The last month has been heartbreaking for students.
A few weeks ago we went up to Newcastle to visit the campuses and meet with Churches a few weeks ago while it was University of Newcastle’s Freshers Week and walking around the campus was surreal. On the surface the campus’ were desolate, students were prisoners and the word ‘institute’ had never felt more fitting. The life that students bring everywhere they set their feet was taken. ‘Robbed’ is the word I’m hearing them use.
Our job is first and foremost to encourage, support and equip those in local Church ministry to connect with students. The only thing we could say to do when meeting student workers later that day that was legal was to pray. If I’m honest, after just having seen the state of student life it felt like a bit of a cop out to say that.
But still, we pray.
We pray because it is not only the only thing that we can do right now, it is the best thing we can do ever. Screaming, declaring and interceeding for students to know who they belong to, for Jesus to make himself known through courageous first, second and third years sharing their powerful stories of freedom from addictions, mental illnesses and grief, and putting themselves out on the line in praying for their mates is THE BEST we have. And if it takes all of this for us to rely fully on the foundation of our faiths then we’ll take it.
We’re praying for students to find HOPE in Jesus and HOME in the local Church. This has not changed. Hope is what university staff, students and halls of residence need. And what greater hope do we have in this world other than Jesus?
This is a call to prayer for the students.
Those in isolation on their own in their first month of university. Those suffering in mental battles. Those turning to drugs to find escape. Those questioning whether it would be better for them not to live anymore. Let’s be on our knees contending for those students.
And for the ones who know the hope & freedom they have, even behind locked doors. Let’s pray that it’s their voices that are louder than the dark thoughts waging war in their mates heads. Let’s pray that it is Jesus’ name that students depend on and find hope, light and life in.