Prayer Ministry sees changes with new leader

Students of Prayer Ministry sit on bleachers and smile for the camera

With every year and every new leader, Anderson University’s campus prayer ministry takes new form. This year Michaela McCurdy, sophomore biology major and Spanish complimentary major, is revamping the ministry as the student leader.

McCurdy never planned on leading the prayer ministry. It wasn’t until after applications were due for student leadership positions that leading the prayer ministry was an idea for McCurdy. Campus Pastor Tamara Shelton approached McCurdy because they were still looking for someone. After spending some time thinking about it, McCurdy realized she was being called to lead.

Becca Palmer, director of spiritual formation said about McCurdy, “Michaela has a real vision for connecting this campus.” Her biggest addition is a prayer network around campus. Essentially, McCurdy has made connections with students, professors, and staff members around campus who are involved in various groups such as academic departments, clubs, sports, and residence halls. All these connections will pray for their specific group of people.

The idea stemmed from a book she was reading while preparing for a Tri-S trip to India last May. The book focused on the Kairos movement and how God is working through local leaders to change the hearts of Indian people. This struck McCurdy. She felt like a Kairos movement was happening on AU’s campus. “I began praying that God would raise up local leaders, throughout campus and in different dynamics,” said McCurdy.

The network isn’t the only thing the prayer ministry does. They also lead prayer on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in Reardon Auditorium before chapel for the speaker and for the Holy Spirit to move in the coming service. They also have a time of prayer and worship in Miller Chapel every Thursday planned by a group of people.

This time of prayer and worship started when a student came to Shelton with a passion to start a prayer night. Then it turned into a group of students having conversations about what a night of prayer would look like. Their hope is to minister to people through prayer. McCurdy described it as “practicing prayer and practicing the presence of God.”

Word quickly spread around campus about these nights and they became popular. With its growing popularity, it became an official part of the prayer ministry this year. Every Thursday in Miller Chapel looks slightly different. Currently, a lot of nights are spent teaching about prayer. “In order to get things going this year there is more teaching about prayer, so that we can understand the nature of prayer,” said Shelton.

Those behind the nights at Miller Chapel spend the week praying, and paying to attention to how they believe God is leading them in what to do that week. Ultimately, these nights are meant to help students learn and practice prayer.

“The idea is not just to come up with words ourselves, but quiet ourselves enough to listen to what the Holy Spirit might be saying,” said Shelton. “Our prayers can become this fix-it mentality in our culture, ‘What can I say that will fix the problem?’ rather than listening to the Holy Spirit on how we can bless this person.”

Students of the Prayer Ministry sit around a campfireThe prayer ministry also had another new project this year: a weekend-long retreat off-campus on Oct. 20-22. It was hosted off-campus at Yellow Creek Lake Camp in hopes of giving students a break from classes for a weekend in order to reconnect with God.

The focus of the retreat was on prayer and gave time to allow students to practice what they are learning and to simply experience God. “We want to provide space for rest, and give students time to experience and discover how they best connect with God,” said Palmer. The retreat came back to the idea of getting away and creating a space to reconnect with God.

“We just want to get them away,” said Shelton. “Our lives are so crazy busy, and it’s hard to slow down. We need to learn how to develop an inner sanctuary of peace even in the chaos of life, and that’s not something that comes naturally.”

The ministry tried to plan a retreat last year, but it did not work out. This year they received a grant from the Center for Career and Calling specifically for a spiritual retreat. They also had a lot more interest from students. They eventually had to close off registration at 38 students. “The hope is that students would experience something that would cause them to want to experience more of God after this weekend,” said Shelton.

McCurdy has many hopes of what will happen through the prayer ministry this year. She believes God is moving through this campus, and it’s starting with prayer. At the end of last year, the prayer ministry had an entire weekend of prayer where students and faculty signed up for hour-long shifts to pray for campus. She hopes to have more weekends like that throughout the year.

McCurdy would love to see more people get involved in the ministry. When asked how students can get involved she said she loves sitting down with those who are interested and just talking. “I just want to sit down, get coffee, and hear their heart,” said McCurdy. “I want to know where and how God uses them most through prayer.”

Hannah Scott is a junior double majoring in public relations and political science. She is writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of Marketing and Communication, through the Advanced Feature and Magazine Writing class.

Anderson University is a private, liberal arts institution in Anderson, Indiana with a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service in the church and society. Anderson University is recognized among top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, Colleges of Distinction, and The Princeton Review. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university now offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music education, and theology.

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