For the tenth consecutive year, hundreds of students and teachers in Seventh-day Adventists schools and universities across the Inter-American Division (IAD) territory put away their classwork to engage in spiritual activities focused on promoting a daily prayer life, sharing hope on their campus and communities, and testifying publicly of their commitment to a life in Jesus.
The special day on March 11, 2020, saw teachers and pupils eager to pray, sing, and fellowship together during the annual event.
“This special day of prayer is so important in our Adventist educational institutions because it cements in students the important aspects of communion with God: prayer, Bible study, and service to others,” said Gamaliel Flórez, education director for the church in Inter-America. The day is also one to showcase activities that send a clear message that the best way to enjoy life is to trust and surrender to the will of God, he added.
Flórez, who celebrated the day at the Dominican Adventist University in Bonao, Dominican Republic, with more than 1,300 junior and senior students from across Adventist schools on the island, witnessed Bible competitions, a public speaking contest, and creation painting competitions, as well as prayer sessions and numerous sports activities. He encouraged students to be strong and courageous as they face challenges.
“Make Jesus your top priority. Please don’t leave it for the end of your life. Cultivate a life of prayer,” said Flórez.
In Chiapas, Mexico, more than 7,000 students and 630 teachers and faculty in all of the Adventist schools turned their campuses and nearby streets into praying spaces. Students prayed for one another, wrote letters to God, and prayed for anyone willing to be prayed for. Students and teachers also prayed for local and government authorities, public servants, small businesses, and nearby schools. They also distributed literature. It was an activity that was replicated throughout the 31 primary and secondary schools in Chiapas during the five-hour school period, local educators said.
“Our objective was clear: to motivate students in experiencing intercessory prayer for others and show how important it is to face the daily challenges of life,” said Orley Sánchez, education director for the church in Chiapas.
Nearly 2,000 church leaders, parents, and students throughout Guatemala gathered at the Ipala Adventist Camp in Chiquimula to worship, pray, and witness the baptism of 77 students from across the 31 primary and secondary schools in the country.
More than 1,600 students from the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Adventist school system gathered at the church-operated Coatzacoalcos Camp in Veracruz, Mexico, to witness 71 of their classmates getting baptized.
There was music, interactive activities, and a testimony of a family from another Christian faith who was baptized thanks to the prayers and influence of their 10-year daughter, who studies in the Adventist school in Minatitlan, Veracruz, said Melchor Ferreyra, personal ministries director for the church in Inter-America, who took part in the day’s program.
“I was so impressed by how Amilcar Navarrete Mendoza prayed for her parents to become members of the Adventist Church. Soon after joining a small prayer group, they decided to give their lives to God, all because of the witnessing of their daughter,” said Ferreyra.
Thousands of students from the 26 Adventist schools in Medellin, North Colombia, took to malls, city streets, and communities to share hope and distribute hundreds of missionary books titled Confidence Amid Chaos, authored by Mark Finley.
The eight schools in the North Caribbean islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas, Tortola, St. Maarten, and St. Eustatius celebrated the annual day of prayer by listening to guest speakers, singing, praying, studying Scripture, participating in drama performances, and more.
St. Croix Adventist School divided its dozens of students into groups to bring cheer to the needy. They went to the mall to distribute literature, sang and prayed for shoppers, went to the Herbert Gregg Home for the Aged and the Flamboyant Garden, where they sang, read the Bible, and prayed for the elderly residents.
“It’s so satisfying to see young people willing to invest their time and talents in God’s service and praise His name during these past ten years celebrating the annual day of prayer,” said Flórez.
Church leaders and educators in the IAD continue to promote a daily study of the Bible and everyday prayer life to its more than 175,000 students across its 802 Adventist schools, including 14 universities.
Uriel Castellanos contributed to this report.