Cornerstone University Embarks on 40 Days of Prayer
On Monday, Jan. 24, Cornerstone University began CU Prays, a 40 Days of Prayer initiative to seek the LORD together as a campus community—to go before His throne in a unified voice in order to seek God’s blessing and guidance as a people of God.
CU Prays is part of CU Ahead Together, seven initiatives designed to cultivate collaboration and understanding across Cornerstone’s departments, offices and campus. These initiatives—launched in December 2021 by CU’s president, Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño—include not only CU Prays but also campus-wide work on the development of CU’s academic vision; CU’s vision for a a biblical approach to diversity, equity and inclusion; and CU’s vision for online teaching and learning.
To prepare for CU Prays, the Office of Spiritual Formation & Christian Community at Cornerstone chose eight themes in conjunction with passages from Scripture to inspire deep contemplation as to how the LORD and His word can transform the CU community. Additionally, the themes will be incorporated into chapel services, residence hall activities and within classrooms.
- Week One (Jan. 24-28): Forgiveness in Christ
- Week Two (Jan. 31 – Feb. 4): Cleansing in the Blood and Spirit
- Week Three (Feb. 7-11): Love
- Week Four (Feb. 14-18): Giving
- Week Five (Feb. 21-25): Adversity
- Week Six (Feb. 28 – March 4): Community
- Week Seven (March 7-11): Truth
- Week Eight (March 14-18): Thanksgiving
CU Prays also included a university-wide worship service held on Monday, Feb. 7. During this time, faculty, staff and students gathered to pray for each area of campus, including seminary, Professional & Graduate Studies and traditional undergraduate students. It served as an opportunity to pause and pray intentionally as one body of believers for the spiritual health of Cornerstone.
“My hope is that this time of prayer reminds us of our need for Christ and the hope and promise we have in the LORD and His son Jesus Christ,” Moreno-Riaño said. “The work that we do is in vain if we do not dedicate it to the LORD and ask for His blessing and are sensitive to His guidance.”
While CU Prays encourages students, faculty and staff to pray as a group, it also encourages individual prayer time throughout the day. Most importantly, this season invites individuals in the community to pray as they’ve never prayed before—without ceasing.
“There’s no better thing that we can do as Christians than come to the fountain of God’s glory and mercy,” said Rev. Shafter Roble, campus pastor at Cornerstone. Roble was one of the key facilitators of CU Prays and developed many of the themes and topics. “One of the smallest verses in the Bible says to ‘pray without ceasing.’ It is so easy to forget, yet the LORD asks that of us because we are His workmanship.”
In the flurry of academic pursuits and the start of a new semester, initiatives such as CU Prays remind the campus community of the importance of prayer. Faculty and staff have embraced this opportunity to impact the students they interact with every day. Phil Keith, certified athletic trainer for all CU’s athletic teams, is especially excited to see how the students he serves will use this time to enhance their prayer life.
“We encourage our student-athletes to play to the glory of God, but sometimes we can lose sight of what that really means,” Keith said. “40 Days of Prayer gives us the tools for our athletes to get them thinking and praying on a daily basis. It’s planting a seed for their prayer life.”
Students have responded to this initiative by dedicating time in their schedules to pray as well. They gather for their own times of worship and prayer in residence halls and classrooms and have focused their personal prayer time on these themes.
“In anticipation of CU Prays, I have been reminded of how I fall short daily, and how much I need Jesus to redeem every aspect of my life,” said Bianca Jones (B.S. ’23), a student at Cornerstone who serves in the Office of Spiritual Formation & Christian Community. “CU Prays is a great initiative because its scriptural focus links individuals across campus in shared understanding, concern and action for the benefit of our campus community.”
As Cornerstone enters into this season of intentional prayer, the greater community is also encouraged to pray for CU.
Audrey DeBoer (B.A. ’18) is the copywriter for Cornerstone’s Marketing & Communications Office. She graduated from Cornerstone in 2018 with a degree in broadcast communication. Audrey also serves on the Young Alumni Council.
In her spare time, Audrey enjoys working on her own full-length work of fiction, co-hosting a podcast about the Academy Awards and participating in local theatre productions.