Prayer Center makes big changes
It is a small, easily-forgotten room on the backside of Dorm 17 on main campus. The walls are neatly lined with frames that hold tiny seeds. Spaced between these mustard seeds are frames containing little nuggets of truth from Liberty University’s founder Jerry Falwell Sr. As unimpressive as the room may seem, big things are happening for Liberty University’s Prayer Center. Last November, Pastor Tim Voogd came from a church in California to lead the Prayer Center in a whole new direction.
According to Voogd, the Prayer Center is a ministry on campus where students pray for other students, the faculty and whole Liberty community. The ministry was created in 2008 under Voogd’s leadership. Since then, the ministry has significantly changed — from students simply send emails about prayer to volunteers focusing on being intentional, genuine and relational with the multiple requests.
Voogd said there are roughly 50 workers — a small staff, with the majority being CSER volunteers.
“The Prayer Center is really changing,” Tiffany Samuels, a student who has volunteered the last two years, said. “I love it. I think that people just think that we send generic emails. That’s not the case. Each person has an individual email, an individual prayer.”
The most important aspect that they want to maintain, Voogd said, is that the prayer center is a student-led ministry. According to Voogd, his goal is to stretch the students and for them to grow in their prayers with confidence.
“I believe they need to understand the authority that they have to be able to pray over somebody because the Holy Spirit is inside them. Jesus opened the door so that we can walk into the presence of his Father,” Voogd said.
According to Samuels, there has been major change.
“He’s using each of our individual gifts to minister,” Samuels said.
Voogd compared the Prayer Center to a pasture, where he lets the students roam as long as they stay within the fences.
“The potential is beyond what I can describe. The pasture is huge — just listen to the Lord,” Voogd said.
Some students have taken this freedom and begun to set up tables in DeMoss, asking fellow students if they have prayer requests. Additionally, one of the Prayer Center’s goals is to spark a campus-wide prayer revolution, where students will cover the campus, praying for one another, Voogd said.
Individual volunteers will bring passion, according to Voogd. Some students have taken this passion and freedom and begun to set up tables in DeMoss, asking fellow students if they have prayer requests.
According to Voogd, an important aspect of the Prayer Center is not to overstep other ministries that are already established on campus.
“We would like to complement the other ministries,” Voogd said. “The goal is, as Paul says, ‘I’m going to someplace that nobody else has built yet.’”
Samuels is one of these volunteers — although she does receive CSER credit through volunteering, it is not the reason why she prays.
“It ministers to me,” Samuels said. “It’s not just for other people. This is a CSER, but I’m hearing from God.”
The mustard seeds that hang around the room encompass Voogd’s heartbeat of the ministry, and motivate him to continue the work of the Lord.
“Do it by faith and with confidence, and let’s go. See what God will do.”