Campus prayer events celebrate Advent

Students are encouraged to attend the campus prayer events hosted by Baylor Spiritual Life in order to focus on Jesus in this Advent season. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Megan Rule | Staff Writer

Over the course of the next two weeks, Baylor Spiritual Life will put on a series of services as part of Calling the Baylor Community to Prayer.

“We have two series that we traditionally offer this time of year,” said Dr. Burt Burleson, university chaplain. “One is an Advent service, and the other is the Lift Up Your Hearts; both are prayers for the community and the world.”

“These are times in our community and beyond for prayer,” the event’s press release said. “As we seek to follow Christ and live faithfully, we acknowledge our need for God’s grace and guidance. The events… are each an invitation and opportunity for the Baylor family to pray.”

The series involves three events. A Baylor Advent Service took place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday night at Armstrong Browning Library, A Day of Prayer will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday at Elliston Chapel and Lift Up Your Hearts will take place at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Powell Chapel located in Truett Seminary.

“The purpose of this prayer service is to help people focus on prayer in anticipation of Christ coming,” said Carlos Colón, liturgist and worship leader for Thursday night’s event. “It is to prepare your hearts for the Christmas season that is to come. I think Advent is countercultural in the sense that it helps us set our hearts and our eyes focused on Christ and quiet in our hearts so we can prepare, though sometimes in the business world people start in November decorating for Christmas and trying to get our hearts set on buying something instead.”

Thursday night’s event was a prayer service and scripture reading featuring prayers from people in the Baylor community and hymns and chants that are also prayers. It was an early Advent service, so Christmas songs were not sung. Colón said Advent is an ancient tradition that the church has practiced as a season to reflect and repent in preparation for the coming of Christ. Advent is a season to celebrate the coming of Jesus.

“This is something that the university chaplain and I have been doing for several years,” Colón said. “It’s a Baylor tradition. We get hundreds of people that come from the community and from Baylor because they say this service is what prepares their hearts for the season.”

A Day of Prayer is an event that will feature quiet music playing and a prayer guide, which give expression to needs and invite people to trust in God again, according to the university calendar. The university calendar also says that either chaplains or ministers in the community will be present to offer prayers for individuals who would like personal prayer.

Lift Up Your Hearts is a service of prayer and worship with the Baylor family as the semester comes to an end, according to the university calendar . This service also features a complimentary fellowship luncheon for faculty and staff following the event. Dr. Greg Jones, executive vice president and provost for academic affairs, will also be preaching.

Burleson said that, this year, they wanted to create another opportunity for people to pray and thus came the idea for the day of prayer. The services are offered for both the Advent season and the finals season, and Burleson said this is something Baylor Spiritual Life feels needs to be done. The series is offered for a time of healing and celebrating the season Baylor is currently in, Burleson said.

“Prayer is the way in which we come to see God’s wisdom and understand God’s will. It is through prayer that we ask God’s grace in making whole things that are broken,” Dr. Darin H. Davis, vice president for university mission and director of the Institute for Faith and Learning, said in an email to the Lariat. “These are incredibly important days in Baylor’s life. As a community animated by faith in Christ, it is all the more important that we turn towards God.”