Somebody's prayin', I can feel it
Somebody's prayin' for me
Mighty hands are guiding me
To protect what I can't see
Lord I believe, Lord I believe
That somebody's prayin', for me"

- Ricky Skaggs

Retirement receptions are bittersweet for me. There is the sweetness to connect one more time with colleagues and to wish them well in the next season God has planned for them. There is the bitterness to say farewell one more time to colleagues you might not see again this side of heaven.

After signing a guestbook, I extended my hand to Mark (not his real name), a colleague I had hardly interacted with at all save for a meeting we had more than ten years ago. I was in a new role at Indiana Wesleyan University, introducing myself to potential stakeholders for a new initiative.  We sat across from one another in his office as I launched into my prepared introduction.

Then my cell phone rang. It was my oldest daughter. She called again and I excused myself. My daughter informed me she was experiencing difficulty breathing due to an allergic reaction and was out of her medication. I advised her to seek medical attention right away. Since I was unable to be with her, I had to trust she would find the care she needed.

Shaken, I returned to Mark’s office. He asked if everything was alright and I told him about my daughter. Mark asked if he could pray for her. I bowed my head and listened to his heartfelt words, as if he was personally acquainted with my daughter. This man who I had just met stopped what he was doing to pray. Epilogue: my daughter received the care she needed and her breathing returned to normal.

Over the years, Mark and I would bump into one another now and then. We never found ourselves again in a setting like the one I recounted, but I will never forget his prayer.

Well, I've walked through barren wilderness
When my pillow was a stone
And I've been through the darkest caverns
Where no light had ever shown
Still I went on 'cause there was someone
Who was down on their knees
And Lord. I thank you for those people
Prayin' all this time for me

Called to Pray

As teachers, we are called to pray for our students. How we pray takes many forms. We can tell students we are praying for them via a course announcement, a video, or an email. We can write a prayer. We can interrupt an on-site class and pray.

For a long time, I found it easy to tell a student I would pray for him or her because it made me feel less vulnerable. I used to think praying was something done afterward, so hiding behind postponement became my default façade.  These days, Holy Spirit increasingly nudges me to pray without delay, either aloud or from a keyboard.  I find myself trusting Him to transform my hesitation by His strength.

For the student--

with a brother-in-law facing down cancer,

with a mother in poor health,

desiring for her children to walk to school unafraid,

pressed down with anxiety,

lifting family members to become Christ followers,

and for the student confronted with the reality of a dying father--

push past the hesitation, lean into His strength, and pray.

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.

James 5:13a NKJV

Mike Mendenhall is an Assistant Director of Faculty Development in the College of Adult and Professional Studies.  As a Christ follower, he is fueled by the Word, humbled during seasons of prayer, and nourished with a local body of believers.  As a wordsmith, he is the publisher of the FacultyCare blog and the Verse, a quarterly newsletter for the School of Service and Leadership.

Question: How are you called to pray for your students? Please leave a comment below.

Mike Mendenhall / Assistant Director, Faculty Development | School of Service and Leadership

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