Last December, Calvin Theological Seminary dean of students Jeff Sajdak proposed an idea he thought would help faculty, students, and others be more faithful in prayer. The idea was to use the electronic monitors stationed in the seminary for prayer messaging as a way for the seminary community to be more mindful of prayer and to encourage their faithfulness.
Very quickly a plan emerged. A five-day prayer template was designed to highlight five themes, each beginning with “Praying today for . . .” and reflecting a rotation of five big themes:
- the world
- peace & justice
- the church
- the seminary
The templates are identical in color and design so viewers recognize it immediately as the prayer screen focusing on the day’s suggestions for petition—for praying continually.
Sajdak’s office took on the responsibility for identifying one to three particular needs for each day’s theme, which they forward to Daryl Boersema in IT.
As editor for the monitor messaging that is shown every day, he uploads the week of prayer screens for its daily inclusion in the rotation currently being featured. The start and end times are automated so the process is simple—and effective.
The rotation can also be disrupted for any immediate need of a crisis nature that comes up in the seminary community.
Barb Blackmore said she and her colleagues in the dean of students office have spent much time thinking and talking, even praying about how best to encourage prayer within the seminary community.
It happens before classes begin, it happens in mentoring groups, and it happens when small groups of friends meet for the purpose of prayer.
“Now we have a visible tool to keep those prayer requests before us throughout the day . . . what a great way to be reminded to pray,” she said.
The bottom of every prayer screen includes Paul’s instructions to the church in Thessalonica: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
Anyone who now walks through Calvin Seminary when classes are in session will see this ancient injunction in a high-tech context, a rotating reminder to rejoice, pray, and give thanks, for this is God’s will.
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