A Puritan prayer: new campus ministry leads students in prayer

Elaina Ammons—Staff Writer

In an intimate, dimly lit room, eleven people gathered in mismatched chairs, forming a circle around a coffee table that displayed a Bible and a long-forgotten water bottle. 

“Let’s pray,” Chase Pheifer, a senior, said.

Pheifer and the attendants bowed their heads.

Two years ago, Dordt University Campus Ministries held a bi-weekly prayer event where Dean of Chapel Aaron Baart or Campus Pastor Sam Ashmore would lead students in prayer. These prayer times inspired Pheifer to start his own prayer-oriented ministry: Friday Prayers.

Through Friday Prayers, a twenty-minute prayer time at 11:05 a.m. in the Prayer Room of the B.J. Haan Auditorium, Pheifer felt he could give back to campus. He emailed Ashmore about the idea.

“Yeah, that’s totally something we could do!”  Ashmore said. 

So, Campus Ministries sponsored Friday Prayers and publicized the event, which emphasizes meditating on Puritan prayers.

“The best prayer is an honest one,” Pheifer said. 

At last week’s Friday Prayers, the second of the semester, Pheifer, senior Parks Brawand, and Ashmore took turns reading from prayer books and the Bible.

Pheifer read a prayer from the Leonine Sacramentary, the oldest surviving liturgical book of the Roman rite:

“O God, the light of the hearts that see you, the life of the souls that love you, the strength of the minds that seek you… grant us your blessings as we offer up our confessions an supplications.”

After concluding his reading, the group paused for a moment of self-reflection and meditation.

Brawand read a prayer from the Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan Prayers.

Pheifer has dedicated his group to building open, honest relationships with Jesus Christ. To him, the Puritans didn’t simply seek beauty in their prayers, they also poured out their hearts to God.

Friday Prayers is designed to be a simple, low-pressure gathering—a twenty-minute space to rest without distraction. To Clara Peterson, a senior, Friday prayers blesses her with a dedicated prayer time that’s built into her schedule.

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