Prayer never really played a massive role in my faith before Northwestern. I didn’t pray much in solitude and I was always uncomfortable and nervous when praying over a small group, such as my youth group. Prayer was something that I didn’t hold close to my heart. However, this has changed since I’ve been attending Northwestern.
I found out quickly that prayer was fundamental to NWC. The first time I was introduced to this was on a Red101 visit day. We were at Praise and Worship that Sunday evening and the worship team asked us to pray for the person beside us. Obviously with me being the shy person I am, I did not like this at all. In fact, in that moment, I didn’t even remember the name of the person who was hosting me. My prayer was kind of awkward and weak compared to others that were going on around us. Now looking back on that, I don’t know why I got so nervous about praying for others and amongst others. There was no need for that. Prayer is conversation between you and God. There’s no right or wrong way to pray as I had always believed. Prayer is the closet we can get to the presence of God without being in Heaven. It’s a wonderful and impactful part of our faith.
Looking back on it now, prayer has become a major influence on my spiritual journey. I love that in my dorm, North Suites, we have prayer time up in the second floor lounge at 10 every night. This is a great place of community and vulnerability as you can open up to the people you live amongst through prayer requests. Then there is always small group prayer after Discipleship groups on Tuesday nights and small group prayer after Praise and Worship on Sunday nights. It’s a great opportunity to grow amongst one another and pour into each other’s lives as we pray for one another.
One of my favorite things is the prayer labyrinth. I didn’t know about this until I experienced using one during Northwestern’s fall retreat. The prayer labyrinth is a big rug designed as a sort of maze that leads to the middle of the rug. The idea behind it is about clearing your mind and body of the commotion of your life and the world around you as you walk toward the middle. I’ve only done it a few times, and every time I have had an awesome experience of clarity and connection with God. All of these prayer opportunities being available to us is an amazing aspect of Northwestern.
I have grown so much spiritually here and what’s even better is that as I’m growing spiritually, I can see my friends and dormmates grow on their journey as well. Praying in small groups amongst your friends and praying over individuals is an amazing part of this community.