Day of Prayer | The 3 A.M. Slot

Day of Prayer | The 3 A.M. Slot

Sometimes I get these awesome ideas. Such as, going to bed at a decent hour (NEVER happens), taking a five-minute homework break (yeah…one hour later, still having a dance party with my roommate), or driving to three different OCF events/retreats across different states in ONE weekend (for the record…it was INCREDIBLE!).

Sometimes these ideas are a bit of a stretch and can leave me questioning my judgement, but sometimes these ideas have worked out in my favor and have lead me to some of the best and most memorable experiences of my life.

Last year, one of my favorite ideas was to sign my OCF chapter up for the 3 am time slot for Day of Prayer.

Photo Credit: Alexi Kp

What is Day of Prayer? It’s a day when Orthodox Christian students join together and pray unceasingly for the first 24 hours of Great Lent. OCF chapters from all over North America sign up in advance for a one hour time slot. Then, beginning at 6 pm on Sunday and ending at 6 pm on Monday, chapters will livestream their hour of prayer so that people from all over the globe can view and participate in this spiritually-enriching experience with their brothers and sisters in Christ.

During my freshman year at school, I remember watching the Day of Prayer livestream on my computer from my dorm room. I had been frantically finishing up some homework at an absurd hour of the night. It was quiet and my roommate was asleep, but as I sat there in the light of my desk lamp, listening to the steady voices of the students reading, chanting, and singing the prayers of their hearts, I had a sense of peace come over me. I was being remembered and prayed for; I was not just another college student who felt like they had fallen below the radar of the outside world. In that moment, I was reminded that I was not alone.

Skipping to the following year, remember how I said I had this awesome idea to sign up for the 3 am time slot? Well yep, it was happening, and I managed to convince most of the members from my OCF chapter to join in on the awesomeness too.

In the dimness of the church with a faint chill running up and down the pews, our little group gathered in a semi-circle in front of the icon of Christ. We prayed the prayers, and as I looked around at my chapter, some of my closest and dearest friends gathered in one spot, I had no desire to be back in the comfort of my warm bed where I probably should have been at that hour of the night. I wanted to be there, standing side-by-side with my brothers and sisters, talking with God and thanking Him for all of the blessings in our lives. I don’t know about you, but I talk a lot. I could ramble on for hours if given the opportunity, but when it comes to talking to God, I don’t do it nearly as much as I should and as much as I would like to do.

Day of Prayer gives us that opportunity. You literally set aside one hour during your week to talk to God; to ask for forgiveness, thank Him, and give glory to Him for all things. You physically and remotely come together on the first day of Great Lent, prepared to start the journey with a clean slate, and you are not alone.

Maybe I was too jet-lagged after returning from my Real Break trip the day before to realize, but the initial grumbling of, “Rachel you signed us up for WHAT?!” later that morning turned into a collective agreement that it was so worth the effort.

Day of Prayer 2017 is from Sunday, February 26th to Monday, February 27th. Sign-ups have already begun–check it out here!

Rachel Howanetz currently serves as the Mid-Atlantic Student Leader on the Student Leadership Board. She’s a junior at Millersville University studying Early Childhood Education.

There’s a Saint for That: St. Innocent of Alaska

New Praxis Program! There’s a Saint for That

tasft-attempt-7Thanks to the 2016-2017 Student Leadership Board, OCF presents to you the newest Praxis Program: There’s a Saint for That. OCF Praxis Programs are designed to help your chapter live out your Orthodox faith on campus and in the world. These are programs you could host on your campus any time of year and with a huge chapter or a tiny chapter!

“There’s a Saint for That” is a simple program any chapter can do to get to know a new saint together. On our website, you’ll find a manual with everything you need: an introduction to intercessory prayer, a five-step template that can be applied to any saint, and a list of saints we think you should get to know. We’ll also be posting a completed packet for a new saint each month this year with all the work done for you. This month, we present to you our patron saint, St. Katherine.

The program is designed to take as little as fifteen minutes or the length of a whole meeting by including a discussion and an akathist. If you have questions on how to implement this program, you can contact your Regional Student Leader.

Day of Prayer | A Student Reflection

Day of Prayer | A Student Reflection

Day of Prayer LogoCollege is tough. Between classes, clubs, sports, relationships, and missing family, it gets very stressful. Trying to actively keep the faith and pray, fast, abstain from certain activities, and go to church regularly adds to the struggle.

Many times a semester I’ll find myself worn down from all of these things and needing a break. I’ve find an oasis in the OCF at Penn State, and hope you have at your school, too. But every once in a while it’s nice to have something special to help refresh you. One of my favorite events like this is Day of Prayer.

I’ve participated in the Day of Prayer each year I’ve been in college so far. This year it’s from March 13th at 6PM Eastern to the 14th at 6PM. If you don’t know how Day of Prayer works, for 24 hours, OCF chapters around the country will be on a live stream for one hour-increments praying in front of a camera. You can easily go online any time during those 24 hours and watch other Orthodox students in Pennsylvania or Kansas or even Hawaii praying. When you go to sleep on the 13th you can take a peek or look when you wake up on the 14th. Following along is easy and flexible. Just go to the OCF website and find the link and watch and pray along.

It’s also really enriching to participate, as I have the past two years. If you’re looking to refresh yourself from the grind of college, have a great bonding hour with the members in your OCF, or just pray, it’s a great way to do so. Staying up really late and walking to church with your OCF friends to pray together in an otherwise empty church at 3AM is a great way to refresh your spiritual life.

Heck, I enjoyed it so much I purchased a Psalter that week so I could pray in a similar fashion in my own room. It truly is a valuable experience individually and as an OCF group. I certainly felt a lot closer to those I prayed with for that hour afterward and think you will too. And I’ll never forget being in that candle lit chapel and seeing the candle light and shadows dance around on the icon of Christ.

So if you can, go for it and sign your OCF up to pray on the live stream. Try to personally do it at least once in your college career. And if you can’t, try to tune in and watch for a little bit on the stream. Also make sure to spread the word to your other Orthodox college friends so they know about this amazing opportunity!

timdalyTim is a Penn State Schreyer Honors student junior double majoring in Management (with an HR concentration) and Labor & Employment Relations, with a minor in the Legal Environment of Business. He has been an active member of the Penn State-University Park campus OCF his entire collegiate career and is now the active president for the club. Tim is also the current OCF Philadelphia District Leader. Feel free to hit Tim up on Twitter or LinkedIn to talk basketball or Orthodoxy.