Over the course of 60 hours this past weekend, more than 100 people visited the prayer room in Morrison House in order to pray for AU’s campus.
The event was planned by a small group of friends who are “passionate about prayer and seeking God’s heart for their lives personally and for the campus,” said Campus Pastor Tamara Shelton.
Shelton said that there were more than 160 visits to the prayer room during the 60-hour-long prayer journey. Students weren’t the only ones to get involved. Faculty, staff and even President John Pistole joined.
“I was moved by the initiative of students, faculty and staff to be intentional in this 60-hour prayer vigil,” Pistole said.
He attended from 1-2 a.m. on Saturday morning, expecting that he would be almost alone. Instead, he was “pleasantly surprised to find nearly a dozen prayer warriors.”
Pistole continued, saying that “it was a meaningful experience for me and I believe all involved, and it’s an honor to be a part of a university that is so focused on prayer as a valuable resource.”
The 60 hours spanned from 5 p.m. on Friday, April 21 to Monday, April 24 at 5 a.m. Time slots for prayer were split off into one-hour sections, and each one was filled—several times by more than one person. There were also three times of worship, each at midnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Several people, including Ryan Perkins, a freshman mechanical engineering and Christian spiritual formation major, orchestrated planning. Perkins felt that the event acted as “just the beginning of what God is going to do in the coming years.”
He also said that “God showed up in some cool new ways” throughout the course of the weekend. Perkins spent about 12 hours at Morrison House, participating in worship and prayer.
“I feel like this event was eye-opening to a lot of people, myself included,” he said. “I know that when God shows up in peoples’ lives like he did, they are going to desire more of him in their lives.”
For Shelton, the weekend’s only goal was to reconnect people with the Holy Spirit.
“There were not any specific goals for this weekend other than to lean into the movement of the Holy Spirit,” she said. “Prayer is essential in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ, and yet so many Christians neglect the practice of prayer or simply don’t know how to pray.”
Phoebe Mangas, a junior national security and Spanish major, said that she had never experienced “such a raw form of God’s glory on campus” as she did throughout the 60 hours.
“I was humbled to hear, watch and feel the Spirit move,” Mangas said. “The vulnerability it took for students to cry out without fear of judgment, to sing at the top of their lungs unabashedly, to get out of God’s way and allow him to speak through their prayers—I’ve never seen it in such a pure form.”
Amandra Bradley, a junior Christian ministries major, had a similar experience.
“I experienced God like I never have before,” she said. “God was totally in that place. He showed me during this event that AU is full of people who are seeking love and we are to work alongside Him to show these people the love that he has to offer.”
Resident Director of Myers Hall, Betsy Reiff, felt that the campus became more unified by the prayers. “The Lord is working on this campus and the weekend prayer event is just the beginning,” she said.
Jenna Singer, a sophomore nursing major, felt God moving in her own life as well as the life of others thanks to the nine hours she spent praying and worshiping.
“I not only was about to spend time on my own listening to God’s voice, but also having discussions with other students and faculty about what we feel God is telling us and the way the he is working on this campus,” Singer said. “Group times were full of meaningful worship as well as students stepping out in faith and praying for one another.”
Shelton said that there have been 24-hour prayer events on campus before, but this was the first time the time of prayer was almost three days long. Going forward, she hopes that students, faculty and staff will be shaped by their experiences and will continue to grow in prayer.
If more events like this are to take place in the future, Shelton believes they will come from a genuine desire to be with God and not to simply host events.
“Although there may be more weekends like this planned in the future, I believe that this will grow out of a simple desire to be in step with God,” Shelton said.