A Prayer Before Writing for Academia

Post Author: McKinna Daugherty

God Above All Things,

 In these moments while the document loads and my fingers rest on the keyboard grant me first an emptiness.
Remove the to-do list that waits impatiently in the corner of my mind.

Quiet the voice saying, “You’re not ready, you’re not good enough, you don’t have anything to say.”

Shield me from the imagined judgmental gaze of my advisor.
Grant me first an emptiness, an openness, a mind unchained by anxiety.

Grant me then a fullness. Where insecurity lurks, pour out confidence and curiosity.
Where there is fatigue, fill me with generosity and energy. Where there is fear, fill me with courage.

 Shelter me in your strength and quiet the world around me.
For these few hours grant me peace and solitude in my thoughts.

 Bless this mind you’ve given and help me use it fully. Help me seek and push the limits of my abilities.
Remind me that I have read enough, I have enough, I am enough,
and with time this paper will come to a place where it, too, is enough (at least for now).

 In Your name I pray,


McKinna Daugherty is a commissioned minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and will be ordained this August. She will graduate in June with an M. Div from the University of Chicago Divinity School where she has studied as a Disciples Divinity House Scholar. Her thesis is an ethical constructive of sexuality education curriculums in Protestant contexts. In her current ministry she serves as the Chapel Coordinator for the Divinity School’s multi-faith prayer service, and is actively seeking her next ministry context .

photo credit: bennylin0724 via photopin cc

23 replies
  1. Lini
    Lini says:

    Got an assignment due in 12 hours… This is just what I needed to still my beating heart. Thank you and God bless!

  2. Kateri
    Kateri says:

    Oh my gosh, thank you so much for this prayer. I almost started crying when I read this. What you said in your prayer was exactly what happens to me. I am so afraid when writing a paper…and the realness of it, while waiting for the document to load, made it so much more personal than anything else I have read. My anxiety about papers keeps me from doing them, and then get poor grades. Thank you.

    • Megan Fitz
      Megan Fitz says:

      I feel exactly the same way, Kateri! I came across this in a desperate google search for some source of encouragement. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this McKinna!!!! Praying for all who need inspiration from the Holy Spirit right now in their writing!

  3. Julia Black
    Julia Black says:

    Thanks so much for this, really blessed me this morning! The imagined judgement gaze of my supervisor really got me.

  4. Linda Williams
    Linda Williams says:

    Good morning and Thank you for sharing a wonderful and much needed prayer for me. I am taking a course that requires more reading and papers to write than I expected. I cry when I have to write and submit my papers. Now it’s midterm and i need to write papers on what I learned and also make comments on the others that are in the group!! I know God lead me here to read your prayer and read the others comments. Paper is due Wednesday morning, pray for me


  5. Austin Shelley
    Austin Shelley says:

    Thank you, McKinna. Beautifully and necessarily worded–and a balm for my soul as I burn the midnight oil to meet a deadline for an article for publication.

  6. Rae-Ann Hendeshot
    Rae-Ann Hendeshot says:

    Thank you SO much for taking the time to write and post this prayer. It is just what I needed, and this is exactly how I feel inside. Again, thank you so much. God bless you and may He show you His goodness today.

  7. E25
    E25 says:

    Thank you for this prayer as I have been feeling defeated by my Masters research been trying to complete since 2015 with much personal and academic difficulties. Thank you once again.


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