During the past two school years, a handful of music students at the University of Houston met in a classroom every Friday morning at 9am, not for a class, but to pray for each other, their lost friends and their music department.
Founded during the 2015-2016 school year, students Jonathan Keller and Matt Vanderworp, started the music prayer group with the purpose of having a place to connect with other Christians who shared the same passion for music. They reached out to their friends Joanna Reeder and Nathan Gross who went to the same church and were also music majors, and asked them to join.
“We realized God really wanted us to be praying for our music school because He’s active and He’s wanting to make His name known in that part of campus,” Keller said.
The music prayer group includes both graduate and undergraduate students from various denominations and a few different ministries on campus and churches in the area. When they meet, they write prayer requests on a white board and pray through them together.
“Usually we don’t just mention [the prayer requests], we talk about them,” Stephen Ash, a grad student and member of the group, said. “I think as we’ve gotten to know each other better, it frees us to be more intimate with prayer requests and feel comfortable asking each other to pray for things that are a little more personal.”
Keeping this small, intimate atmosphere was important to the group, so people were only invited in through word-of-mouth. Reeder said she was grateful to be united with a group of musicians in Christ since most campus ministries and churches don’t understand the music part of her life the way her friends in the music prayer group did.
“If I ask for prayer for something specific in my life that involves music,” she said,”they totally get it and get what’s going on. The coolest part is it has helped us keep a united presence in our department. Knowing prayer is happening and supporting each other in that way has definitely helped connect other Christians.”
Mary Katherine Schober, another grad student, soon joined the group in the fall of 2016. Having been involved in a tight-knit music Bible study during her time as an undergrad at LSU, she longed for community among other Christian music majors.
“I was kind of lonely and struggling in my faith a little bit when I came here.”Schober said. “I really missed that weekly fellowship with friends and time in the word on a consistent basis.”
After finding the music prayer group, she decided to fill in the gap by starting a music Bible study like the one she was involved in before. Many from the music prayer group joined her, and they began meeting to study scripture together on Friday nights. The Bible study then grew and involved students from other departments as well.
The music prayer group is set to most likely continue in this next school year, because there is nothing else like it on campus that brings together music majors to pray for each other and their classmates, as well as look through scripture together.
“All Christians are called to pray but we have also been called to make music,” Ash said. “The fact is, most musicians are very lost. We work with so many very lost people on a daily basis that it’s such a blessing, a relief and a necessity to get together and call on God, and ask him for wisdom and strength.”
Janelle is a junior Journalism major at The University of Texas at Austin. After college, she hopes to become a foreign correspondent to continue sharing people’s stories. Janelle is involved with the Baptist Student Ministry, Austin Stone Community Church, and is a Campus Renewal Media intern.