Students pray for Southwestern Seminary personnel during SBC annual meeting

Prayer Cards 2024

The campus of Southwestern Seminary is just a little quieter as a number of faculty and staff participate in the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting and related meetings in Indianapolis, June 9-12. But those attendees and messengers go with the prayer and support of students and other faculty who remain.

Eight Southwestern women, who gather weekly for a Bible study on campus, decided to express their support for those men and women by writing cards with prayers, encouragement and Scripture for each of the faculty attending this year’s convention.

“We all need the strength of the Lord, all the time,” said Cristina Aguilera, a Doctor of Education student from Columbia. “But in that specific situation, they are the public face of the seminary in the convention. At that moment, to know that someone is praying for them in those days or before, I think it has a good impact on them.”

A few weeks before the convention, this small group of students randomly selected faculty and staff names from the list of convention attendees, some picking five or six individuals. They then began praying for them during the remaining days leading up to the convention while also committing to pray for them each day during the convention.

In addition to praying, for a second year they decided to write notes that were distributed to those individuals after they arrived at the convention.

“It’s always very encouraging to receive a card,” Catherine Chan, a PhD student in Old Testament, said, explaining each person would receive a note each day of the convention.

Aguilera recalled sending similar notes to students participating in mission trips in the past, and said she believes doing the same for Southwestern representatives at the convention is also an important act of support.

“Prayer is important,” Aguilera said. “And as the Bible says, we should carry each other’s burdens through prayer and other means.”

Chan said the convention is an important moment for all participating faculty, not just those in leadership who will speak at the convention and answer questions, but also those in different roles who provide other services and support.

“Some of the people I write to, I don’t really know them,” Chan said. “But I’ve learned that either way, you can still encourage a person with a Bible verse and a short prayer just asking the Lord for wisdom for the day.”

Deana Kiser, the associate vice president for human resources and risk management at Southwestern, attended the convention for the first time in 2023, and recalled how tears came to her eyes as she read the notes, saying they brought her peace and focus knowing others were praying for her. When she received notes again this year, Kiser said she was again struck by their impact on her.

“I just think it’s amazing how the Lord works,” Kiser said, saying each card with its Scripture has served as encouragement, but also a special teaching moment from the Lord. “Perfect strangers are writing notes to people they don’t know for a future time…The Lord knew, whenever they wrote these, He knew what would be happening each day and where I would be and what would be going on. And so, it’s really meaningful to get these and think back like that and read them and know that they’re just perfect for today.”

Kiser said those not attending the convention can continue to pray for the convention, that there would be unity and a clear revealing of God’s will as decisions are made, but especially that each messenger would be open to hearing from the Lord while they participate in the convention.