Saturday, November 6, 2021

A Learner's Prayer

Father of lights,
In whom there is no shadow of darkness:
Thank You for the gift of learning and education,
For Your outbreathed Word in my native tongue,
For literacy to read it,
For its adequacy to equip Your children to walk worthy of You,
For the wise, Spirit-instructed people
You have given the church over the millennia
To help us understand it,
For the abundant wealth of information about a vast myriad of curiosities,
From the deepest depths of the oceans
To the outer reaches of our galaxy and beyond;
From summits, sea creatures, sequoias, and stars,
To subatomic particles, viruses, and genomes;
From the fine arts to Fibonacci sequences;
From cabinet-making to computer science to combustion engines.
What a wonderful world You have made for us to explore!
We praise You for the marvelous mystery inviting enquiry,
For the order and structure awaiting discovery,
For all the sparks of curiosity kindling daydreams and imagination.
Thank You also for the limits of our comprehension,
For in our finitude we know not even where they are.
If I were the undefeated, undefeatable quiz-show champion,
Knowing one hundred percent of the answers
One hundred percent of the time,
If I knew and understood every book and parchment
In every library
In all of human history,
All my knowledge would be—
And this is generous—
One hydrogen atom
On one water molecule
In one droplet
In the ocean of Your infinite wisdom.
You are diamond,
And the sharpest mortal mind cannot scratch the surface
Of Your understanding.
Know-it-alls know nothing in light of You who know all.
In the final reckoning,
Eternal life or death rests not on facts we know
But on whom we trust.
Knowledge of You, O God,
Knowledge of Christ,
In whom all treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden,
Knowledge worked in Your children by the Spirit of truth—
Who knows the mind of a person
But the spirit who indwells him?—[i]
Personal knowledge of the Triune God is the only knowledge
That breathes life into dead hearts.
“This is eternal life:
That they may know You, the living God,
And Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”[ii]
To gaze upon Your glory,
To be transformed into Your likeness,
To bear the privilege of making You known—
This is the truest knowledge,
And to revere You is the beginning of wisdom.
So I thank You, Lord, for learning,
For books,
For the Book of books,
For education,
For reason and imagination and memory.
Make us faithful stewards of the gifts You have graciously entrusted to us;
Make us humble stewards, always conscious of how miniscule our understanding is
Before the inscrutable majesty of Your glory,
In Jesus’ name.


[i] 1 Corinthians 2:11

[ii] John 17:3

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