By Lillian Smith | Photos by Betty Dragomir
“Prayer is the believer’s breath.” That is a favorite Korean saying of TEDS student, Seokju Yoon (MDiv ‘25), who goes by JY. The community at TEDS can be seen praying together in the classroom, in chapel, at Bible study every week, and even off campus with other local students. Through such initiatives as the weekly prayer night and the monthly meeting of Chicago University Prayer, TEDS students have come together to bring everything to God.
THE MEANING OF PRAYER
JY came to Trinity this fall to begin his MDiv and upon arrival, he wanted more opportunities for corporate prayer, considering how vital is to the faith. “Prayer is not something that is an addition to the Christian life, but the very substance that runs it,” he explained. “We do not pray in order to achieve anything, but because it is already accomplished.” He soon discovered that there were many others on campus who were eager to commune together in prayer.
So in conjunction with fellow TEDS student, Shuji Go (MDiv ‘25), JY coordinated a weekly night of prayer on campus. “Now is not the time to be asleep,” he explained, “now is the time to be awake on our knees.” Through these prayer nights, they were reminded of the importance of prayer, especially for encouraging one another while in seminary. Similarly, during orientation, Dean David Pao encouraged all incoming students to use their study as an act of worship and support one another throughout their time here at TEDS.
While this prayer group just began last semester, Shuji and JY’s hearts were joyfully surprised by the number and diversity of people attending. Attendance included many TEDS students nearing the end of their degrees, as well as some undergraduate students and quite a few professors. “Flowing from it is a unity that can only be attained through prayer, and a true awakening in the hearts of many that come to pray for Trinity,” JY explained, “Slowly, but surely, we are seeing the work of the Lord unfold.”
“Flowing from it is a unity that can only be attained through prayer, and a true awakening in the hearts of many that come to pray for Trinity.”
JY and Shuji wanted to expand the opportunities for corporate prayer on campus, so they began spending part of their lunch time standing outside of the dining hall with a “Free Prayer” sign. Their presence has been an encouragement on campus. Even when they are not praying with someone, they stand as a reminder of the need for Christians to pray; spending time with God and uplifting one another in prayer whenever possible.
So what inspired this movement? “This prayer group is not a group to socially gather, nor is it an event of any sorts. It is a place where people who are burdened for this campus are coming together to cry out to our God,” said JY. He acknowledged God’s sovereignty over the hearts of Trinity’s students, stating, “We must come together in fervent prayer. Only God can grant us revival.”
TEAMING UP OF WITH OFF-CAMPUS COLLEGE COMMUNITY
This prayer group also teamed up with the Chicago University Prayer group, a coalition of Chicagoland area universities that meet monthly at Wheaton College to pray together for revival and renewal. At the first meeting, five hundred attendees showed up to pray together. The event was extremely moving, and its influence has spread across college campuses across the city.
Sending a message of encouragement to the group, JY wrote, “Brothers and sisters, let’s stand strong till the end. The times are dark and trying, but God is faithful. Denominations and seminaries are falling left and right. We must stand in prayer. What we do matters greatly and although we may not see the results, we are being faithful. So seminarians! Let’s strive until our Lord returns.”
LOOKING FORWARD TO A NEW YEAR OF PRAYER
Trinity is so thankful for the ways our students faithfully support one another and how God is working in and through the lives of our students, who are lifting up one another in prayer each week. “Personally, this movement was definitely one of the highlights of my first semester at Trinity,” Shuji remarked, “To be able to come together with brothers and sisters in Christ before God with one heart has been truly amazing. And I’m so excited for a new semester.”