“Now I sit me down to study
I pray the Lord I won’t go nutty
If I should fail to learn this junk,
I pray the Lord I will not flunk.
But if I do, don’t pity me at all,
Just sit my butt down in study hall.
Tell my parents I did my best,
Then pile my books upon my chest.
Now I lay me down to rest,
And pray I’ll pass tomorrow’s test.
If I should die before I wake,
That’s one less test I’ll have to take!”
The above exam prayer is a joke. But what exactly should we pray for when we’re praying with regard to exams?
Last month, I attended a talk organised by the National University of Singapore Catholic Students’ Society (NUSCSS). The speaker was Fr Alex Chua, and one of the points he was making struck me. He brought up the idea of “catholic pagans”, who pray selfishly, making requests from God for them to win the lottery, or for students, that they would score well and that their competition would not. It was only then did it occur to me how sometimes we take God for granted, asking him things like we would a wishing well, instead of asking ourselves, how would God want us to pray? After all, Jesus suffered during his life on earth and we as Christians are called to carry our crosses. It doesn’t really make sense then if we continuously ask God to give us a comfortable life, by praying merely for our selfish wants.
For those of us who are students, it can sometimes be confusing thinking of how to pray. We really, really want to do well in our exams. Verses like “Ask and you shall receive” and old sayings like “God helps those who help themselves” seem to contradict each other. So where is the middle line?
I hope that the following prayers, taken from a christian university’s website might help us understand what it is that makes a prayer. I wish all students the very best in preparing for the exams. Continue reading