The Practice of Prayer as Procrastination

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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5 Responses to The Practice of Prayer as Procrastination

  1. James Higdon says:

    I Loved that! Prayer AS Procrastination. You have taken my understanding of my own weakness to an entirely different level. Wow, I could spend hours contemplating this, I will have to procrastinate a little longer on my final papers and think about this one:)
    Blessings
    Jim

    PS: If you get any results on that miracle thing with the finished paper appearing in My Documents, a few prayers my way would be appreciated:)

  2. Kim says:

    This is such a good post that I sent it to my daughter, who has 4 finals today. You have a great blog.

  3. Joe says:

    Reminds me of days long past in the same predicament. Cute and entertaining. Thanks!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi, cool post. I have been pondering this issue,so thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely be coming back to your blog. Keep up the good work

  5. nancydayachauer says:

    An interesting thing about Psalm 23, it also mentions the shepherd’s rod – a carefully selected club the shepherd would throw at sheep when they were at a distance and about to get into trouble. God has needed to use a rod with me a few times; thankfully, not for my procrastinating because that would result in quite a beating!

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