A new service provided by Light House of Prayer gives students access to 24/7 prayer from various Christian students on or around campus.
Three weeks ago, the LHOP executive board wanted to decipher yet another way to serve the community.
While praying about the new semester, they organized, Prayer Hotline UMD, a technological form of worship.
“Honestly, I must say it was a divine idea straight from God,” said Shanice Gentle, the treasurer of LHOP.
Students can go to the hotline’s Facebook page where they will find a schedule that lists the phone number of the prayer partner to call at any specific time.
Prayer partners are a network of Christians who commit and devote at least one hour of their time each week to serve anyone at the university who seeks prayer, said Peggy Liang, the vice president of LHOP.
The network consists of 59 prayer partners who cover 90 hours total each week, said LHOP and President Sharai Bryan.
“College is sometimes a struggle – an emotional, physical, social roller coaster of the unexpected,” Bryan said. “Prayer Hotline UMD is focused on providing students with a confidential and supportive prayer service.”
Students call in and leave their request for prayer – be it family, sickness, etc. The prayer partners write down the prayers and pray for the person after they get off the phone.
“Our motto is ‘Listen, Pray, Forget,’” Liang said. “One of our biggest priorities is to ensure anonymity. To have that violated would be a huge disservice to UMD students who place their trust in us.”
Since the prayer partners use their personal cell phones to make the calls, but still want to ensure anonymity, Google Voice phone numbers are provided to callers, Bryan said.
Prayer partners are also required to complete a confidentiality agreement. They must be alone or in a quiet space when taking a call, according to Gentle.
While the hotline only received five calls since its start two weeks ago, feedback has been positive.
“I think it sounds like an awesome resource for students that are in a tricky spot and maybe don’t know who to go to,” said Fellowship of Catholic university students missionary Ashlyn Dunn.
However, Dunn said the prayer hotline isn’t necessarily a tool she would immediately use.
“I’m in a place where I’m very fortunate that I have such a beautiful community here,” Dunn said. “I love praying to people in person so I probably wouldn’t use the hotline, but I’m really thankful that it exists.”
Father Rob Walsh, from the university’s Catholic Student Center, said he hopes people will use the hotline to continue getting closer to God.
“There are many people who seem fine on the outside at the University of Maryland, but they are suffering on the inside,” Walsh said. “Any resource that speaks to the wellbeing of the human person is a great thing.”
Fifth-year senior George Misulia agreed with Dunn and said he has been blessed with enough friends and family that he can call when he needs prayers.
“If I needed prayer and I had nowhere else to turn I would definitely call the hotline,” Misulia said.
Lisa Driscoll, a senior journalism and vocal performance major, said the hotline intrigues her because there is a special power to praying with others rather than praying alone with God.
“[Praying over the phone] doesn’t devalue prayer,” Driscoll said. “I’ve found that praying with my friends over the phone actually can be really good for both of us, so this is kind of a way to have that without having your friend be available.”
“This is such a unique service to our campus,” Gentle said. “I think our fellow students perceive this in a positive and encouraging light.”
Maya Pottiger is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.