Annual Day of Prayer encourages commitment
Seniors Madison McGinness and Kyle Donn lead worship at chapel during the Day of Prayer service, which was held on Wednesday, March 8, 2012. | Hannah Caprara/THE CHIMES
“Lord, Turn Our Hearts,” the theme for this year’s Day of Prayer, helped students acknowledge what it truly means to turn your heart.The Student Missionary Union’s Day of Prayer brought an opportunity for students and faculty on March 7.
The event allowed the Biola community to pause in the midst of their busy schedules and put aside time for prayer. Stephen Croft, SMU’s Director of Prayer, wanted the theme to really mean something to students and for them to focus on what the Lord was saying to them.
“It’s a reminder to look to the simplicity of God, and everything else falls away,” Croft said.
Chapels facilitate prayer
The day’s events started off with a student-run chapel which included communion and a message from president Barry Corey.
Chalk boards were provided in the SUB and the gym lobby for students to record what the Lord had been telling them. SMU provided 24-hour prayer rooms and ministries such as Revive and the Missions Conference Prayer Team helped to moderate a theme in each room.
There were two chapels in the evening — Call to Manhood and AfterDark. Last year, senior psychology major Ben Longinow started a chapel called Call to Manhood. He organized the chapel to help equip young men to be men of faith, according to Levi Ellis, a senior history major. Ellis is also a part of Call to Manhood's leadership team, which facilitates chapels that are led by faculty and students, both men and women, who speak to Biola men.
AfterDark geared the chapel toward the theme for Day of Prayer. They had the ministry staff and the worship team help plan AfterDark. The ministry wanted students to engage in prayer and dialoguing with God both internally and outwardly, according to AfterDark coordinator Emily Eisenmann, a junior intercultural studies major.
“I believe that’s how we connect with God most intimately is through talking to him and listening to him,” said Eisenmann.
Humility a vital component
A smile lit up Croft’s face when talking about what the Day of Prayer involves. A common thread was that there is no one-word answer in defining prayer. Croft, Ellis and Eisenmann had more than one word to say about what prayer meant to them.
“It’s an opportunity each semester for students to rally around a single vision and intercede in a single vision to come in a unified way to approaching prayer,” Croft said.
According to Ellis, it is not enough to really pray on one day, but he recognizes the attention this event will bring to the practice of prayer.
“The university highlighting the importance of prayer in all of our lives is great and if we are not humbling ourselves before God … there is something wrong with that,” he said.
Croft hoped students would take advantage of the opportunity to humble themselves before God everyday. He wanted to spread the message that students can let their hearts be turned by the Lord if they allow it.
Prayer as an undeserved, relational gift
Eisenmann agreed with Croft that prayer is important on a daily basis. She explained that this event provides students with an opportunity to focus on prayer in their daily lives more than usual.
“I think it’s important to have an event dedicated to that because we can be told in the classrooms time and time again, prayer is valuable … but there is something very special and unique about doing that with your peers at Biola,” Eisenmann said.
Croft acknowledged the fact that there are not enough words to describe what prayer means.
“Prayer is an incredible gift … that we do not deserve, that I do not deserve. It is a deep connection coming into the one power source that really matters … the one relationship that really matters,” he said.
Croft is excited for students to fully commit themselves to the Lord and he hopes that students encourage fellow peers to pray constantly.