Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Students testify to the beauty of prayer
I've just come in from saying Evening Prayer in the chapel with five of the students who knocked on my door at about 9.30pm and invited me to lead them in it. They have asked me to join them several times in the last few weeks. When I'm not around they just say the Office themselves, having learnt more or less how to use the breviary. I told them this evening that their desire to say the Prayer of the Church marks a high-point in my time as Chaplain. It's great to sit alongside them in the chapel at these moments. Developing a pattern of personal prayer, I'm sure, is the key to discovering Christ and experiencing his friendship. They know this and they are acting on the divine impulse within. Whatever trials they have to endure in the future, they will remember these evenings when together, before the Blessed Sacrament, they sang God's praises in the psalms, meditated on his word and petitioned him for the needs of the world.
As if this weren't enough, the Christian Union invited me to join them for their prayer meeting this lunchtime (in fact, I'm always welcome at their meetings, I know, and I don't respond to their kindness sufficiently often). Seven of us gathered around a table in one of the lecture rooms. We played some Bible-related word games and then had a discussion about ways of reading the Bible: one method is for a group of people to read 100 passages concerning Christ in the Old and New Testaments over as many days; another is to read the whole Bible during the course of a year. What clearly emerged from the discussion is that we should all be reading the Bible regularly. We finished by splitting into twos and threes and reflecting on the story of Jesus walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33), using the SOAP method ie scripture, observation, application, prayer. We shared insights at the end and I learnt a lot. What an inspiration it has been to spend time today with both these groups of young people! Their faith is strong and natural and through their open allegiance to Christ they are already engaged in the process of evangelising their peers.