a sending prayer for college freshmen

prayers for college students

Dear Lord,

They move in to the dorm this weekend and will bring their bags filled with clothes and their boxes filled with books. But you see what they bring in their hearts – anticipation, adventure, love, regret, anxiety, motivation, and hope.

They are a mix of excited, ready, terrified, and wide-eyed freedom.

As he looks for a fresh start, remind him of your faithfulness every morning no matter where he calls home.

As she looks for community, remind her you are always with her no matter where she may go.

As he looks for adventure, remind him how you walk on water, turn water to wine, feed thousands from just a few pieces of bread. Remind him how you bring life straight up out of death, beauty straight out of ashes.

May she have the patience to believe even when she doesn’t see results.

May he know the greatest adventures are found in your presence, the greatest love comes from your heart, the greatest hope is that you’ve made his heart your home.

When insecurity, comparison, disappointment and failure knock on her dorm room door, may she turn to you with her questions rather than run the other way.

Weave your wisdom into the fibers of his soul, bearing the fruit of confidence, clarity, contentment and a light heart.

May he not despise his humanity, rather may he embrace it.

May she not despise her body, rather may she learn to receive and respect her shape as a gift.

May he not despise his weakness, rather may he see how weakness brings a daily reminder to trust.

May they not fear failure, rather may they thrive in the midst of it.

May they not be quick to judge, rather may they be patient and curious.

Help them to find true friends and be a true friend in turn.

Help them find their voice and to use it to be an advocate for themselves and for others.

Replace her shame with courage.

Replace his confusion with peace.

Replace her fear with a love that moves within her beyond her ability to understand.

May your grace surprise them kindly.


This sending prayer for students inspired a second post for mamas: A Staying Prayer for Mothers of College Freshmen. May you find peace and joy in this season of transition.

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  1. says

    Beautiful. I start my junior year this coming Monday, and those words are ones I still need to hear every day. I think I’ll be printing this one out for me to read every day. Thank you for a great start to my morning, Emily!

  2. says

    This is so beautiful and so accurate for the college experience. This prayer transcends freshmen to all students and just young adults in general. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Patricia says

    I was a college freshman 18 years ago; looking back, how wonderful it would have been to have this prayer then and to really appreciate its beauty and meaning. What a gift this prayer is! Blessings to you and yours.

  4. says

    Oh Emily, I was so hoping you would write a post like this! What beautiful words! I wrote a post similar to this a few weeks ago { http://kaileyrogers.com/to-all-the-soon-to-be-college-girls/ }. As I wrote it I was wondering what you would be praying for your small group girls as they head off to school since I know we’re both dealing with saying goodbye to some sweet high school girls, so I’m very thankful you shared this! I will be sharing this prayer with all of my small group girls, too as well as taking it to heart for my senior year of college, as well. It’s so so easy to pretend that since I’m a ‘veteran’ college student that I don’t need prayers like this, but I do, I really do and I know people who need simple prayers and reminders like this. Thank you so much for being courageous and reminding me of what a beautiful adventure life and college can be with Christ at the forefront!

  5. says

    My girl goes to college in 12 short months and all these college posts are making me teary and alert. I want to pray this prayer now and not wait until then. This is the sacred echo of my heart for her and all her friends. Thank you.

  6. Jenny says

    Thank you for this prayer. I’m not a college freshman – in fact I’m 45 years old. But I am feeling the blessing of this prayer pour over myself, as I am moving with my husband to a brand new city, where I know precisely one person – my husband. I’m feeling so many of those feelings, similar to the kids going off to college. The longing for community, the uncertainty of how to make new friends, the confusion of getting to know my new culture and environment — these things are really weighing on me. Your words were a gift today. Thank you.

  7. says

    What a beautiful post! My kiddos have already finished college but I certainly would have kept these words close by! I will have to share with those who have children heading off to their “home away from home”. Have a beautiful weekend and thank you!

  8. Tara Lombard says

    Sending our youngest off to college a week from today…this will be tucked into her packing! Simply. On. Target. Thank you, Emily!

  9. says

    Oh how I love this! I have two college students: one a junior and one graduating in December. I was walking through Target the other day eyeing the aisles full of college stuff . . . reminiscing our preparations for their Freshman year. It was stressful, exciting, and bittersweet. Such great years have ensued since then. So thankful for their college experiences. I have friends who are sending kids off to college this year as Freshman. I will definitely share this beautiful prayer with them. Love your heart!

  10. Melissa Osigian says

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful prayer! I prayed it this morning for two nieces, a friend’s son, and my nephew who just started 1st grade this week. (He is a new believer and is already having to deal with some of these issues.) I have a daughter starting 9th grade and know that the day of sending her off to college will be here before I know it. You are a blessing and encouragement to me!

  11. says

    GREAT words for this season. Even though this is our third year in a row to send our daughter 9 hours away…it doesn’t get any easier. This prayer is life giving. Thanks!

  12. says

    Thank you for this. I’m using Boomerang in Gmail to send myself this the night before my first day. I know the words will be even more appreciated then, but I cannot imagine them meaning more to me than they do now. Blessed by you and your words always! Thanking God for you and your words!

  13. says

    Ah, great prayer. This time each year, I’m reminded of how vulnerable of a period this is for kids starting out, venturing out and starting that brave journey towards adulthood. For us sensitive sorts, it’s a real crucible. Blogged about the same thing last night!

  14. Kristin says

    Thank you for this timely prayer. It captured in words what I’ve been trying to find words for. We just dropped our first daughter off and settled her in to her dorm last week. As a mother, I thought the hardest thing in the world was driving away that day, however, I think the hardest was actually the call after a week of being there and her feeling the very real heartache of so much of what you listed here. I’ll be praying this for her in the days ahead for sure.

  15. says

    I absolutely love this and am including a link to it on my blog tomorrow. Hearts are full of so many emotions right now as mommas everywhere are sending their babies off to school of all kinds. Thank you for such a wonderful prayer that we can pray for them – no matter how old they are!!! Peace, Wendie

    • j.E. Hughes says

      Amen Christy!Your experience brought back the memories of dropping Joan off at college in Mo. , and that is what span the poem I wrote for you girls. I do not know if you still have a copy of it or not but I will send it to you. We are and will be praying for Staci and her college experience. Love ya”ll. JEH

  16. says

    Thank you, Emily.

    Our Bre, my college freshmen leaves on Sunday and my college senior leaves the day before. Next weekend will be a big one for all of us as they move on to new adventures and our nest empties. Maybe you could write something for the mamas next Monday. 😉

  17. April says

    This was such a beautiful prayer and touched on so many things that can even carry over into graduate school and I am so thankful to have been able to see this. Also if it is alright with you I love to work on a graphic piece and would love your permission, to do so with your words.

  18. karin says

    Thank you so much for this prayer. My daughter has been away for just two weeks and is struggling, and so of course am I.

  19. Cathy Y says

    Just seeing this on Christmas morning (boys still sleeping) and am making a note to print it for my son, Silas, who will be leaving for college August 2014. Thank you for your profound words. Bless you and Merry Christmas!

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