One of the highlights of the Spring semester is Student Week of Prayer (April 8 - 12, 2019). The class, SA, and NHS pastors, under the guidance of Pastor Mario Ferguson, prayed, brainstormed, planned, and worked together to create a series of messages centered around the theme, Called Out to Stand Out. It was a week of very insightful, powerful, and well prepared presentations that indeed focused our minds on HIM and how we can grow in Him. Student pastors helped us to understand more of His amazing love for each one of us.
Each morning of Week of Prayer, the students were greeted by Pastor Ferguson or class pastors at the door by the theme wall with hot chocolate and granola bars--a “sweet” way to be greeted. Please thank the pastors for not only their sermons, but also for the extra things that made the week special: the stage decorations, the bulletin board, the hot chocolate and granola bars, and all the planning that went into this week.
As students walked into the chapel for the Week of Prayer, the class pastors could be seen praying, seeking a blessing on the week as it began. âOn Monday, we began our student-led Week of Prayer with song service. Megan Woods read the scripture, which was 1 Peter 2:9-10, the theme text for the week. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
John Kent, NHS Pastor, then gave us the spoken word, talking about the importance of walking in the marvelous light of God. He emphasized that if we prioritize anything above God it “will stab us in the back.” He pleaded with us to put God first in our lives. John urged us to look over our lives to make sure God is not inferior in our lives, that we prioritize Him.
On Tuesday, Nathan Fernandez welcomed everyone to Week of Prayer, followed by responsive reading led by Gio Leonor. Song service was led by Thomas Trinh, Zothile Sibanda, & Grace Dockerty. Neveah Hippler and Sean Seigal then presented a skit about how God may feel when we neglect Him. While Neveah was saying her routine short prayer, “God” intervened and challenged her to dialogue with Him. The sermon for the day was given to us by Jakob VanDenburgh, who shared his spiritual experience this school year. He focused on how, when we accept God as our special possession, we also become God’s special possession. He spoke about the story of Job, illustrating when we accept God as our special possession, He provides for us and always has a plan for our lives calling us to do His will.
On Wednesday, we began our third day of Week of Prayer with a responsive reading led by Jalen Thomas. Song service was led by Jalen Thomas and Ryleigh Snow. Joshua Huslin read our theme verse for the week, followed by Jemila Greenidge, with guests Jasmine Fraser and Jamison Moore, AA alumni, giving special music. Megan Woods, freshmen class pastor, gave us our spoken word, and we truly were blessed. She talked about how we should praise God even in our difficult circumstances. Megan used Job as an example of what it looks like to praise God at all times. She personalized this by sharing a time when she heard that two of her family members were in a car accident. She didn’t know how serious it was, but right at that time, a classmate texted her thanking her for the class vespers that just occurred and how it was so helpful to this person. It was then Megan was reminded that God looks out for us. She saw this as a way of God reminding her that He is always there for her even in trying times…like wondering how serious the car accident was for her family. She concluded with an appeal that we always give praise to our Lord like Job did, even though it may be a tough time.
Thursday’s service began with another song service that blessed all. The theme verse was read to us by Leo Aguilera, and was followed by special music by Sam Taylor and Jalen Thomas. The speaker was Nathan Fernandez, junior class pastor, who delivered a message about how we may sometimes feel as if God has neglected us. Social media is used too often to compare ourselves to others and how we may feel inadequate for God. Nathan focused on Acts 9, the story of the conversion of Saul to Paul. Even though Saul was a horrible man, and people thought he would never be used by God, God was able to use him and thus anyone. But when God calls us, the devil is eager to make our lives difficult. God gave us a promise in Isaiah 40:27-31, assuring us that even though He may not solve our problems the way we want Him to, when we put our faith in Him, He renews our strength.
Friday morning began with a recognition and then a prayer of blessing on Pastor Ferguson as it was his 50th birthday. The program then began with singing, scripture, and special music by three freshmen: Maddie Bramucci, Gianna Williams and Samantha Woolford-Hunt. Leo Aguilera read portions of Samuel 3 and 4, encouraging each of us that “you need to find your calling,” God’s calling for you. Samuel heard his name being called and thought that it was Eli calling him. He didn’t recognize God’s voice calling him at first. Leo then shared that we have all the information about God but we don’t always have the truth. We are blinded by so much information that we don’t grasp the truth. We need to focus on God’s plan for us and to listen to “God’s Voice.” We don’t usually hear an audible voice, like Samuel did, but God is calling you. Samuel did not recognize God’s voice at first, but with good guidance we can discover God’s voice like Samuel did. Take the time to discover God’s calling for you, and you will live a happy and fulfilled life. The program concluded with students filling our cards of commitment of which they then placed at the foot of the cross.
A Friday evening program concluded Student Week of Prayer. It began with singing, scripture, and testimony time as various students praised God for what He had done for them, how this week of prayer has blessed them, and how the school and their classmates have blessed them. Joshua Huslin, Senior class pastor, read portions of I Samuel 3:7-11, and personalized the interaction of God and Samuel as his parents interacted with him. He presented three major points: 1. Get UP - when we are called by God we need to get up and go to God no matter how we are feeling. 2. Drop the bass in our voice. 3. Speak Lord for thy Servant heareth. God has chosen each of us for different avenues of God’s plan. God is asking that we accept His calling for us.
Evidences could be seen of students continuing to think of Week of Prayer throughout the day. Students could be heard singing in the hallway some of the songs sung while in chapel and humming our theme song Called Me Higher while in class. I overhead one student talking with another, saying that she suddenly realized she was singing the theme song as she was doing her homework the night before. Music is such a powerful way to keep us focused on God!
We were blessed by a spiritual feast during this Week of Prayer. Thank you, Spiritual Life Committee, for planning this week and making it such a special week for each of us to strengthen our spiritual walk and for some to choose God. Please continue to pray for each student and faculty member, that the blessings of the week will continue in our lives not only throughout this remainder of the school year, but through our entire lives.
For more photos, please go here on Facebook.
For a video of one of the songs from the vespers program of Week of Prayer, please go here on Facebook.
Steven Atkins, AA News