Several students at Dakota Adventist Academy are leading out in focusing their school on the importance of prayer. Senior Amelia Reiswig began a recent worship talk this way: “Prayer is a powerful thing, and I have felt many times how much prayer works and how much it can improve your walk with God.”
A few days earlier she had asked the student body and staff to write prayer requests on slips of paper available at the front desk and drop them into a box. As she continued her worship talk she said that she hoped their participation would help because sometimes writing your prayers is easier and can assist in creating a habit.
“Prayer chains are visual,” she continued. “But prayer usually isn’t visual, so it’s cool that we can find a new understanding of prayer. Plus there is a lot of symbolism with the shape of prayer chains… I want everyone to see this cross and remember where the focus of worship should be. It should be on Jesus. I used red to symbolize His blood because we often forget the sacrifice He made for us… Why can’t we sacrifice a little of our time for Him too? He loves us so much that He would die for every single one of us even at our worst moments. I used white to symbolize that because He died for us, our sins are forgiven. They are made white as snow—every single sin forgiven.”
Reiswig then posed four questions to the students.
- Do you focus on yourself or others?
- Do you feel like your prayers don’t pass the ceiling?
- Do you take prayer as seriously as you should?
- Do you pray sincerely, trusting that He’ll answer even if it’s not how you expect?
Reiswig’s worship talk on prayer made an impact on several sophomore students. As a class they chose to emphasize prayer, praying in small groups during class or with other students and teachers in the halls.
One of the seniors witnessed this and it made an impression on him. He expressed his gratitude to the sophomores, giving them encouragement to continue their focus on prayer for others.
This same senior spent time talking to a friend about being spiritual. That night the friend could not sleep and spent the night in prayer asking God for guidance in his life. The next day, pastors Brad Gienger and Loren Nelson III spoke with this student, giving him an opportunity that was the fulfillment of his night of prayer.
But that’s not the end of the story. A Friday afternoon chapel period was dedicated to prayer with students and staff first forming groups of seven or eight and praying for the school. Students then divided into groups of two to pray for each other and finally each spent a few minutes in prayer by themselves.
A group of six seniors made a plan to talk to their classmates about spirituality, and about how they could come together as a team. As a result, at joint worship the seniors invited students to join them each morning after worship for a short devotional from the book Messages to Young People and to pray for each other and for the school.
“God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform” is a phrase most of us know. We may not always understand it or how it applies to our everyday lives. However, when God touches hearts it is an amazing thing to watch.
This article was also published in the March/April 2015 print edition of OUTLOOK. It was written by Sharon Heinrich, development director for Dakota Adventist Academy.