Prayer for my theology students on the first day of classes

Joshua 24:14-15 –14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Lord, we praise you that you receive our feeble, frail, and faltering attempts at faithfulness. Like Joshua and his crew of Hebrews, we too have allied ourselves to you and more than once preferred idols. Our lives are littered with them.

We prefer a god who is predictable and safe, forgive us;

We prefer a god at our beck and call, forgive us;

we prefer a god who fits nicely into our tidy lives, forgive us.

we prefer a god who leaves our idols untouched, forgive us;

With our idols laying about, we praise you that our faithlessness is nothing like your faithfulness. “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? … For I am God, and not a man— the Holy One among you (Hosea 11:8, 9). In those words rests our only hope.

Faithful One, may it be that we experience your faithfulness as we begin this thrilling journey:

Hold us secure as our false notions of you and ourselves fall away;

humble us when our comprehension of you turns out to be less tidy than expected;

give us faith when our idols burn and our fear threatens to derail the whole thing.

Like Joshua and his band of Hebrews, we commit ourselves to faithfulness, again. Don’t let us go, for we trust that you are not like us; we trust that you are the Holy One–the Faithful One–among us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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