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Field full of crosses leads college students to prayer

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–Fields covered in simple wooden crosses may bring up thoughts of developing countries where crosses mark the graves of people killed in political struggles. But at National Collegiate Week at LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center, Aug. 3-9, the crosses stood for camaraderie in prayer.

More than 200 crosses were set up on the open field across from the Prayer Garden at the New Mexico conference center, each representing a college or a church with students attending Collegiate Week. Tacked on each cross was a 4×6-inch card with the group’s or school’s name and a number of prayer requests. As the students attending the conference had time, they could go to the area and pray for the needs listed on the cards.

The crosses were set up as a way of reinforcing “PrayerNation,” the theme of the week. The college students were asked to devote the week to prayer for their schools, the country and the world.

While the size and location of the schools varied, there were similarities to the prayer requests on their lists.

Among the requests Hardin-Simmons University in Texas asked for were prayer for the incoming freshmen, chapel services and international students.

Northeast Oklahoma A&M College asked for prayer for incoming freshmen, new leadership and mission volunteers.

Incoming freshmen were also a prayer request for Iowa State University, as were internationals and all Christian groups on their campus.

On their card, students from the University of British Columbia included “Movie on the Knoll,” a relationship-building event they sponsor for the campus. They also requested prayer for the other campuses in British Columbia that have no Christian influence at all.

Southwest Missouri State University students asked others to pray that their participants would have a willingness to serve, that God would call people to attend the BSU events and to see lost co-workers on the campus come to faith.

Connecticut College asked for prayer for future Bible studies, a new place for their Sunday night worship service to meet and for more acceptance of the BSU on the CC campus.

California State, San Marcos, asked for prayer for ministry vision, for a “Read-through-the-Bible” marathon and for outreach.

Regardless of the number of Christians on the campus or the size of the ministry, the cards of all the schools indicate that Baptist Campus Ministries are serious about sharing the good news of Christ with other college students.

Katherine Simmons from Texas Christian University said she had set a goal of praying for each school before the end of the week. “It is just so cool to see all these schools, some I’ve never even heard of. But they all need prayer.”

Four students from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, had come together to pray for other schools. The word, cool, seemed to describe their experience well.

Melissa Cheliras, a Mission Service Corp volunteer at UML, said, “I think it is so cool to see all these schools and know what their prayer needs are and to know I can pray for them.”

Sarah Plude said, “It’s different for us [at UML]. We’re all from New England, so a lot of our needs are different from schools like Louisiana College, who brought, like, 50 people. They pray to reach their community. We pray to reach our campus.”

Brandon Hodgkin said, “I think it’s great to look out and see all these crosses and know how many schools are here. It’s cool to know that other students we don’t even know will be praying for us and our school.”

Some of the students at Collegiate Week were on their knees in front of the crosses by 5 a.m. each day. All day long, steady streams of students walked to the field of crosses and to the Prayer Garden.

More than 2,600 college students attended National Collegiate Week, sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Next year’s event will be at Glorieta Aug. 2-8. It is the largest annual event hosted at the conference center.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: COLLEGIANS IN PRAYER, CROSSES & PRAYER, AT THE CROSS, LSU’S REMINDER and NEVADANS IN PRAYER.

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  • Polly House