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Briar Cliff Helps Maintain a Caring Community Through Prayer Requests

March 13, 2020 | by Julie Knowles

Briar Cliff University’s Campus Ministry has been sending out prayer requests to students, faculty and staff for over 17 years. Head of Campus Ministry, Sister Janet May, sends out campus-wide emails when a person wishes for extra thoughts and prayers.

“They just email me,” says May. “They say ‘would you please ask the community or ask the campus to pray for my grandmother who has just died, or my mother is having surgery, etcetera.’”

People can also ask for their conversation to stay confidential.

May says, “It’s totally up to the individual because this becomes public. I do not send it out unless I have the person’s permission to do it. I will always respect the wishes of the individual,” she adds.

Since the prayer requests are public, some will ask for them to be sent out to keep others in the loop and gain extra support. Senior, Abigail Brinkman says that prayer requests have brought her a lot of support from the people in the Briar Cliff community.

“When I was a freshman, I had a family member who was going through a lot of health issues at that time,” says Brinkman. “I remember being scared and I emailed Sister Janet about it. And then after she sent it out to the larger campus community, I got a couple of personal emails and personal text messages.”

Prayer requests can also be used for informing professors and other faculty and staff when there is an issue happening in someone’s personal life. The Briar Cliff community can utilize prayer requests as a way of checking up on people.

May says, “Even for faculty in a classroom, they know if a student has lost a grandmother or if someone has gone ill in their family and they can say something to them. Even on a residence hall floor, the RA knows if someone on their floor has lost a loved one.”

May says that Briar Cliff’s sense of community is very strong. In agreement, Brinkman says that having prayer requests helps students band together.

“Prayer requests give students an opportunity to open their hearts to faith and allow people to go through a struggle that they’re having together,” she says. “I think that when you let people in and become vulnerable and ask people for prayers it really helps build that strong caring community that we have at Briar Cliff.”

A prayer request does not have to be for a personal matter. Many ask for the extra support for others, people back home or events happening around the world. Janet sent out a prayer in a mass email with a prayer attached to help give extra strength to everyone involved in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“I asked everybody to pray this prayer for the victims of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).” The prayer is as follows:

“Hear our prayer, O God of mercy and healing love for all those people who are affected by the coronavirus in our country and world. Fill them with your healing and wholeness. We ask that you surround them with caring and loving companions who will support them in the midst of fear. Protect their families and loved ones, and all their health care workers. We ask all this through the intercession of Jesus and St. Francis and St. Clare, patron of the Briar Cliff University. Amen.”

To send out a prayer request, email Sister Janet May or visit her directly in her office located in the Heelan Hall.

Sr. Janet’s office located in Campus Ministry in Heelan Hall.

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