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Community Prayer

As Biola takes steps to “love our neighbors,” doing our part to quell the spread of COVID-19, we are mindful of our community’s concerns, needs, and hopes during this time. Each week, President Corey, Campus Pastor Todd Pickett, and Director of the Center for the Holy Spirit Oscar Merlo will post new prayers addressing the dynamic currents of these days.

We invite the community to join us in interceding for the following groups of people by offering the following prayers. These prayers address the moment in which they are written. They are mindful chiefly of our community and their families, who are our first circle of care. They ask, if we must live in such days, how then should we pray? For whose service are we grateful, and what empowerment do they need? Who at this time is weak, and what strengthening is our request? What troubles do some suffer, and what comfort should we ask from God? What circumstances are pressing upon those we love, and for what relief do we cry out?

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4: 4b-7)

Week 3: April 1

For recent graduates

God our Father, we are mindful of the many Biola students who graduated recently, many of them seeking to make their way in the world now under these conditions. You have sent them out as courageous and competent ambassadors of your Kingdom. We ask that you guide them to places of gainful work, in which places they will also minister.

For those suddenly under- or unemployed

O Lord, with heavy hearts we know there are many who have seen their work and income falter or their employment cease altogether. Sustain them, Jesus. Provide for them. Protect them from anxiety, fear and feelings of failure. Where there is hurt, bring healing. Where there is discouragement, bring hope. And provide for them, we pray restored or new avenues of work and income. Make haste to help them.

For our pastors

Jesus, our good Shepherd, these shepherds of yours are bearing the weight of many. They bear, like the apostle Paul, “the daily pressure of my anxiety” for the church, but now the storms that have come upon their congregations from the waves of this disease. For those who have small staffs, let them know you honor and respect the ways they are seeking to care for others at a distance. For those responsible for large staffs, we pray for a spirit of camaraderie and co-laboring among their staff as they work to care amid the complexity of this situation. And we ask that you protect or restore the health of these pastors, both physically and spiritually, that they might carry out their callings to minister to others and their families.

For essential workers

Lord God, while many of us shelter in place, there are others we know who are called out each day, whose work is so essential to our well-being that we cannot do without them. For those who provide us food, who mend our homes and highways, who bring us light and heat, health and safety and meet many other needs. For their service, we ask not just the kindness and thanks of many but protection provided in their workplaces, and that protection, Lord, only you can bring.

For what is ahead

Dear God, You are…The Lord, my shepherd; I shall not want. Ps 23:1 Thank You for all of the blessings You have given me and my family. Please continue to release Your love and compassion into my home, the workplaces that we are now in, and in spaces where suffering is present...Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lam 3:21-23. Compassionate God who never fails, in your hands are our days ahead.

For God’s favor as we navigate this uncertain season

Abba, please guide me by Your Word and by Your Holy Spirit to trust You with what is next...Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Prov 3:5-6. Thank You Abba for Your unending grace and favor, I look to you, I trust you, direct my path, be a lamp unto my feet.

Hoy, oramos las palabras del Salmista

...en nombre de nuestros vecinos, los vulnerables y nuestras familias. Pero tú, Señor, eres escudo a mi alrededor, mi gloria, el que levanta mi cabeza. Clamo al Señor y él me responde desde su monte santo. Me acuesto y duermo; Me despierto otra vez, porque el Señor me sostiene. No temeré... Salmo 3: 3-4.

Espíritu Santo, oramos sanidad por los enfermos, por los médicos, por los científicos, por los enfermeros, por los que limpian las máquinas y sacan la basura, por todo el personal de la oficina que trabaja detrás de las escenas públicas, privadas, y políticas de nuestra nación. Oramos por nuestros estudiantes universitarios y sus familias, por aquellos que están en casa y también por las personas sin hogar. Señor, ten piedad, sé un escudo a nuestro alrededor. Señor, inclina tu oído a nuestras oraciones y respóndenos con tu favor desde tu misericordioso trono de gracia. Señor, no tengo miedo porque tu me sostienes.

