Baccalaureate Prayer of Thanksgiving by Sooho Lee (’14)

Now, Father, I would like to pray for things that are especially hard to pray for.
Things that we rarely are grateful for.
Sometimes, things we absolutely refuse to give thanks for.

Father, I want to thank you for all the moments of loneliness, depression, and emotional rollercoasters each and every single one of us has experienced multiple times these past four years. And I acknowledge that some of us struggled much longer and others struggled much harder. Yet, I also acknowledge that you use even powerful and destructive emotions to make us realize the depths of our need for you. By allowing us to experience moments of captivity to our emotions, you make us experience moments of desperation for you. And for that we are grateful, for we are a forgetful people.

Next, Father I would like to thank you for financial struggles that both families and students here are constantly aware of and struggle with. Lord, it’s so hard, so hard not to worry about our finances. Not only does money pay our bills, pay for our food, pay for our living expenses, and pay for our education, but also make us feel safe, make us feel secure, make us feel relevant, make us feel important, basically, make us feel everything we should feel when we realize your love for us. Whether we struggle with having financial stability or not, we have a hard time rooting ourselves in your perfect love for us and not in money. Yet, even in this struggle, you provide in your perfect timing, whether through gifts and donation through the Wheaton Grant or temporarily now through loans, which we would have to pay back. But as we do, may we do so gratefully, knowing that money does not ultimately define who we are.

Related to financial struggles, Father, I would also like to thank you for graduating seniors, like myself, who are currently job-less and graduate school-less. For some of us, we have the gift of moving back in with our parents, for others we do not. For some of us, we have the gift of a job, for others we do not. And for some of us we have the gift of more education to pursue our dreams, for others we do not. Lord, again, I thank you for these momentary struggles, for they make us realize our need for you. Our official title before you does not say “job-less graduating senior” or “rejected from graduate school senior” or “unable to attend graduate school because of financial struggle senior,” nor even “successfully obtained a dream full-time job senior” or “attending another prestigious graduate school senior,” but simply “recipient of God’s grace and participant in everlasting relationship with him.”

Finally, Father, I want to thank you for things that are extremely hard to be grateful for. The pains of broken relationships, family conflict, and loss of loved ones. Lord, this community has experienced tremendous stress and grief over the past four years. There are broken relationships that seem beyond repair. Family conflicts that seem to have no hope of reconciliation. And the loss of loved ones that seem to paralyze us with overwhelming grief.

So, Father, I ask that you first remind us that you will always be with us. Remind us that you are the God of all comfort. Remind us that you have lavished grace upon us in the past and will continue to do so in your own perfect way and perfect timing. Remind us that you have a love for us that cannot be separated by any temporal things, for your love is everlasting. Remind us ultimately that you have been with us, that you are with us, and that you will always be with us. God, you are so much bigger than any broken relationship, family conflicts, and loss of loved ones. Please do not minimize our pain to make it superficial, but highlight your enduring sovereign love.

To close, Father, I would like to ask that your Holy Spirit will teach us everyday the simple Sunday-school song that goes: “God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me.”

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