A Student's Guide to Praying at UniJosh Rous - 19 Sep 2018
It’s two weeks until I become a student for the second time in my life. Like many prospective students I’m a little nervous but very excited.
I discovered many things during my first time at university: microwavable pizzas are actually really good, student loans are just free money (or so it seems), and FIFA tournaments can last for more than a week.
Perhaps the biggest thing I learnt, however, was how my prayer life could be something really exciting, rather than the dull drudge of a chore I thought it was.
So here are some of the things I learnt about student prayer life:
You might find that life has a little less routine once you start uni. Other than getting to your lectures and seminars, you’re free to spend your days however you want to.
Praying regularly, then, requires a little more self-discipline in this setting than in normal life.
For some people it’s enough to just set ten minutes a day or an hour a week aside to pray. But for others, like myself, you might need a little accountability to actually do it. Which leads me to my first point…
Pray with others
In my house at university a few of us used to pray at 8:00am (painful, I know) once a week – a great way to be accountable to others.
If you’re not in a house with other Christians, it’s a good idea to get stuck into a church and find or start a prayer group there. This has the added benefit of mixing you in with a broader group of people who you can share life with outside of the student bubble.
Take the time to learn
You’re at university to learn, surrounded by wise people with diverse backgrounds. This is a great place to learn more about God and how to meet with Him.
Some of the advice I received during my first degree has stuck with me and continues to shape my spiritual walk. There’s gold in the people at your church or Christian Union, so chat openly and honestly about where you’re at, with people you trust, and you will see real fruit as you learn together.
My student years were some of my happiest but they were certainly not without challenges. Money problems, complicated relationships, exam and essay stress can all rattle our sense of peace if we don’t handle them well.
The solution is a simple one, but not always easy. We all have to learn to trust God.
Learning to trust God is an intimate journey rather than an instant state of being, and requires ongoing effort.
I’ve learnt that a good place to start, when I’m anxious about something and struggling to trust God with it, is to simply pray:
“I want to surrender this to you, but I don’t know how. Please help me to trust you.”
But most of all, being at university is an incredible time of new-found freedom and discovery.
There are endless possibilities to use this time to press into God’s presence as you pray.
For more ideas and inspiration, check out our 24-7 Prayer Student Hub