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A Prayer for Academic Resilience

An old folk song going back to the Civil Rights Movement is “Keep Your Eye on the Prize.”


Keep your eyes on the prize. Hold on, hold on, hold on! Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on!

Paul and Silas bound in jail. Had no money to go their bail…

Keep your eyes on the prize. Hold on, hold on, hold on. Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on

Paul and Silas began to shout, the jail doors opened and they walked right out.

The only thing we did wrong, was staying in the wilderness too long.

Keep your eyes on the prize. Hold on, hold on, hold on.  Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.

The one thing we did right, was the day we began to fight.


Or the original edition of “Keep Your Hand on the Plow” by Mahalia Jackson.


Hold on! Hold on! Keep your hand on the plow, hold on.

Hold on! Hold on! Keep your hand on the plow, hold on.

Heard the voice of Jesus say,

“Come unto me, I am the way.”

Keep your hand on the plow, hold on.

When my way gets dark as night,

I know the Lord will be my light.

Keep your hand on the plow, hold on.


Hold on friends, hold on.  In spite of all the challenges this pandemic has caused, hold on. Trust that everything will be alright.

Resilience is the ability to beat the odds and bounce back despite failures. It also refers to the ability of a substance or object to spring back into its original shape. Academic Resilience relates to the ability of students to make the effort to succeed despite adverse circumstances of this unprecedented Covid-19 Pandemic, by changing existing behaviors or developing new ones, such as discipline, practice, or planning. All of us have been affected, personally and professionally, by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as well as the heightened awareness and activism emerging in the US and around the world in response to incidents of racism and violence. These are times that call for extraordinary resilience on the part of our students, ourselves, our institutions, and our society.

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge God, and God will make your paths.”

Let us pray:

God of all wisdom and knowledge, we pray that you would guide all students, faculty and staff as this fall semester comes to an end.  Trusting in you with all our hearts to lead us toward truth and understanding as we apply ourselves to study, research, and thoughtful reflection. We thank you for all who teach on campus and virtually for the university’s sake. Teach us to continually search for truth, to patiently endure frustration and to lay aside our fear of failure holding on to your promise and faithful presence. Lord when the work seems dark as night, Christ be our light, shine in our academic lives. Give students vision and purpose that they can hold onto. Breathe into all your children of light hope and your Peace that transcends all understanding that will keep our hearts and minds in your Christ Jesus. In your name we pray.  Amen


Pastor Babette Chatman

University Pastor