2017-2018 Chapel Theme: "Lord, Teach Us to Pray" (Luke 11:1)
A quote from our founder, Ashley S. Johnson, is painted in the business hallway of the Phillips-Welshimer building: “We believe as if everything depends upon faith, we pray as if everything depends upon prayer, and we work as if everything depends upon work.” Our campus finds itself at a unique juncture with a presidential transition, multimillion dollar building projects, new programs, new faculty & staff, and new students. There is much work ahead of us, but at the heart of our campus identity is the calling to pray.
On a college campus, we often settle into our roles as teachers and students, but in this venture of prayer—in this request, “Lord, Teach us to Pray”—we all must offer ourselves as learners. In the words of Eugene Peterson, “There are no experts in the company of Jesus. We are all beginners.” There are no teachers, no masters, and no experts. We are all always beginners in our relationship with God, and that may be the best thing that can be said about us as Christians. We all have much to learn.
Our request, “Lord, teach us to pray,” is not a vapid wish tossed toward a faceless or nameless sky. It is a request made of a specific person. In this request, we are submitting to the one who knows what prayer is, having learned it through the trials of His earthly life. Following his ascension into heaven, Jesus has taken up the role of the Great Intercessor according to the apostles Paul and John and the author of Hebrews. When we ask, “Lord, Teach us to Pray,” we are asking Christ to teach us his vocation. Andrew Murray says, “Of all the traits of a life like Christ, there is none higher and more glorious than conformity to Him in the work that now engages Him without ceasing in the Father’s presence: His all-powerful intercession. The more we abide in Him and grow to be like Him, the more His priestly life will work in us. Our lives will become what His is: a life that continuously prayers for [others].” We must pray for the world, for one another, for our incoming freshmen and our graduating seniors, for our trustees, friends, alumni, staff, faculty and friends, and for our broken world and our divided nation.
Eugene Peterson says, “A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.” Lord, Teach us to Pray.