With a new school year comes a new group of student leaders stepping forward to lead in every section of campus life, including in the residence halls, freshman LART groups, and campus ministries. Dillon Lockwood, senior and former RA for Smith Hall, is the new head of our campus Prayer Ministry. “I’m new to prayer ministry,” Lockwood said, “But the spirit definitely led me to [it].” Lockwood was recruited by Becca Palmer, head of spiritual formation on campus, to lead prayer ministry this year.
Lockwood has a vision to expand the ministry and to help it grow, a vision for a spirit-driven group of people learning the power of prayer together. According to Lockwood, this vision includes the people involved “getting together and learning what it means to pray, what it means to communicate with our Father while also learning what it means to communicate with the Holy Spirit inside of us and to pray using that, living in step with the spirit as an act of prayer.”
“I want it to be very open to what the needs of the group are, and what the needs of campus are, and what the needs of even outside the campus are,” Lockwood said.
There are quite a few ways the ministry will work to understand and meet those needs this semester. “We will have a meeting every week, and I plan to have a lot of extra optional opportunities, such as 10:07 worship, where the prayer team waits around the outside for those who want to be prayed with, praying for chapel every week or just going out into the community and seeing where the spirit decides to lead.”
Lockwood worked with Palmer and Tamara Shelton, AU’s new campus pastor, to create a spirit-led time of prayer before chapel each week. “We go into the chapel and we just pray over the seats, pray in the balcony, pray everywhere,” Lockwood said. “Then a couple minutes before we start we pray over the worship band and we pray over the speaker that day.”
The goal of this time is to “cover Reardon in prayer,” to welcome the Holy Spirit into chapel and to ask for the presence of God to flow over the students and faculty. Lockwood notes that there are sign-up sheets for these times of prayer, but everyone is welcome to show up any week that they have time between 10:30 and 11:00 on Tuesdays or Thursdays, even if they can only show up once or twice.
Those interested in getting in involved with prayer ministry can email Lockwood at email@example.com and ask to be included in the email list. This email list will send updates with all upcoming prayer ministry meetings and events. The first meeting will be the evening of Monday, Sept. 19. The meetings will be on Monday evenings from 6-7:30p.m. Lockwood said that he would like the group to read through a book about prayer this semester, “kind of like a small group.” This is one of the major changes to prayer ministry, a focus on not just praying, but on learning to pray.
One of the benefits of this ministry is that Prayer Ministry requires less commitment than other campus ministries. There is no training to perform and no waiver to sign; just show up when you can, whether that be once a semester or every week. Lockwood said he wants it to be “as accessible as possible.” This is the larger vision for the ministry, that their meetings would be “a time for rejuvenation, and also a time to use your gifts.”