Story by Emily Williams, Contributing writer
Gov. Bevin recently signed a proclamation declaring Sept. 28 Day of Prayer Over Students in the Commonwealth and Murray State students will be participating in the event by gathering for their first All Campus Prayer.
According to kentuckyfamily.org, Bevin said he signed the proclamation because believes it is imperative that members of every community come alongside young people in every way possible as they face negative influences and other struggles that go along with being a young person in today’s world.
Day of Prayer Over Students will coincide with See You at the Pole, a national effort in which Christian students gather around their school flagpoles in prayer, according to the website.
Murray State students, campus ministry leaders and others wishing to participate will take this event to the next level by gathering on the steps of Lovett from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 28 for twelve consecutive hours of student-led prayer.
In a video covering the signing of the proclamation on The Family Foundation’s website, Bevin said, “This is important because our young people need prayer like they haven’t ever before, and I want to encourage you all to be a part of it.”
Schuyler Vowell, sophomore from Mayfield, Kentucky, and student pastor of Murray State student organization Love MKY, said he and members of the student organization will be participating in the event.
“We want to unite not only the campus ministries, but also all the Christians,” Vowell said.“We believe that God is bigger than denominations, tradition, legalism, and we would like to show that to the students at Murray State.”
Vowell said he hopes the event will empower people to know that even as a student, they are qualified to lead in an environment like Murray State’s campus.
“We want to show people how Jesus and this two thousand year old book, or four thousand year old book, are still relevant and applicable to college students,” Vowell said.
Cody Barger, senior from Huntingdon, Tennessee, and social media director of Love MKY said he thinks it will be encouraging for people on campus to see regular students gathering to pray.
“We’re not super pristine and proper people, but we’re doing what we can,” Barger said.
A variety of opinions are circulating about the proposed Day of Prayer at Murray State.
Adam Bender, junior from Fairbanks, Alaska, and member of the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) said the organization is specifically about secularism and the separation of church and state within schools.
Bender also said the SSA serves as a meeting place for students on campus to find like-minded people to hold conversation with and that the group holds regular meetings to discuss events such as All Campus Prayer.
Stephanie Stephans, senior from Winona, Minnesota, and Holden East, sophomore from Louisville, Kentucky, both members of SSA, said they will not be participating in All Campus Prayer.
Stephans said the Secular Student Alliance is for the the promotion of science, skepticism, reason, logic and other related issues.
“It’s specifically calling upon university students and specifically on university grounds that we would have a problem with,” East said. “Like, it’s up to everyone what they want to do, with their religion and whatnot, but I would have to say that for us, personally, definitely not.”
“We won’t be participating because that’s just not what we believe in,” he said.
East said he doesn’t believe the event will affect Murray State’s campus negatively or positively because he believes the university is already a fairly religious school.
“This is the South and it has its ingrained religion and whatnot, and I know that there is also the Christian Faculty Network, which is already very present, but we would like a separate distinction,” East said. “I don’t have any problem personally with the school being related to something like this, but housing it on school grounds is a little much.”
Marina White, junior from Shelbyville, Kentucky, and co-president of Murray State’s Baptist Campus Ministry said she will be participating in the event because she believes it is important to pray for Murray State’s campus as an active profession of her faith.
“The purpose is to unite believers from all different campus ministries, because I think so many people see different sects of people who all call themselves Christians and yet they never do anything together,” White said. “It makes it seem like we’re all serving a different God, but we’re not. We’re all serving the same God.”
“We want to bring all the believers in one central location where we can all pray for the campus together and not only see who the other believers are on campus, but to pray for those who have never heard of God,” White said.
White said she hopes that the event will impact Murray State in a big a way and that people on campus will see people praying and that it would encourage others to participate.
“I think it will remind the campus that there are people who care about others at a level deeper than being just friends with them,” White said. “That there are actually people who care about their eternity, and care about sharing with them things that may be controversial, may be difficult to hear, but to do it in a loving way.”
In addition to prayer on the steps of Lovett during All Campus Prayer, there will be student worship led by various campus ministries. The event is come and go as you please.