By Hannah Neumann
Georgetown freshman Audrey Hamlin is channeling her heartbreak for persecuted Christians around the world to unite students on campus through prayer.
Hamlin, along with other Baylor students, will launch a new prayer circle this week that will meet at 3:30 p.m. every Friday in the Bobo Spiritual Life Center.
“I realized there wasn’t really a place for me to pray about this specifically,” she said. “I know the Bible says that when two or three of us gather together that the Spirit is there, and I knew that I wasn’t the only one that felt at a loss for what to do.”
Hamlin said it wasn’t until she came to Baylor that she felt such a strong desire to help in this specific way.
After attending a panel discussion that highlighted the persecuted church and a Chapel session on the same subject, Hamlin said she became captivated by the issue.
“I became increasingly aware of everything going on in the world around me in ways that I hadn’t been before,” she said. “I really became acquainted with what is happening in the church, especially in the Middle East and I just felt so broken-hearted about it because I felt so out of control.”
Hamlin said people in these parts of the world need increased funding, but prayers are also a source of aid that should not be forgotten. She learned that fear of abandonment by God is widespread in areas of strife, and encouragement can do good from across the world.
When Hamlin met Mobile, Ala., freshmen Nicole and Alexandra Dawood, the idea grew into a plan for action through prayer.
With parents who each grew up in countries where Christians were persecuted, Nicole said she and her sister prayed often for the church.
“Audrey approached me saying she had it on her heart to start this prayer group and I just told her I thought it would be wonderful and I shared with her stories of my family and my friends who are persecuted Christians,” Nicole said. “I knew in that moment that this was something I wanted to do and to put into practice what the Bible says of remembering those who are in bonds and being bound with them.”
Alexandra said after the panel discussion and their conversation with Hamlin, she felt peace in her heart because the purpose of this group expands beyond meeting to pray but spreading awareness about religious persecution.
Dr. Burt Burleson, university chaplain, said he believed Hamin received an impression from the Spirit to do something for these suffering Christians throughout the world.
“She decided to take this a step further in terms of her own prayer life, and I think there’s something important about that,” Burleson said. “You never know when one student’s idea or conviction is something that will move beyond just one person.”
After speaking with her, Burleson introduced Hamin to Carlos Colón, Baylor’s coordinator for worship initiatives. Colón said that Hamin’s idea really moved him and he was inspired to help.
“What is moving for me is her understanding that the church is more than just us in here,” Colón said. “She seems to understand at a young age that the church is universal and that when the body of Christ is suffering in a place like Iraq, Syria and other places, we all should be concerned.”
Burleson said he hopes students join Hamlin and the Dawoods for the prayer group, and emphasizes the importance of prayer.
“We live in a world that is haunted with the divide and we are connected through God to all things,” he said. “When we pray we really do have the capacity to impact things, by giving something of ourselves to God that God is able to use.”