“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”
– Max Lucado
As tough as life at AC can be sometimes, there are moments that help me remember the reason I came here and these are the memories I will take with me when my time comes to an end.
A few weeks ago, a friend in my house and I decided to start praying together every night because it was a tradition we were missing from home and we wanted to continue to get closer to God. It started small, just reading the bible and praying in the boy’s drying room and slowly it has taken off. People would be in the room when we were leaving and were curious what it was like to pray. They would sit and listen and experience praying often for the first time in their lives. As more and more people heard what we were doing, they continued to come join and have even started to participate, whether it be reading a bible passage or praying out loud. Now, it snowballed to about 15 people every night coming to our dorm, squeezing together on beds and the ground, all gathered to hear God’s word and share in a time of fellowship.
I think Madeleine L’Engle sums it up really well by saying, “We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are, and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” These nightly prayers are many people’s first interactions with Christianity and by keeping the environment open and friendly, we try to help challenge to stereotype of Christianity as a close-minded religion and one that condemns people to hell if they don’t believe what we believe.
Our nightly prayers have continued to evolve, with people slowly having the courage to pray out loud for the first time. Hearing people who have never prayed before, who don’t necessarily believe in God, is such a moving experience. And people pray in their own language and style, which continues to enrich the experience for all of us. When my time at AC comes to an end, this will definitely be one of the memories that I remember the most.