Prayer Room Blog Post- Mallory
One of my favorite writings about prayer is this:
“Prayer in an intimate conversation with God—real, demanding, loving, and engaged conversation between a real person and the real, living God. This conversation initiates, sustains, and augments a dynamic relationship full of risk and joy. We bring to this relationship the whole of who we are—history and culture, body and personality, affectivity and sensibilities, training and work. We bring to this relationship our very own memories, hopes, sorrows, disappointments, and achievements; we bring our very own deepest joys, most humiliating moments, and most excruciating pain. We bring our selves to the One who loves us most completely.”
-M. Shawn Copeland
The first time I read this I was a college student and active at ISU Wesley. I was reading a book for a small group led by a fellow student and friend. I remember reading this paragraph about prayer and being so struck by the complexity and rawness of it. This writing captures the essence of prayer as powerful, intimate, scary, and comforting.
As a college student, this helped transform some of my thoughts about prayer. Now, as I sit here many years later as the campus minister of this ministry that I called home as a student, I still find these words about prayer incredible moving. As I have continued to learn and grow, my understanding of prayer has also continued to grow and change. As I read through this powerful quote about prayer this time (after reading it hundreds of times throughout the years since college), I’m struck by the idea of diversity and uniqueness in prayer.
It reminds me how unique prayer is for each person who prays.
Of course, prayer is and needs to be incredibly communal. But when we bring ourselves to God in prayer, we each bring different thoughts, worries, struggles, cares, loves, sorrows, etc. When we pray, we are in various states of vulnerability with a God who knows us completely.
I love that prayer is unique for every person. I love that we experience prayer in different ways. This is one of the most incredible parts of our 24-7 prayer weeks for me. To know that a community of people is joining together to pray non-stop for a week, yet each person who prays has their own unique experience with God.
God works in so many ways during our weeks of prayer that happen each semester. God is working right now in this little, crooked room in a church basement. Students bring their vulnerabilities to this space—a space that allows them to take off their masks, tear down their walls, and expose their rawest thoughts and emotions to a loving, comforting God. People have transformative moments in this room: lives are changed, decisions are made, discernment happens, tears are shed, laughter is heard, songs are sung, and pain is felt. The Holy Spirit’s
presence is palpable in this dark little room. And the Holy Spirit is moving each of us to live into the uniqueness we bring to our prayer.
As this semester’s prayer week continues, my prayer for each person who finds themselves in here praying is that they are able to feel God’s presence. And if someone isn’t able to feel God’s presence right now, I pray that this community is a place to find love, acceptance, and belonging. May all who enter this room know that God is with us in our chaos and in our peace. What a beautiful reminder as we bring our whole, unique selves to this God who loves us so incredibly.