FM72 prayer tent provides sacred sanctuary midcampus

FM72 promotes prayer for 72 hours across the Baylor campus, including a prayer tent on Fountain Mall. Brittany Tankersley | Photo Editor

By Avery Ballmann | Staff Writer

As you’ve walked to class this week, you may have noticed a white tent in the middle of Fountain Mall. This is the product of FM72, an event held by Baptist Student Ministries (BSM), dedicated to 72 hours of prayer on campus.

Plano sophomore Sophia Engman is a part of BSM’s leadership team which helped put together the prayer tent along with other organizations such as Antioch Waco, Columbus Avenue Baptist Church and Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship.

“The goal is to pray for the campus, for the community, for Waco, for the world,” Engman said. “Anything and everything that the Lord would just spark a revival here in people’s hearts.”

There are a total of nine sacred spaces around campus, however this white tent is unique in the energy it captures. There is an unwavering quietness in the morning; you can hear the morning birds sing their songs and people walking to class with their friends.

San Antonio senior Mark Patrick, a member of Columbus Avenue Baptist Church said, FM72 is an exclusive event that Baylor offers.

“So when they say revival, they’re trying to get at that idea of [a] life change,” Patrick said. “That is a unique thing, not a lot of college campuses get that opportunity to do a big ol’ worship service like that.”

FM72 held worship services at McLane Stadium Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night but Engman said the main focus was the tent. On Tuesday night after worship, 30 people were baptized in the tent.

Seattle, Wash., freshman Kate Selby recently visited the tent to have a quiet place to reflect. She said her favorite part of it was the activities inside because she felt engaged in the tent. There are sticky notes to write prayer requests and the walls are lined with scripture and different stories in the Bible. Columbus Avenue helped create the “Jesus and the Gospels” wall.

“I think they should hold [prayer tents] more just because it’s nice to have a peaceful escape because we do have prayer rooms in some dorms, but I feel like they’re not really utilized because it’s just a room,” Selby said.

Although Baylor provides spaces on campus to pray, they don’t replicate what BSM and others have created. The tiny details — such as the plants and tiny desks with lamps for people to journal — makes this space feel safe. Prayer tents could potentially expand to other religions on campus because all students need a space to find peace and breathe in the midst of their busy schedules.

“I mean, a lot of work goes into it for sure, so I get why they don’t,” Patrick said. “They do a lot of events not quite as large as this, but different prayer events on campus and weekly meetings and it’s really powerful as well.”

Patrick is referring to small events hosted by local churches and BSM throughout the year, which are helpful but not the same as the tent which is easily accessible, especially between classes.

After FM72 ended last year, Engman said they kept the tent up for a few more days. Many students view the prayer tent as a peaceful sanctuary in the middle of campus, and though it is only temporary, its goal is to have an effect linger long after FM72 concludes.

“While the prayer tent is important, ultimately it’s the prayer itself,” Engman said “Just having people come together and talk to Jesus together is the really special part.”