Prayers for the New School Year – Samuel Johnson

studying-libraryI have posted here before prayers appropriate for the beginning of the new school year, and with the start of our Seminary semester yesterday and the start of many Christian schools last week and this week, it it fitting to do so again.

Recently I came across a prayer of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) in the book Acceptable Words: Prayers for the Writer (Eerdmans, 2012). That prompted me to search for more, which I was able to find  online here.

I hope that you find these prayers to be profitable, whether you are a student or a parent, a teacher or a professor, a librarian or a laborer.

This brief one is quoted in Acceptable Words:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, without whose help labour is useless, without whose light search is vain, invigorate my studies, and direct my inquiries, that I may, by due diligence and right discernment, establish myself and others in thy Holy Faith.

Take not, O Lord, thy Holy Spirit from me; let not evil thought have dominion in my mind. Let me not linger in ignorance, but enlighten and support me, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This one is titled “Before Any New Study”:

ALMIGHTY God, in whose hands are all the powers of man, who givest understanding, and takest it away; who, as it seemeth good unto Thee, enlightenest the thoughts of the simple, and darkenest the meditations of the wise, be present with me in my studies and enquiries.

Grant, O Lord, that I may not lavish away the life which Thou hast given me on useless trifles, nor waste it in vain searches after things which Thou hast hidden from me. Enable me, by thy Holy Spirit so to shun sloth and negligence, that every day may discharge part of the task which Thou hast allotted me; and so further with thy help that labour which, without thy help, must be ineffectual, that I may obtain, in all my undertakings, such success as will most promote thy glory, and the salvation of my own soul, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

And when we fail to be diligent in our tasks and studies, this daily prayer is certainly fitting (“After Time Negligently and Unprofitably Spent”) :

O LORD, in whose hands are life and death, by whose power I am sustained, and by whose mercy I am spared, look down upon me with pity. Forgive me, that I have this day neglected the duty which Thou hast assigned to it, and suffered the hours, of which I must give account, to pass away without any endeavour to accomplish thy will, or to promote my own salvation.

Make me to remember, O God, that every day is thy gift, and ought to be used according to thy command. Grant me, therefore, so to repent of my negligence, that I may obtain mercy from Thee, and pass the time which thou shalt yet allow me, in diligent performance of thy commands, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

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