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5 Prayers for College Students Heading Back to School

5 Prayers for College Students Heading Back to School

It’s a godless world out there. Secular campus or not, the world’s influence and the schemes of the devil are focused on taking down your loved ones’ values, confidence, and fear of God.

Not only do students need your prayers to hold onto their faith in the midst of a most likely stressful academic year, they need your intercession so they can be shining lights and loving examples of Jesus on their college campuses.

Whether the students on your heart are starting college or returning for another year, they need your prayers for guidance, wisdom, and peace this Fall. Here are five prayers for college students heading back to school:

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A Prayer for College Students to Live Wisely and Well

Lord, as young and invincible as [NAMES] may feel they are, remind them that they won’t live on this earth forever and that life passes by quickly. As Psalm 90:12 instructs, help them to number their days so they may gain a heart of wisdom and so that they won’t live with regrets. Help them to look at each day as a gift from You regardless of what it holds. And help them to see that each day they are given is precious and something they’ll never get back again. Help them to live not only wisely and well, but joyfully, so that whether they eat or drink or whatever they do, they’ll do it joyfully and to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

A Prayer for College Students to Know God is Always with Them

Lord, help [NAMES] to remember that people will come and go in their lives, but there is One who will never leave them, nor forsake them (Hebrews 13:5). Because You are always with them, impress it upon their hearts to invest their time in their relationship with You (in addition to their studies) and to see that as an investment they’ll never regret. Don’t let them forget You or blow You off if others around them have. Give them confidence that You have placed them where they are to be a light and an example of Your love and grace to others who may never otherwise experience You. Help them to be comfortable and confident in their faith, realizing they have something precious to offer others through their knowledge of You and their relationship with You. Lord, may (NAMES) not be negatively influenced by those around them who don’t know You, but may they instead be the ones positively influencing whomever they come in contact with. Remind them at the end of each day – and at the end of their lives –You are the One who has always been there and always loved them the most.

diverse group of college student friends walking together

A Prayer for College Students to Experience Peace and Protection

Lord, instead of stress, help [NAMES] to experience only peace as they bring to you every concern or worry that enters their mind. Lord, anxiety has no place in their lives so help them to be still and know that You are God (Psalm 46:10) and to worry about nothing, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving to God, to present their requests to You. Thank You, Father, that when they pray instead of worry, You will give them the peace of God that transcends all understanding and it will guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). Remind them daily that You are not only in control of everything that concerns them, but You promise to accomplish what concerns them, according to Your goodness and wisdom (Psalm 138:8).

While a pandemic swirls around them, help them to find their trust in You, while still being cautious to protect the health You have given them. Deliver them from fear by helping them to remember that You have not given them a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Assure them, too, that You are a God who makes them dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8). Remind them that life is too short to worry about anything when they know, personally, a God who is more than able to carry their burdens for them. And if they don’t know You personally, God, please bring committed believers into their lives to help them understand Who You are and that You have a loving and wonderful plan for their lives.

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A Prayer for College Students to Find Their Validation in Christ

Lord, in this very confusing time for young people to be alive, whisper to [NAMES] who they are in you: intimately known and endlessly loved (Psalm 139:1-12). Help them to know they are fearfully and wonderfully made and your thoughts of them number more than the individual sands on the seashore (verses 14, 17-18). Lord, please keep them from seeking their validation in anything or anyone but You. Help them to know, deep in their hearts, that they are loved immensely by their Creator and given the awesome privilege of serving their Savior. If they ever doubt who they are or what they’ve been given, bring them to Your Word to remind them that they “are God’s masterpiece. He has created [them] anew in Christ Jesus, so [they] can do the good things he planned for [them] long ago” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT). Remind them, through other believers, that everyone fails, but their failures don’t define them. Help them to realize every day they are defined, instead, by Your words that tell them they are unforgettable (Isaiah 49:15), “sought after” (Isaiah 62:12) and “chosen” (Ephesians 1:4). Warm their hearts with the knowledge that You are a God who specializes in giving them second chances. If they ever start to soak in self-inflicted shame or assaults on their character by the enemy of their souls or others who mean them harm, help them to take their mistakes, failures, and heartaches to You and wait with great anticipation as You restore them into something beautiful and meaningful in their lives. Lord, may these students never fall into the trap of trying to impress others. May they be God-pleasers, not people pleasers. Reinforce to them that Your opinion of them is the only one that really matters, and that You already think the world of them. Bring people around them who can help them set their hearts on pleasing You first.

A Prayer for College Students to Remain Faithful and Pure

A Prayer for College Students to Remain Faithful and Pure

Lord God, please help [NAMES] to choose carefully what they expose themselves to. Give them wisdom to know that what they allow their eyes to see, and their ears to hear, and their minds to process have a way of sticking with them far longer than they had imagined. Give them the strength to obey Romans 12:2 and “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of [their] mind, so that [they] may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (NASB). Renew their minds, Lord, by clearing them daily of the ungodly thoughts this world will bombard them with. Help them to seek You and the things above (Colossians 3:2), and to store up for themselves treasures in heaven (like purity, righteousness in Christ, and a compassionate heart) that this earth cannot rob them of (Matthew 6:19-20). Lord, keep their bodies pure physically (from damaging substances or any kind of abuse or addiction), and sexually (from assault, manipulation, the lure of pornography, or sex outside of marriage). Keep their minds and hearts pure by protecting them from images, experiences, or self-inflicted harm or shame from the enemy of their souls. Help them to truly know that they are precious to you and that their bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit when they are in a saving relationship with Your Son, Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Important Scripture Verses for College Students

Here are some verses you can specifically pray over college students or text to them to encourage them:

“Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it” (Psalm 37:4-5 NASB).

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NLT).

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NASB).

As you pray these prayers for college students heading back to school, remember that God loves them even more than you do and He is able to work all things for good in the lives of those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

For an easy-read devotional to encourage young women heading back to college, see Cindi’s book, God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/IPG Gutenberg UKLtd 

Cindi McMenamin headshotCindi McMenamin is a national speaker, Bible teacher, and award-winning writer who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is also a mother, pastor’s wife, and author of 17 books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 150,000 copies sold), When God Sees Your TearsWhen a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, and When Couples Walk Together:31 Days to a Closer Connectionwhich she co-authored with her husband of 35 years. For more on her speaking ministry, coaching services for writers, and books to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, see her website:

This article is part of our Prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.

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