On a Christian Campus
I’ve been thinking about prayer a lot lately. At a recent dorm hall meeting, we were all assigned prayer partners. A prayer partner is a friend we meet with for an hour once a week to share the things that are weighing on our hearts and pray about them together. We were encouraged to pray for our prayer partner not just for that hour but also throughout the week. My partner and I got a bit of a slow start, but the few times we’ve met have been exactly what I needed. It’s really remarkable to hear someone praying out loud to God about the things that have been troubling you.
There are many other prayer opportunities on campus. Twice a week, I take a moment to worship and pray with a small group of students at an Evening Prayer service. We use an abbreviated version of one of the worship services in the hymnal (Vespers, Compline, etc.), read from scripture, and sing a hymn and a psalm. The service ends in silent prayer and meditation. At first it was a bit awkward, sitting in silence thinking, “Why is everyone still sitting here? When can I leave?” Once I got used to it, however, it became a truly worshipful experience. To worship with fellow Christians and then silently speak with God is amazing. I find myself thanking Him for this community more and more every day.
I never thought I would cherish personal prayer so much, but I’m beginning to realize how necessary it is to strengthen my relationship with God. Jesus, who is literally God in the flesh, still found it important to talk to his heavenly Father.
“After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.” Mark 6:46 (NIV)
“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:”Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one I in them and you in me so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17 (NIV)
My R.A. put up a list in the bathroom (our little community’s bulletin board) of suggested things to do with your prayer partner . She included several verses on the subject of prayer. One of them said,
“For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26 NIV).
As part of His sanctifying work, the Spirit actually gives me the words to say when I don’t have them. What an awesome God we have, who desperately wants us to talk to Him and gives us the means to do so!