Across a quiet campus, in dorm rooms, halls, classrooms and the prayer chapel, Corban’s student body is joining together in prayer. There are groups for specific dorms, as part of CLT, for those interested in missions, and even for faculty members. The variety of groups allows any students to meet and interact with other people who share their interests and passions.
Many students are familiar with True North Corps, but not everyone knows that you can find them every Tuesday night in the prayer chapel. Jacob Bowdoin and Karen Ramos lead this missions-focused prayer time.
They spend time praying for specific missionaries, needs in different countries, and sometimes for individuals who are considering short term missions, said Bowdoin. He also explained how praying for missions helps you move the focus to others.
“It’s good to not always be praying about ourselves,” he said.
He even related the discipline of prayer and the intentional focus on God to the Israelites, and how God gave them constant reminders to help them focus on Him.
Balyo’s prayer group, led by Karen Ramos, is new this year. Ramos felt God calling her to this for some time and has finally acted on it. She worked with RD Katy Drake, as well as the RAs, to find a time and place that would work. Now they meet Wednesday nights, spending an hour in prayer focusing on requests that have been written over the week. Prayer containers have been placed in each hall for girls to submit their prayer requests.
“I see changes in their attitudes for prayer and a growing sense of community within our group,” Ramos said.
Prewitt Prayer is another dorm-based prayer group. It is led by Savannah Stoner and Megan Turner, who also collect prayer requeststhroughout the week, but each week also includes a different exercise.
“We’ve done a prayer walk, prayed over current events in the newspaper, done a rewriting of the Psalms, done daily examimation prayer, and written letters to God,” said Turner.
They also have plans for the future, including praying over each hall in PVG and doing a 24-hour prayer, Stoner explained. Turner added that their desire for the group is to allow girls to meet new people and overcome any fears they may have about praying aloud.
Maintaining a prayer group takes effort, as those in the halls of Van Guilder are aware. According to Will Bassham, last year the men of VG participated in “Praise the Lordy at Ten Forty,” in which the guys would meet in the hall for 10 minutes of prayer every night.
This year, however, the group stopped meeting when Marshall Ardnt stepped down because he felt that being an RA would make the guys feel that the meeting was mandatory. Bassham hasn’t given up hope, though, as he saw the effectiveness of the group in the past and intends to resurrect it.
“It was bringing prayer and praise to God, and I would hate to see it go away,” he said.
For many, making the time during weeknights to pray can be difficult. However, the few dedicated enough to lead these groups, those who have responded to God’s calling, have seen how prayer can change the campus.
Participants “learn what others are going through and know that we are not alone, and are able to care for and encourage one another,” Ramos explained.
Prayer groups aren’t just for students. Daren Milionis in involved with a group of faculty members who gather weekly to pray over the faculty and staff by department, as well as other concerns for Corban. This prayer group has been meeting for almost 10 years, and Milionis has seen many answered prayers, related to finances, illnesses, and leadership. But this isn’t always the case.
“Sometimes we are not able to know the outcome of our prayers,” said Milionis. “However, we are called to pray and we are privileged to do so!”
Prayer is not exclusive or reserved for special occasions. It is something that has been embraced by groups from every part of campus.
Bowdoin also brought up the simple truth of prayer: “It helps us reorient our focus, helping us realize what’s beyond.”