Week 2: March 25

For staff caring for young children

Father, in this time when the vocations of work must be carried out among the vocations of parenting, amid attention to meals and dishes, learning and play, cleaning up and ordering, give us the patience to be interrupted, give us the focus to re-engage, the joy of doing good work, and the understanding and grace of others.

For any we might know awaiting test results

Jesus our healer, in this time of anxious waiting, we ask for your peace that passes into our understanding, down through our bodies, throughout our nervous system, and into the depths of hearts. You give wisdom and skill to those who by long training have learned to diagnose and treat our ailments, and we pray your diligence and speed upon them for the sake of those who are in uncertainty. Call forth your children to reach out to those who may be in isolation, to draw near in spirit and online, to offer acts of kindness. We pray for nervous families to be surrounded by support and friendship. And we pray for good results, and for whatever ailment causes this suffering would soon pass — through the treatment of doctors or the treatment of your Spirit, who sometimes effects miracles of healing and even the most skilled of practitioners cannot duplicate.

For our Facilities Services team

Holy Father, thank you for the dedicated work of our facilities, maintenance and cleaning staff, who are entering spaces and caring for students with their skills, bodies and hands. We could not do this without their attentiveness to and care of the cleanliness of every teaching, working, eating and living space on this campus. Protect them, Holy Father, keep them safe and healthy. May your grace and mercy be with them as they care for the health of our community with their tireless work.

For our food service workers

Jesus, bread of life, we thank you for these who work so near to the center of our need, who with their skill, hard work, and care lead us to tables of hospitality each day. May they feel your favor upon them. May you protect them in work that is so necessary in this time of human need. May you care for their children and families, when they are caring for those of others. May you keep them healthy. May they know you, Jesus, see them though they may work behind the scenes, sustaining our communities. We are so grateful for them, and lead us to thank and encourage them often.

For our residence life dean, directors and staff

Lord God, these women and men create a “home away from home” for many in our student body. Thank you for their teamwork these last few weeks in making quick decisions, creating new systems, and caring for students whose “home away from home” has had to end more quickly than anticipated. As they continue their work in the coming days of significant transition, may your Spirit bear in them for the sake of their communities the fruit of peace in the midst of swift changes and kindness in encountering each need that arises. And when the time comes, may you grant them rest from their good work.

For Biola’s leaders

Lord God, of all that is created and uncreated, we ask you to strengthen the leaders of Biola University during this time. We ask you to strengthen minds during the long hours of attention to complex challenges and solutions. We ask you to bolster resolve amid complex problems and complex solutions. Give them the capacity to pray while they work, and listen while they speak. We pray for President Barry Corey. Thank you for his leadership, his commitment to you, your gospel and to Biola’s ongoing legacy of fidelity to your Word and your Kingdom. We thank you for the Cabinet and other administrators, who this week have woken up early and worked deep into the night. Strengthen and encourage them all in this good work. We are grateful for the Board of Trustees, who have been available for wisdom, counsel and decision-making at every hour. May they sense your favor for their ministry to this university, its mission and community. And when they lie down on their beds, may they sleep the sleep of those who know a Sovereign God, who is working out his kingdom even as they sleep.

For those who steward our finances

God of all Provision, we pray for those whose work is not just for today but for Biola’s future. We think of the teams whose cascading responsibilities care for the financial foundations of Biola’s mission, the just wages of employees, and the financial health of our students and their families. We know these, too, are days of early mornings and late nights, in which numbers are worked and reworked to ensure financial stability. Strengthen them for this work and may your provision be exceedingly and abundantly more than all we can ask or imagine.

