PRAYER LUNCHES

Activated - - NEWS - By Elsa Sichrovsky Elsa Sichrovsky is a free­lance writer. She lives with her fam­ily in Taiwan.

When I was in the sec­ond se­mes­ter of my first year in col­lege, some Chris­tian class­mates and I started to feel con­cerned that our faith was get­ting buried amidst our as­sign­ments, friends, clubs, and hob­bies. We didn’t want it to be some­thing that we briefly at­tended to dur­ing the week­ends, and then set aside as we bounced back to the ex­cit­ing and busy pace of col­lege life on Mon­day. The prob­lem was com­pounded by the fact that some of us were now liv­ing far away from the churches and fel­low­ships we were used to, while oth­ers were liv­ing with fam­ily mem­bers who weren’t be­liev­ers. Some­one had the idea of get­ting to­gether twice a week over lunch to pray and swap thoughts about our faith lives. It seemed like such a small step, and though I agreed to try it out, I doubted if this would re­ally help us make Je­sus a big­ger part of our lives. We de­cided to meet on Mon­days and Wednesdays.

Usu­ally, we started with singing some songs. Then some would share spir­i­tual lessons they were learn­ing, while oth­ers talked about an­swered prayers or spe­cial touches of God’s love in their lives. Other times, we dis­cussed ways to make time for prayer and Bi­ble study in the tum­ble and rush of col­lege life, or how to ini­ti­ate con­ver­sa­tions about Je­sus with our friends. Af­ter­wards, we’d ex­change prayer re­quests, which ranged from up­com­ing ex­ams to re­la­tions with our fam­i­lies to ca­reer de­ci­sions. These times of talk­ing about Je­sus in the con­text of daily con­cerns and is­sues re­minded me of how much Je­sus wants to be ac­tively present in my life and in­spired me to in­vest time in strength­en­ing my per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with Him.

Be­fore start­ing these lunches, our friend­ship had been mostly cen­tered on our stud­ies and class ac­tiv­i­ties, but as we con­tin­ued to fel­low­ship to­gether we forged deeper bonds be­cause of our shared faith. In­stead of feel­ing iso­lated and awk­ward about our be­liefs, we en­cour­aged one another be­cause we were a team with a com­mon goal: to “run with en­durance the race God has set be­fore us.” In ad­di­tion, know­ing that we

1 had friends who also val­ued spir­i­tual truths cre­ated a pos­i­tive, mo­ti­vat­ing at­mos­phere that in­spired us to seek out ways to re­vi­tal­ize our spir­its dur­ing our daily rou­tines—lis­ten­ing to an au­dio Bi­ble dur­ing our com­mute, read­ing some spir­i­tu­ally mo­ti­va­tional ma­te­rial be­tween classes, among oth­ers.

I trea­sure the joy­ful mem­o­ries of those prayer meet­ings, be­cause that’s where I learned that there’s al­ways a way to in­clude Je­sus in my life, no mat­ter how pre­oc­cu­pied I am or how crammed my sched­ule is. Seek­ing out in­ter­ac­tion with those who are like-minded strength­ens my com­mit­ment to be­ing a dis­ci­ple of Je­sus. The more I ex­pe­ri­ence the rel­e­vance of His prin­ci­ples in my daily strug­gles and watch the won­der­ful ways in which He works in the lives of my broth­ers and sis­ters in the faith, the less I’m in­clined to sec­tion Je­sus off to the week­end.

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