Hundreds of miles away from friends and the familiarity of her home town in Tennessee, Master of Arts student Lauren Little settled into her new apartment as she awaited the start of fall classes at Southwestern. Overwhelmed by a new city where she did not know a single person, she felt more isolated than ever.

It was through this isolation, however, that God reminded her of her purpose in moving to Fort Worth. “Every day in my quiet time with the Lord, He was gentle to remind me He had brought me to Southwestern for a reason,” she explains. “If I really wanted to join God where He was working, I had to learn how to wrestle in prayer.”

Little soon learned about a daily student-led prayer gathering that would begin on the first day of classes. Without any hesitation, she knew she had to be there. “I wouldn’t know anyone there, but I knew the One we would be praying to, and I needed Him,” Little says.

These prayer gatherings, which are open to all Southwestern students and faculty, take place daily at 6 a.m. in the Student Center Lounge. Even though she and the other students meet before many students and faculty have even arrived on campus for the day, Little says the importance of prayer outweighs any inconveniences. “Just outside our walls, there is a lost and broken world that is literally dying in their sins,” Little says. “It’s not about what we could be doing with our time instead of prayer. It’s about what God is already doing.”

The idea for the morning prayer meetings started in the months leading up to the fall semester when Master of Divinity student Nelson Fonseca was burdened by daily news coverage of national events and the apathetic response of Christians. Although prayer was already a regular part of his own life, he desired to see students seek the Lord together, asking for forgiveness on behalf of the nation and for boldness to stand for biblical truth.

These gatherings began Aug. 27, the first day of the fall semester, and will continue until Dec. 18, the last day of finals. Each session comprises 10 minutes of devotional and prayer requests followed by 20 minutes of corporate prayer, which is led by a different student each day.

When Bachelor of Arts student Caden Farr, who frequently leads the time of corporate prayer, first heard about the prayer gathering, he was hesitant about having to wake up early enough to be there by 6 a.m. However, after attending the first meeting, he realized both the personal and eternal benefit.

“Morning prayer is a great reminder that even though God uses our meager human actions to further the Gospel, everything is still dependent upon Him,” Farr says. “We can’t even pull breath into our lungs without Him. It’s true that the prayer time is early in the morning, but it is absolutely worth it.”