U. Kentucky students begin week of 24-hour prayer

(U-WIRE) LEXINGTON, Ky. – Six universities, including the University of Kentucky, can pray about anything this week during a constant vigil that began Sunday.

Students will pray 24 hours a day until Sunday during the week that marks the anniversary of two tragedies: the shooting at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, and the shooting at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Prayer began Sunday at 4 p.m.

“Students can pray for anything, just like the Bible says that God invites us to do, whether that’s our campus, our friends and loved ones, or even a higher tuition rate,” said David Rempfer, a computer science sophomore and coordinator of the event.

Students who are interested in joining the prayer at UK can sign up for a one-hour prayer shift at the tent set up on South Campus on the sidewalk outside of the Kirwin-Blanding complex. The shift will pass from student to student to ensure there is one person praying in the tent at all times, Rempfer said.

The goal of the prayer tent is to unify UK’s campus, but with the anniversaries of two campus tragedies, students will also be able to sign banners donated by businesses in the Lexington community to be delivered at the end of the week to Virginia Tech and Columbine High School.

The effects of these tragedies are manifold, Rempfer said. In a positive light, the occurrences have led campuses like UK toward more effective methods of preventing incidents like these in the future. Yet the victims, those close to them and the country as a whole have been left with an immense amount of grief, he said.

“They are particularly painful reminders of how deep the pain in our generation runs, and the unspoken truth is that this world just can’t heal it … but there can be healing, both personally and corporately,” Rempfer said.

Rempfer hopes the week of prayer will help the campus and the affected communities progress toward healing. In this way, prayer will act as a preventative measure in its own right, he said.

“That’s why we’re praying — to bring love and hope to hopeless and broken students like both those who survive these tragedies and those feeling empty enough to cause them,” Rempfer said.

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