Students and members of the Life Action team linked arms in prayer in the Savage Memorial Chapel on Oct. 5 to conclude the night services of Union University’s Faith in Practice Week.
Life Action Ministries has a mission “to ignite Christ-centered movements of revival among God’s people that display His glory and advance His kingdom throughout the world.” A traveling team of around 25 came to Union’s campus to lead Faith in Practice week, a week set aside for spiritual renewal.
Students were each given a card to write their prayer requests on as they entered the chapel. The team collected the cards in every service during the week, taking time to pray through each request.
On Thursday night, the speaker, Ryan Loveing, led students in prayer to put to action what was shared in the last few days. He spoke about the significance of praying in unity, explaining that God designed humanity to live life in the context of community.
“What God really longs for us is for us to not just be a doing church but a praying church,” he said.
Loveing encouraged students to practice what he calls “contemplative intimacy” with God, recognizing God’s presence and defining prayer as a constant conversation with God instead of using it just as a mechanism of transition in worship services.
“We’re not coming into God’s presence, we’re already in God’s presence,” he said. “We’re not having to formulate the words we’re going to say because God already knows your heart.”
Loveing looked at Matthew 6:5-13 and explained the model of prayer that Jesus gave to his followers. He said that the approach to prayer should be with a sense of purity.
“When you pray, recognize you are praying as a son or a daughter to a father you loves you,” he said. “You can approach him in any point in time, not just with issues in hand that are urgent, but with anything.”
Loveing asked students to get into small groups for a time of prayer, and students spread out and gathered in aisles and seats around the chapel. Loveing led the students step by step through the model of prayer in Matthew 6, allowing pauses in between for the groups to pray independently.
He started by asking students to express thankfulness to God, then pray that God’s will would be done. It was followed by asking God for provision, purification, a heart of forgiveness, and protection from temptation.
Loveing also asked students to share out loud. Various students spread across the chapel finished the phrases “I praise God for” and “God I thank You for” with words such as faithfulness, friends, or grace.
Each group picked an area such as education, family, or government and prayed together for the specific subject. Students also took time to share within the group and pray for each other.
Loveing, while reading Ephesians 4:1-5, emphasized the importance of unity and asked everyone to link arms or hands while he prayed as an outward demonstration of unified prayer.
“God wants us to be unified, and the greatest way to do that is just to be in prayer,” he said.
Amanda Leatherwood, a sophomore physical education major, enjoyed walking through the biblical model of prayer in a way that is easy for her to replicate in her own time.
“Sometimes in services we learn a lot about God and speak about Him but we don’t acknowledge him every much,” she said, adding that she appreciated how the service was more focused on spending time in God’s presence and applying what she learned.