I was honored to offer this prayer of dedication for the graduating class:
Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit –
You have promised in your Word that you will never leave us, you will never forsake us. Today, we stand in testimony that your promise is true. You knew each graduate when they were but a child of promise as you knit them together in their mother’s womb. From their earliest days, through primary and high school, and now to this day of academic victory at Southern Africa Nazarene University, through it all, Lord, you have been with them, and we give you praise and heartfelt thanks.
We know, Father, that in the darkest moments of human history, your solution to problems has always been people. When men and women had gone astray, you sent prophets to guide them back to yourself. When it seemed like the forces of darkness would overwhelm all that you had created, you sent your Son, the light of the world, born of a virgin, to crush the serpent’s head.
So today, Holy Spirit, we reaffirm our part in that great struggle, confident that greater is the One who is in us than the one who is in the world. We consecrate to you these graduates of Southern Africa Nazarene University who now take up the fight against disease through the healing arts, against ignorance through the classroom, and against sin and evil through the church’s loving message of transformation for individuals, communities and nations. We send them forth today into a Cause greater than themselves, knowing that their Savior and Sanctifier – the one who stayed with them this far – is not about to abandon them now.
As they go forth, we offer this earnest prayer for their safe-keeping. Guard them in moments of temptation from selfish choices that promise much but deliver only broken relationships and self-hatred. Encourage graduates, Lord, when they refuse moral compromise and end up paying the price. Remind them of the lessons that they have learned from faculty and staff in this University, that if one must choose, it is far better to forfeit this world’s applause than to forfeit one’s integrity.
Today, we pray for their joy and prosperity. God of flourishing, may these graduates know abundance in every way – abundant life in Christ, joy and laughter in their homes, food on their tables, a spirit so overflowing with your love that nothing but kind words and blessings will be on their lips for brothers and sisters less fortunate than themselves. We pray that lips which bless sincerely may be accompanied by hands that give generously.
We pray, oh Lord, for their relationship with you, that it will grow deep and wide. May you fill them with all the fullness of God and the peace that comes through a heart surrendered to the sweet control of the Holy Spirit. When times of trouble and sorrow come, as they surely must, wrap your arms of love around them and be their comfort.
Further, we dedicate them to service in your Body, the Church. Whether vocational or lay ministers, may they find a place of labor and meaningful contribution in your Church. Make of each one a positive example to younger ones in the community of faith who look up to them and will pattern their own behavior on theirs.
Thank you, Jesus, for the sacrificial way in which mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters, grandmothers and grandfathers have supported our graduates. May you bless them today. Give them the satisfaction of knowing that today, they are rightfully proud of their graduate.
Finally, heavenly Father, I leave our graduates in your hands. Guide them and spur them on to excellence in their respective fields, that when their time comes one day to meet you face-to-face, they will leave this nation, this continent, and this Earth a better place than they found it, a little more like God’s Kingdom, the Kingdom that we still pray will come. I pray not only that they will be Christlike disciples. I pray that you will make them Christlike disciples who change the world.
We give you thanks, O Triune God, for each graduate and leave them now in your tender care. For it is in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that we offer this prayer,