It has become a routine, now, that a friend and I meet in the chapel three mornings a week to pray.
Eight-thirty. The sun rests at the optimal height to stream through the stained glass windows, throwing colour all over the carpet where we sit.
We sit down, maybe read some scripture, share some joys or worries we're experiencing, and then we end off with prayer. This whole process takes all of twenty minutes, but it shifts the entire tone of the day.
The reason we began doing this stemmed from a conversation about carrying our faith over into university and how to live it out practically. There are choices, time constraints, assignments, voices telling us who we should be and how we should conduct ourselves, and other noise to wade through daily, constantly, and in the juggle and balance of it all it is easy to let faith blend into the din. It is easy to become distracted by all these other things to the point where priorities and perspective warp and prayer becomes an afterthought.
I've made a conscious effort this semester to be responsible with my time. First year I went to bed late and slept in late. I procrastinated too much and chose social activities over work priorities more often than I should have. This year, I wanted something different. I wanted to use my time and resources well. Part of this decision included intentionally and consistently getting up earlier, and this morning chapel prayer offered a meaningful reason to do that.
It is one thing to pray on your own, but praying together is enriching in an entirely different way. Faith is a journey, and not one to stumble through alone. These morning prayer sessions are a connection point, a crossover of two journeys and a way to acknowledge that we're walking together; we're not in this alone. We pray for each other and people we know and we wrestle with the question of how to live with purpose and mission where we are here as students.
This "lesson" really is a journey of creating space. Carving out time to be still and connect in a meaningful way, even if it is for only twenty minutes, or ten, changes me in subtle, small ways that stack up into bigger change. I find myself a little more focused, a little more hopeful, a little more peaceful, a little more content, and slowly my perspective shifts.
There is really no planned structure to this morning prayer and the time length varies, but it allows for a kind of inner breathing room and an openness with another person. We share hopes and worries and truth and we learn through this process. We've learned that sometimes God says "no" to things we think are good for us and opens other, different doors for us to explore. We've learned that sometimes finding God's will looks a lot more like taking a step in faith than searching for banners in the sky.
So in answering this question of how to live with purpose as a student, I'm learning that one of the starting points is how I view and capture my time. I have influence over how I fill it, whether that be the specific task or activity I engage in, or simply the attitude I walk in with. Time is my canvas and this purpose is found in how I choose to colour it in.