For our grandparents and the elderly

God of all Generations. During this time, we pray that you help us to rediscover this mutual enrichment between the different generations. Lord, we are concerned for the elderly. Holy Spirit, lead us as we pray for them. Help them through their worries and challenges. I’m concerned for ______Mama and Papa. Lord, I pray that as a culture we will not forget those that have gone before us, those that have lifted us in prayer and in love. Lord, I pray for those that gave birth to our parents, for those that are lonely and those in a nursing home or near me. Holy Spirit, strengthen their hearts with your presence, give them peace and help them not to lose hope. Send people around them, as hands of mercy and comfort that would embrace their bodies and take their fears away.

Week 1: March 18

For students in transition

Lord God, we pray for all students returning to homes or for whom Biola is home, for students who feel homeless, and for those whose homes are far away, like our global students. May doors be open for them; may meals remind them of your care, may you guard them in travel, and may you be a felt presence in their loneliness. May these homes be places of nourishment and health. And may we assist these students in all ways within our power.

For graduating seniors

Lord, our hearts grieve for seniors who experienced their last days of in-person classes, though in some cases they hardly knew it. We are sad with them that they will not finish out the year in the company of their professors and friends. May their disappointment be balanced by the memories of your work in their lives at Biola, and may they feel from all of us our gratitude for their friendships, partnerships, presence, vitality, work and support of this community.

For our students returning from abroad

God of all nations, we ask you for paths that lead these students back into the places they know and into reunions with family and friends. We pray for favor from travel agents and airlines, from custom agents and vehicle operators, for safety on planes, and trains and with weather. We pray for protection from all illness, and healing where there is sickness. And we pray for peace in all these transitions. God goes with each, and may they know this in heart and mind.

For our campus health workers, for the director of our Student Health Services and her team who care so well for our students

Lord our Healer, thank you for the leadership, expertise and guidance Sarah Templeton and her team have provided for our community during this global pandemic. Thank you for their expertise in both clinical and public health concerns that have guided us through significant decisions these last few weeks, as well as the on-going individual care for students that have been so very necessary during these days. Give Sarah and her team stamina as they continue to serve our community through this pandemic. Bless them with quick thinking, wisdom, and clarity with each new situation that arises. And, when the time comes, grant them deep rest.

For athletes

Spirit, who moves like the wind, please come upon our athletes in this time when their vocations unto achievement and competition, in contests and competitions has come to a stillness. Some have played their last games, run their last event, practiced for the last time with their peers. We grieve with them the loss of these joys, this camaraderie, and this good work. If they must run and lift, move and swim, and shoot, swing, spike or kick in solitude or silence, may they still know your favor upon them, remembering the joy they have given and may give again, and the models of hard work, life balance, and competing unto the Lord they have been for us.

For the leaders of cities, states and countries

We pray that you will lead the leaders of our cities, our states, and our country in the way of righteousness and goodness. We pray for wisdom motivated by impartial love, free from the temptations for personal fame and gain that often beset the powerful. Bring to their side those whose lifelong training in medicine, public health, technology and ethics, among others, make them reliable servants to the common good. And may all those who serve us and make hard decisions be somewhere in the souls ‘god-fearers,’ those who even without deep faith of their own know that there is a Power (whom we call Yahweh) whose world has been in part entrusted to their stewardship and care.

For our campus safety staff

God of all protection, thank you for showing us your protection through these highly trained and skilled women and men who care for our community. Thank you for the knowledge and skill with which Chief John Ojeisekhoba and his team have helped lead our community’s response to what we are facing today. As Chief and his team continue to advise and guide Biola’s response, grant them wisdom beyond human knowing, peace in the midst of urgency, and discernment in next steps toward keeping our community safe.

For faculty and remote learning support teams

Lord Jesus, our master teacher, thank you for the gifts and passion you have given the women and men faculty of our campus to educate, mentor, and care for students who, in turn, will impact others for your kingdom because of their good work. Grant creativity, insight and energy to those who are quickly re-imagining their courses to provide a quality educational experience to their students. Increase capacity among our Office of Digital Learning who have worked tirelessly to provide the resources, tools and support needed to translate the Biola experience to an online and remote delivery format — both in the past, and now, for such a time as this.