From 11 a.m. on March 31 to 11 a.m. on April 1, CSU students and employees participated in a 24-hour prayer vigil.
Jimmy Carr, a Youth Pastoral major, was the driving force behind the idea. He heard of another organization holding this kind of vigil as both a ministry opportunity and a way to “embolden their community.” This, coupled with his personal conviction to bear others’ burdens from Galatians 6:2, led him to propose the idea to Fred Defendorf, director of student activities.
“God kept prodding me about prayer’s power,” says Carr, “and I thought the vigil would help us unite.” Defendorf spoke about the enthusiasm of Carr’s initiative: “Students come to me all the time with ideas, but Jimmy immediately planned everything he wanted to do with this event.”
Students and employees signed up to pray in half-hour time blocks in the university’s Murphy Memorial Library. Universal prayer requests hung on a cross in the middle of the historic library space. Students wrote individual prayer requests on index cards, giving vigil participants specific ways to pray for one another. During overnight hours, students united to pray within their own residence halls.
The prayer vigil encouraged an outpouring of campus-wide prayer requests. Carleigh Smith, an instructor of English communications, participated in the vigil Thursday morning. She recognized the importance of these requests. “The vigil reminded me that when I hear someone’s need, I should pray for that need prior to anything else.” Furthermore, the students’ requests revealed a God-centered focus. “A lot of the students had requests about identity. Amid their struggles, they prioritized growth and identity in Christ. In the prayer requests, I saw students who wanted to identify themselves in Christ amid their difficulties,” says Smith.
According to Defendorf, the prayer vigil, “shows we care about each other—and the school—spiritually. Sometimes students get lost in education and staff get lost in work. But we are the Church. And this is a perfect example of what the Church looks like.”
Kevin J. Waldron, Communications-Writing major