September 17, 2010 marked the inauguration day of Philip Graham Ryken, eighth president of Wheaton College. One year later it is fitting to remember a powerful prayer given seventeen years earlier to the day by Dr. Haddon Robinson on behalf of Duane Litfin, Wheaton’s seventh president.
Our sovereign Father, we come to You at this solemn moment to ask You for this president, Your servant. We recognize that this is a significant moment in his life–an auspicious moment in the history of this school–and he must be terrified. He is here to lead this institution, so it will enhance Your reputation. He is here so that Your work will be advanced in the world. And he is here to see to it that the desires of Your heart will be done on this campus, as they are done in heaven where angels do Your bidding. We ask You for Your servant, to carry out this impossible task.
Oh, Lord God, give Your servant vision and wisdom and courage and grace and love, so that in the days to come when we look back on the time he has spent here, Your name will have been honored, Your kingdom will have been advanced, and Your will will have been done on this campus as it is in heaven, And we ask this for Jesus’ sake, we ask it for the sake of this institution, we ask it for Your servant’s sake, and for the sake of a world for whom Christ died, Amen.
We ask that You would give him vision. Help him to see clearly what others may not see. And on those days when clouds come in, may he keep in mind what this school is about and why You have brought it into existence. Help him to see clearly what You want this institution to do and be in the years that lie ahead. Eternal God, give your servant, vision.
Our God, we would ask that You would give him wisdom, that the vision that he has and others share with him might be grounded in reality. Give him wisdom to listen to the divergent voices on this campus–to hear those that are saying something that is important and eternal; to ignore those that are simply speaking the fad of the hour. And give him wisdom, God, to know the difference. Eternal God, give your servant, wisdom.
Our God, we would ask that You would give him courage–courage to do nothing when everybody calls him to do something, and courage to act when others are afraid to move, Give him courage to confront, And in those moments when he feels most alone, give him the courage that comes from knowing You have placed him here, and you are his guide. Lord, give your servant, courage.
Lord God, we ask that You would give this president, Your servant, grace. We pray that as he endeavors to stand for truth, he shall combine in himself not only the love for truth but the love for people that characterized our Lord, Help him, Lord, as he loves truth, to hold it with grace. And as he shows grace, never to diminish truth. Give him grace as he confronts. And at times in which he must say no to everyone’s yes, may he do it with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lord, give Your servant grace.
Lord God, we pray that You would give this president, Your servant, love–a passionate love for You and for Your Word; a steady love for his wife, and for his children; an embracing love for the faculty of this school; a submissive love for the trustees; and a creative love for the women and men who study here. May they know his heart, that is really Your heart in him. Give Your servant love.
We would be embarrassed to ask for all of this for him, but You have called him here, You have placed him in this office, And You are responsible, Lord, to give him what he needs, to be what he needs to be beyond himself. And so we boldly ask that You would give him these things and any other things he needs to be the president of Wheaton College.
Oh, Lord God, give Your servant vision and wisdom and courage and grace and love, so that in the days to come when we look back on the time he has spent here, Your name will have been honored, Your kingdom will have been advanced, and Your will will have been done on this campus as it is in heaven, And we ask this for Jesus’ sake, we ask it for the sake of this institution, we ask it for Your servant’s sake, and for the sake of a world for whom Christ died. Amen.