This week we welcomed new students from near and far to begin their education in serious joy. Our faculty and staff prayed for these men and women by name throughout the admissions process, and now they have begun their classes in three locations—Minneapolis, Memphis, and Yaoundé, Cameroon. The beginning of the school year brims with expectation and excitement about new opportunities, inspiring classes, and deep friendships. The start of school is also an occasion for anxiety about the challenging workload, living in a new place, or meeting new people. How should we pray for these new students of Bethlehem College & Seminary?
The apostle’s God-centered prayer in Colossians 1:9–12 offer a sound starting point for our prayers for new students (and others). The opening words may seem mundane, but they are remarkable: “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you.” Paul has not met these saints face to face; he’s only heard a report about their faith from others, but that was enough to fuel constant intercession for them. What does the apostle ask God for? His central request is that they “may 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.” He longs for these believers to know God’s will and please him with their lives. We do not simply need to be informed of new facts about God; rather, we need spiritual wisdom and true knowledge of God transforms our desires, values, and actions. How do we please God? Paul mentions four ways in verses 10–12:
- by bearing fruit in every good work;
- by increasing in our knowledge of God;
- by being strengthened with God’s power for all endurance and patience;
- by joyfully giving thanks to the Father.
Of course, the faculty and staff desire that our students learn many things during their studies at Bethlehem. They must read books old and new, write essays, memorize Greek paradigms, and fulfill the various course requirements. But most of all, we long for them to be so captured by the sweetness and centrality of Jesus Christ that their great ambition in life is to please him. We pray that our students might abound in good works, that they might long to know him more, that they might experience God’s power in their weakness, that they have joyful, thankful hearts in every circumstance. As we begin the 2019–2020 academic year, would you join us—and the Apostle Paul—in praying for this knowledge that leads to transformed lives?
Dr. Brian Tabb
- Pray for our 78 new students beginning classes this week. We have 67 new students in Minneapolis, 6 in Memphis, and 5 in Cameroon.
- Pray for our newest faculty member, Dr. David Howard, as he teaches his Old Testament classes and prepares to travel to Vietnam to train pastors.
- Pray that God will continue to provide for our school’s financial needs and help us to be faithful and fruitful as we seek to please him with everything we do.