College students are hardly ever still. Our lives are full of competing voices and activities. We watch TV and we text and we drink a five dollar cup of coffee and we do homework. There is hardly ever a moment where I am doing less than two things at once, let alone nothing.
I think this is why prayer is such a hard concept to come by at college. Prayer requires silence and stillness and focus, three things that most college students don’t even find as they go to sleep, let alone in the regular day. It requires time to seriously process and put into words your life, dreams, praises, and sorrows. It requires time to connect.
I fear true connection with God, I think. I also fear the stillness that connection requires.
The thought of truly stopping everything in my life, all the different balls I’m juggling, and resting in the stillness of the current moment defies everything I’m told. Every day, people encourage me to go out, to make the most of your college years, to study harder, to be more, to work out, to do, do, do. Honestly, stillness seems like a crime.
We even forget to encourage prayer. We encourage joining a church, a small group, and doing personal devotion. We encourage reading your bible every day, and talking to God throughout the day. However, we don’t talk much about really spending time in prayer, listening for God’s voice and trying to gauge His plans and hopes for us. Instead, we spit out a “to do list” for God (e.g. please help me find a boyfriend, pass my next test, make friends with so and so, and also maybe lose ten pounds) and just wait for Him to check all the items off the list.
Prayer is a conversation, and not a transaction. It’s connecting with God, even when it’s scary.
Encouraging Prayer in College
We need to start encouraging prayer in college. Prayer is what keeps you centered, what allows you to engage in conversation, gain encouragement, and rejoice fully in the relationship you are gifted with God. There is no better way to allow God’s presence to resonate in your life than to spend time worshiping, praising, and simply being with Him every day.
Let’s encourage that more. Let’s encourage students to find God daily, not just a quick prayer before they fall asleep, or a prayer in church, but a time of conversation with the God who loves and pursues them so faithfully. Let’s encourage doing life with God, and not just our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s encourage real community with God, and not just each other. Let’s encourage pursuing God with the same passion and loyalty and love that He pursues us. Let’s even encourage just trying.
Let’s encourage prayer.
Callie Hyde is an honors student at Baylor University. She writes for a blog called Sincerely, Callie (www.sincerelycallie.com) and is part of Baylor Spiritual Life’s Freshman Retreat, a small group leader at Highland Baptist Church, a Green’s Scholar, and co-creator of Open Book, a group for Baylor freshmen that encourages fellowship and faith with other Christians seeking mentorship and friendship.