Community event brings students and faculty together for time of prayer

Prayer and worship are common occurrences at APU, but there is nothing quite like doing both of these things next to a warm fireplace.

The S’mores and Prayer event, created by the Spiritual Formation Service and Leadership Team, combined simple acoustics with meaningful conversation in order to foster a unique sense of community.

The event took place at the fireplace next to Hartwig Prayer Chapel following the bi-weekly evening prayers chapel. It was provided as a way for students and faculty members to have a conversation with God and forget about their troubles.

Students and staff were given the opportunity to stop by for a quick snack and discussion. While some stayed for the whole event, many were encouraged to stop by for a few minutes to reflect and pray.

For many this event was a successful stress-reliever, and this was not only because of the s’mores. People in different stages of faith had the chance to build their relationship with God, including junior history major Sarah Knechtel, who was invited to this event through a friend.

“My friend told me there would be s’mores,” Knechtel said. “That was my initial draw. But I know that I need to get a closer relationship with God, so I thought it would be a good opportunity.”

The event provided many different ways to connect with God. People wrote their worries both on a poster against Hartwig Prayer Chapel and on rocks placed below a small cross beside the fireplace.

For sophomore Christian ministries and communication studies major Savannah Coon, the event proved how prayer could be done collaboratively.

“Prayer doesn’t have to be a solitude thing,” Coon said. “It can be something you do with others in a community.”

During the event, the most popular way attendees connected with God was through the worship. For sophomore social work major Reyes “Lupita” Guadalupe, the acoustics playing in the background stood out the most despite her arrival near the end of the night. Guadalupe stated that she was still able to see how emotional it was.

“I love worship, so hearing peers worship together on a normal night is just beautiful,” Guadalupe said.

People were also provided the opportunity to share their worries with Spiritual Formation Service and Leadership Team leaders. For some it can be easy to feel alone and forget about God’s presence in the wake of inner struggle, but this event encouraged people to share their feelings and to know that they are never truly alone in their dilemmas. The mission of this event was to remind people that their problems were only temporary.

“If you have some baggage, we all do, so don’t feel like you’re alone,” said Ta’Tyana Leonard, APU Campus Pastor and the head of the Spiritual Formation Service and Leadership Team. “We’re here to help carry your burdens.”

For some, this event provided a genuine sense of community that helped them toss their worries into the fireplace. Near the end of the event, people circled around the fire to worship and pray, and the event closed with a group prayer where everyone held hands in unison.

During the time of prayer at the end, students stated that they felt a solid sense of inner peace and comfort that only God could provide.

“It really opens up an opportunity for the Lord to come in and speak to people sitting around the campfire who are hurting and broken,” freshman Christian ministries major Nick Beran said.

People interested in this event will soon be able to attend another S’mores and Prayer event. This year, the Spiritual Formation Service and Leadership Team plans to have the S’mores and Prayer event once a month. Leonard also encouraged students in need of support to utilize APU’s resources for prayer and encouragement.