The Practice of Prayer as Procrastination – Revisited

It has been a week since I posted something … but at the moment, I am in the throes of final paper writing, and don’t have time for a full post today. I have three papers completed … and only one more to finish!! I will be doing the happy dance tomorrow, I am sure!! In honor of all students who are in the midst of finals and paper writing, I am reposting an entry that I wrote back in May when I was in the midst of my writing my Systematic Theology paper. I thought it might be an encouragement to others … or at least a source of amusement. The good news is that I haven’t found myself using prayer as a procrastination technique this week. Perhaps that means I have grown on this journey … who knows? J Anyway, enjoy! Until next time, peace …

Prayer and procrastination have been two very important practices in the life of this seminary student. This evening while sitting at my computer trying to get beyond page 8 of my 25-page Systematic Theology paper (which is due on Thursday), I discovered I have reached the penultimate with these two practices – the practice of prayer AS procrastination. As any good pray-er and pastor should do I began my prayer with confession – confessing that I should have started this paper earlier, confessing that I should have done more reading, confessing that I should have taken better notes in class … you get the idea. Then I shifted gears asking God to stir my memory with all that I had read and to give me wisdom in articulating it. As the prayer went on, I realized that I actually started begging and pleading with God for a miracle. “I mean, really, God, if you are indeed all-powerful, surely you could just make the paper appear in My Documents with proper footnotes and bibliography in Turabian style and spell-check complete. After all, you created the land and the waters, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea. You created humans and took on human form in the person of Jesus Christ. And then when he was killed you resurrected him on the third day. Surely, God, with all of that great work behind you, this systematic theology miracle I am requesting should be a piece of cake for you!” I’m not desperate or anything, am I? J

One of today’s lectionary passages was Psalm 23. As I prayed my procrastination this evening, I was reminded of “The Twenty-Third Psalm for Seminarians” that I heard during finals my first year at MTSO. The author is unknown. May it provide comfort and reassurance for all of my seminary friends and amusement for other readers of this blog.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not flunk;
He keepeth me from lying down when I should be studying.
He leadeth me beside the water cooler for a study break;
He restoreth my faith in study guides.
He leads me to better study habits
For my grade’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of borderline grades,
I will not have a nervous breakdown;
For thou art with me.
My prayers and my friends, they comfort me.
Thou givest me answers in moments of blankness;
Thou anointest my head with understanding.
My test paper runneth over with questions I recognize.
Surely passing grades and flying colors shall follow me
All the days of my examinations,
And I shall not have to dwell in this seminary forever.


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