Showing UP

It is Friday morning, 0730, to be specific. Sitting alone in a cold conference room in the College of Nursing, I wonder how many would attend this week’s prayer time.

Each week, the attendance fluctuates. Besides me and my co-leader, there are three to six professors that may walk in the door. There were days when only one or two would show up. On one occasion, no one showed up!

But I was there because I had called for the prayer meeting.

The act of waiting to see who will attend is daunting at times. Every week, without fail, I send emails to over 20 Christian faculty members on my listserv to remind them of our Friday morning prayer for our college. I show up, and I wait and see how many come.

With each passing minute, I find myself wrestling with the same questions week after week: “Why am I doing this? Is this really what God wants me to do?”

Quietly, I remind myself that I am called to help reach my university for Christ. I believe it begins with me at my college and a call to pray. Sending out the reminder, showing up, and creating the space for others to seek God and to hear from Him is what God has laid upon my heart.

Each Friday, I wait patiently on the Lord. And each Friday morning is different, depending on how many attend and who shows up. The meeting takes place. We share and we pray for our families, our work, for God to provide divine appointments, and give us boldness to proclaim His name to our students and colleagues.

Once we start praying, there seems to be a spirit of peace and joy that comes upon us. Each person is refreshed, recharged, and restored. We then leave till next week.

A verse that comes to mind is Zechariah 4:10, which states: “For who dares make light of small beginnings?” I am encouraged when I see someone new join the group or someone who has not attended in a while return. I am encouraged when they thank me for the time and they share that they were glad they came.

I am hopeful as I continue to hang in there, week after week. By faith, I have started co-leading a discipleship group for our college, using the resources provided by Faculty Commons. As with the prayer group, the attendance is unpredictable.

Is this worth it, or will anything come out of either the prayer group or the discipleship group in my college? Only time will tell. For now, I believe God wants me to persevere and to keep showing up.

I trust God is working even when I don’t see things happening fast enough or working out the way I would like. I rest in the promise of I Thess. 5:24, which states: “Faithful is He who calls me and He will bring it to pass.”

Anita Stephen


University of Florida

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