are like arrows in the hands of a warrior. The OT records the story of an ancient king who was summoned by a prophet to shoot an arrow. He did so, and that arrow was called the arrow of the Lord’s Victory.

Before us today, Lord, are arrows of Your Victory. These are young men and women you have formed and gifted for such an hour as this.

For though these are days like the prophet Isaiah described – days of uncertainty, when thick darkness covers the people – we also know that they are days of incredible opportunity.

May each one of these men and women fly as an arrow of truth to a society often muddled about right and wrong; as an arrow of compassion to the unloved and unwanted; as an arrow of light pointing to a day when the Lord Jesus will reign over the earth.

I pray that they would know the ‘hope of their calling’ and, like Timothy, stir up the gift within them. That when in the course of things they are tempted to lose heart they would know that they are indeed arrows of Your Victory. That they are not consigned to a random existence, but—

   called to be Your mouthpiece,

      penetrating a distracted and weary world with the wonder of Your wisdom.

   called to be an extension of Your hand of grace

      to the many they will touch who have never known hat grace feels like.

   called to run in shoes of peace,

      bearing the Good News that Jesus has made a way for people to know God.

Grant them the gift of faith –

   a faith that will illumine every season of hardship and darkness.

Grant them a love for Your Word,

   a heart for prayer,

   a song of praise and a sensitive ear to your Spirit.

For they will encounter many crossroads in life; not just crossroads of career – but much more importantly crossroads of character.

Times when they will have to decide whether or not to take the path that most glorifies You – even if it means being less successful or lesser known in the eyes of others.

In these days of easily discarded relationships, help each of them know what it means to be a faithful friend, husband, wife, father or mother.

In these days that seem so frantic, help each of them to know Your peace which passes all understanding.

In these days when they will most surely navigate through seas of change and even crisis, help them forge anchors of wisdom out of every disappointment.

And then give them a heart to pass that wisdom on to their children.

And may they never lack in passion for You.

Grant them a spirit that pursues You above all else.

For at the end of the day, we know that it is not about making our mark, but pressing on to Your mark, that prize for which Paul himself strained – the moment when the Master says, “Well done” and the ‘forever’ we will have of knowing You face-to-face.

For more Graduation prayers and blessings, click on Graduation prayers or Blessings in the list of “Labels” at the lower right side of the page.


At the college where I serve, we are fast approaching commencement. I am always amazed when I watch the graduates walk across the stage.  How can it be that you are graduating already? It seems like they just got to campus yesterday!

I have become familiar enough with these students during their time in college that I almost think of them as my own children and I feel mixed emotions. I am happy for them, excited for their futures and for what they will accomplish. I am proud of who they are becoming. And I’m a little bit sad they won’t be here next year.

This year my wife and I have two children graduating—one from high school and one from college—so those emotions hit even closer to home.

These soon-to-be graduates do not yet know much of what the next chapter holds. They may still be looking for a job. Moving to a new community. Wondering who their friends will be.  How they will pay their bills. These are often times of high anxiety for students and for their parents.

I find this passage from Philippians 1, a wonderful prayer and assurance as I think about the graduates in my life.

In the opening section Paul says, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” (v. 4-6) We can pray for our graduates with joy because of our confidence.  Not necessarily confidence that they will land a great job, that they will immediately find a great group of friends, or that their lives will be free from trouble or pain. Rather we have confidence in a richer, greater truth–that from long before these children were born, God planned and began to work in them something good, and that he promises he will see that good through to its completion.

Just that assurance might be enough, but Paul goes on to strengthen his claim. He says it is right for him to have such confidence “since I have you in my heart and…you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (v. 7-8)

If we were able, wouldn’t we all see to it that our loved ones were kept from falling? And if we would do so, will not God do it, and do so more perfectly than we ever could?

Of course, we pray that our graduates will be kept safe, for good work habits and grades, that they will form lasting, quality friendships, that they will have meaningful careers and strong families—and these are all good. But Paul’s prayer is for ends that we know are most precious: that your love may abound more and more…that you may be able to discern what is best…that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit or righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ. (v. 9-11)

As this academic year nears its close, I encourage you to use this passage as you pray for and with your graduates. We know their paths will not always be smooth or straight. There will be happiness and pain, success and failure, times when the way forward is clear and times when it seems shrouded in fog. Yet we can pray with thanks and joy, confident that the good work started in them will be completed, that they will be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ. Their lives are in hands bigger than ours. All glory and praise to God!


Graduation is quickly approaching. Those who are about to receive their degrees are also about to move into a new phase of life. This experience is both exciting and terrifying, whether or not plans have officially been made. In response, I would like to offer a prayer for graduating seniors.

Our God in Heaven,

Thank You for blessing us with these people. Thank You for giving us time with some truly amazing humans. Thank You for the friends, acquaintances and peers that have influenced us in ways we may not even be aware of. Thank You for the conversations, meals, events, late nights, study sessions and weekends that we have been able to spend with these people. Thank You for creating these humans.

I pray that You continue to push them in the direction You want their life to go. And I pray that they follow without too much of a fight. I pray that the coming years would be full of new opportunities and that You show them parts of themselves they have yet to discover. I pray that in moments of stress, anxiety or fear, You would be there to comfort and guide them.

I pray that those who do not know what after-graduation holds for them don’t fear the coming months. I pray that You would open up doors for them and motivate them to try new things. I pray that they would take advantage of this time that they get to spend freely. I pray that they would get to spend more time with You and build a strong relationship with you that will last a lifetime.

I pray that those who do know what after-graduation holds for them are able to rejoice in You. I pray that they take time to reflect and that if they find that what they are doing isn’t their calling, they are able to walk away. I pray for ears to listen to Your voice and the ability to discern the right path for them.

I pray for strength, wisdom and discernment. I pray for grace, joy and peace. I pray that all of the graduating seniors know how much You love them and how much we love them. I pray that they will walk across the stage without fear of what’s on the other side. I pray that they are aware of Your presence on graduation day. I pray that they know how proud You are of them.

I pray that no matter where life takes them, they know You are with them. I pray that they know how much love and support surrounds them from family, friends and peers. I pray that they remember the people and places they are leaving behind and that they remember to come visit.

Most of all, I pray that regardless of all circumstances, they know that You are always on their side, and You have a plan for them.



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