Liberty students pray to stop gun violence
A day after the National Day of Prayer Thursday, May 3, students gathered on the front steps of DeMoss Hall after Convocation to pray against gun violence.
Sophomore Selina Feliciano, a double major in government and history, and freshman Addi Tarr, a journalism student, organized the event with the help of the Office of Spiritual Development.
Feliciano and Tarr said that it was not an anti-gun event, but rather a prayer gathering to pray against future gun violence.
Janice Vining, an LU Shepherd who attended the prayer gathering, also said it was an opportunity to pray for the families and friends of those who died from gun violence.
Tarr and Feliciano said that they wanted to emphasize the power of prayer, saying that they trusted that God was able to stop gun violence.
“I feel like, oftentimes, the power of prayer is underrated, and we don’t realize how strong it actually is,” Tarr said.
Both students also said that they encountered misunderstanding from other students when they were setting up and advertising the event. They said they had to explain frequently that the gathering was not anti-gun. It was anti-gun violence. They said they wanted people from all political backgrounds and all stances on gun control and the Second Amendment to attend the prayer gathering.
“We want people who are for guns, we want people who are against guns, and we want people who couldn’t care less,” Tarr said.
Feliciano said she believes that Christians should let prayer against violence transcend political issues.
“We as Christians need to stand above so many other people and truly be the light that God wants us to be and show Christ’s love by just saying, ‘Hey, we have our political opinions, but the thing that stands above all of that is the power of prayer,’” Feliciano said.
Feliciano said she and the others were praying specifically against gun violence instead of other kinds of violence in general, not because they cared about other kinds of violence any less, but because she believed in praying about specific issues, and gun violence has been a hot topic in America recently.
About 18 students and four LU Shepherds met May 4 to pray. Feliciano opened the time of prayer by reading a Bible verse, talking about the power of prayer and explaining the purpose of the prayer gathering.
A dozen students wearing matching yellow shirts lined up in front of a microphone to read the names of people who died from gun violence. After a student read each name and described how they died, there was a time of silence allowing each person attending to pray individually. At the end, LU Shepherd Dillon Segar read a Bible passage about prayer and Vining closed the gathering by leading everyone in prayer for the family and friends of gun violence victims.