They move in to the dorm this weekend and will bring their bags filled with clothes and their boxes filled with books. But you see what they bring in their hearts – anticipation, adventure, love, regret, anxiety, motivation, and hope.
They are a mix of excited, ready, terrified, and wide-eyed freedom.
As he looks for a fresh start, remind him of your faithfulness every morning no matter where he calls home.
As she looks for community, remind her you are always with her no matter where she may go.
As he looks for adventure, remind him how you walk on water, turn water to wine, feed thousands from just a few pieces of bread. Remind him how you bring life straight up out of death, beauty straight out of ashes.
May she have the patience to believe even when she doesn’t see results.
May he know the greatest adventures are found in your presence, the greatest love comes from your heart, the greatest hope is that you’ve made his heart your home.
When insecurity, comparison, disappointment and failure knock on her dorm room door, may she turn to you with her questions rather than run the other way.
Weave your wisdom into the fibers of his soul, bearing the fruit of confidence, clarity, contentment and a light heart.
May he not despise his humanity, rather may he embrace it.
May she not despise her body, rather may she learn to receive and respect her shape as a gift.
May he not despise his weakness, rather may he see how weakness brings a daily reminder to trust.
May they not fear failure, rather may they thrive in the midst of it.
May they not be quick to judge, rather may they be patient and curious.
Help them to find true friends and be a true friend in turn.
Help them find their voice and to use it to be an advocate for themselves and for others.
Replace her shame with courage.
Replace his confusion with peace.
Replace her fear with a love that moves within her beyond her ability to understand.
May your grace surprise them kindly.
This sending prayer for students inspired a second post for mamas: A Staying Prayer for Mothers of College Freshmen. May you find peace and joy in this season of transition.
As Christians we are continually encouraged and even admonished to pray for one another. As our children grow and go off to college our prayers for them are essential as they begin to face “the real world”. They need to remain in prayer as well. Here are seven good prayers for college students that you might want to use as you pray. These can easily be adjusted for use by the student or by others who love them and want to lift up intercessory prayers for college students.
Praise and Worship
Dear Lord, as I continue in this new college life help me never to forget to devote time of praise and worship to You. I know that you are the One who sustains me and the least I can do for everything that You have done for me is to dedicate time to You. Help me to know that renewing my mind in You is a necessary part of my life. Nudge me out of bed on Sunday and if there is a good mid-week service please make it so I can go to that too. Send new friends my way that are like-minded Christians who will attend services with me and hold me accountable when I am absent. I love you Lord and I want to praise and worship You. In Jesus name, Amen
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
Instructors and Administrators
College students have new leaders as they begin this venture in life. Remember to pray for those leaders – they are the ones that have the greatest influence on students.
Dear Lord, I pray for all of my Instructors, Professors and Administrators. As we are told in the Bible, as a student (disciple) our teachers are above us and as we grow and learn we strive to be like our teacher. Please give them the wisdom, strength and courage to be the best instructor and administrator that they can be. Help them to stay healthy as they do well to teach us. Lord, if they do not know you as personal Savior, I pray that they come to know you and in doing so that their instruction and work is glorifying to You. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. (Luke 6:40)
One of the most difficult things for college students to learn is time management. Success in college requires goal setting and time management. It is easy to lose track of time when students are making new friends and spending time in social gatherings. Time must be allocated to proper study and rest as well as fun.
Heavenly Father I pray that you will give me the guidance that I need to have fun while still maintaining a schedule of proper study and needed rest. Help me to know that sometimes I need to “bow out” of a particular social event in order to meet the needs of academic success. Protect me as I seek your help in scheduling time for everything. I love you Father and pray this in Jesus name, Amen.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Quizzes, Mid-terms and Finals
Dear God, I have learned so much and right now I just ask that you help me to remember all of those things. Please bring them quickly to mind so that I may successfully pass my tests today. Help also my classmates who are studying for exams, that they might have great success. I know that our success will glorify you Lord because everything that we do should be done as unto You. I pray for peace as I sit for the exams and I know that peace comes only from You. Thank you for listening to my prayer and I pray this in Your Son’s name, Amen.
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)
Dear God, I so enjoy my independence while away at college. As I plan a trip home for a visit please help me to honor my parents as I obey the house rules that they have. I know that the rules are there for my own good. Help me to show that while I have gained independence during my time away that I understand that it is their house so I must obey their rules. Lord, I think this might be hard for me but I know that You will guide me and gently remind me of the honor that is due to my parents while I am in their house. Please grant me my desire dear Lord, In Jesus name, Amen.
