“All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer” Acts 1:14a
It has become an important habit for students to share prayer requests when they gather for Evening Prayer with Lutheran Student Community at Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on Thursday nights. Each week, before worship begins, we take time to chat and check in a little with each other, catching up on the news of the week and welcoming new people. Just before worship begins, we ask around the circle what we should pray about. As students share the things they want to pray about, the joys and concerns on their minds, our community hears each other and is knit together.
Sometimes the things people want to pray about make us laugh. Things like, weather-related requests (thank you for a rare sunny day or please bring snow soon) or funny experiences. Often, several people will ask for prayers about upcoming exams or group projects or interviews. Prayers are requested for sick friends, upcoming birthdays or travel, and incredibly stressful weeks. In a community where loved ones are often far away, prayers for the struggles of family members or distant friends are especially poignant. Prayers often reflect the rhythms of the semester, especially during mid-terms and when finals loom close. We often pray about issues on campus, in the nation, or the wider world. Talking together before worship about sorrows, celebrations, fears, struggles, and joys brings us together in a unique and important way
Asking for prayers is not always easy. I am certain that many students who have shared prayer requests through the years had never before asked anyone to pray for anything. Yet, when they showed up on a Thursday evening, the community invited and welcomed them to share what was on their mind and offered to lift it to God in thanks or to seek help. The respect and sincerity students offer and experience gathering prayers (even when we are laughing) matters so much.
Prayer is a vital part of the life of faith. Lent invites us to look more deeply at the role of prayer in our lives following Jesus. Though prayer is often an individual activity, there is something transformative about praying together and lifting up the things we’ve asked each other to pray about.
Campus Minister, Lutheran Campus Ministry at Penn State
The people of Grace reflect on the One Body of Christ for the 2022 Lenten Devotional. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily for a new reflection.