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; (Ephesians 6:2)
Dear Lord, I come to you because I want to be sure that I am keeping company with this right people. God I know that relationships require careful cultivation and attention. Help me to be friendly to others and to welcome them into my world. Help me to shine the light of Jesus to them so that they too can see how happy I am in You. Remind me that sometimes I need to ask forgiveness when I have offended others. Help me to be forgiving when others have offended me. God I want to be a great example of Christianity to everyone I meet. I pray that you will help me never to forget that I must take time to work on relationships … just like a garden, for them to grow I must be devoted to them. I pray in Jesus name, Amen.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
Purity in Thought, Word and Deed
Dear Precious Father, as I learn to live independently outside of the boundaries that were set for me at home, please help me to make good choices that will keep my thoughts, words and deeds pure. I want to honor You with my choices. As I choose how I spend my time remind me that You are always with me and that my choices should be things that please You. Help me to stay away from the things that will temp me to do the things that I know are not edifying to You. Remind me that it is my choice and that I can talk to You any time that I am having troubling making good choices. Keep me in the company of others that have a good walk with You so that I too can have a good walk. I know you will guide me and for this I am so thankful. I know Your wisdom is pure, help me to desire only Your wisdom. I pray this through Jesus, Amen.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17)
Prayer is an essential element in our Christian walk. Praying for ourselves and others is a privilege that is uniquely Christian. Feel free to share your own prayers for college students in the comments below.
Here are some more prayer articles for you:
Prayers from the Bible
Praying for those that persecute us
Prayers for courage
The Holy Bible, King James Version
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Still have teens and tweens in the house?
You might find this parenting series helpful.
1. Pray for your child’s relationships with their roommates and hall-mates.
One of the blessings of living in a residential college setting is the opportunity to learn in community. This means working through your academic learning with others but also means learning by being in a community. It can be hard when sinners live together in close proximity and share the stresses of school and adjusting to new environments, but the fruit of learning how to work through hard things and sharing life with other believers is a beautiful thing worth wrestling through the hardships (Psalm 133). These lessons and friendships can not only make college a good experience but serve students well down the road in life. Please pray for the ups and downs of these relationships and that growth and bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood will result.
2. Pray for your child’s relationships with members of the opposite sex.
College is a combination of wonderful excitement and mass confusion in this area. Students are coming from all manner of different backgrounds and experiences and the reality is that many students will find a spouse on this campus and many students will not. In both situations there are joys and frustrations. Please pray that God will use this opportunity to grow your child in their understanding of being a brother or sister to members of the opposite sex and to give direction, purity, freedom from fear and anxiety, peace, encouragement, and grace to these interactions.
3. Pray for your child’s friends.
This could also encompass the two above categories but Proverbs and other scriptures speak often of the importance of our companions. Pray for wisdom for your child in who they choose to spend time with. That they would make friends who encourage them in their faith and that they would be friends who do that for others.
4. Pray for their involvement on campus.
It is really important for students to be involved in campus life either on their hall, through a club, a service group, or some other avenue of connecting with and getting to know others. Pray for discernment for your child as they seek to make these decisions and balance various things going on in their lives. Pray they would be willing to let some opportunities pass, but be bold to take advantage of others.
5. Pray for mentors for your child.
In addition to friends and other students, pray for the leaders on your student’s hall (RAs, etc.). They are upperclassmen students who desire to serve your child and walk alongside them. If your child is in one of these positions, pray for them and their work as these provide excellent opportunities for God to work in and through them. Pray for faculty and staff who interact with your students, and for pastors and other members in the local church where your child attends. Pray that one or two of these people would be equipped by God to connect with your child and speak the truth of Christ into their life regularly.
6. Pray for your child’s church involvement.
If they happen to attend a Christian college, it can be easy for students to think they get what they need in Bible classes, chapel, and hall prayer times. Sleep can feel very urgent on a Sunday morning, so please pray that your child will connect with a local congregation. It can be scary and intimidating at times, but is a great means of grace in their lives.
7. Pray that God’s spirit makes your child’s heart and mind alive to the Scriptures and the gospel.
Being surrounded by people who profess the same thing you do can easily lead to assuming the gospel of Christ in our lives and taking the scriptures for granted. Pray that in chapel, class, church, and personal devotions, the Holy Spirit will awaken your child’s heart and mind to the truths of God’s written word and the work of Jesus, the Living Word.
8. Pray that their identity would be found more and more in Christ.
Students deal with issues such as physical appearance, religious reputation, academic or athletic prowess, good relationships, bad relationships, future goals, past achievements, etc. All of these and countless others are calling to students (and to all of us really), and asking your sons and daughters to place their trust and hope of joy and fulfillment in them. Pray that your child will hear the voice of Christ calling loudly above all the others, and that they will grow in the joy that Paul knew in Philippians 3 of being united with Christ and found in him.
9. Pray that your child would grow in Christ-likeness.
Pray that as they grow in their understanding of what Christ has done for them, they will grow in his likeness, being quick to forgive and slow to anger, considering the interest of others before themselves, and looking for opportunities to serve others and show them the love of Christ.
10. Pray that your child would learn from his or her mistakes.
Part of growing and learning is making mistakes along the way. Pray that these times of frustration, disappointment, and even embarrassment would help them to grow in their understanding of the grace of Christ, mature as the young men and women they are, and would guard them from larger frustration, disappointments, and embarrassments in the future.
And one to grow on ~
Pray that they would know God more.
Following Paul’s prayer for the Colossians–
“May you be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” ~ Colossians 1:9b-10.
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Excerpted, with permission, from Kevin McAlvey, one of the Resident Directors at Covenant College.
Your turn: This is by no means an exhaustive list; if you have suggestions to add, please leave them in comments.
Please share this post with others who have college-bound children or friends.
Related:College Essentials for all students (what they really need)Parenting Teens and Tweens You have Successfully Subscribed!