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Calvin Takes Part in 40 Days of Prayer
February 7, 2006

Calvin College will be praying around the clock as part of the Burning Heart Contract, 40 days of uninterrupted prayer being held on college campuses across the U.S.

The event began January 20 at Azusa Pacific in California and ends February 28 at the University of California at Berkeley.

In between a variety of college campuses are hosting non-stop prayer.

Calvin's 24-hour cycle of prayer will be day 21 in the 40-day effort and will be held in the Calvin Chapel. It will begin at 9 p.m. on Friday, February 10 and continue through 9 p.m. on Saturday, February 11. Calvin will take over for UCLA and California at Irvine and then hand off to Missouri State, Drury and Evangel.

Calvin junior business major Kelli Muilenburg is one of the organizers of the event. She notes that members of the Calvin community are being encouraged to sign up for specific time slots to ensure that someone will be praying throughout the entire 24 hours.

"We're asking interested people to commit for an hour," Muilenburg says, adding that prayer organizers are encouraging creative expression. "You're more than welcome to pray by yourself or with friends. Pray however you feel is best for you, whether it's by sharing music or writing poetry. You don't have to sit in a chair, close your eyes, bow your head and fold your hands."

Muilenburg adds that the event is not just for Calvin students.

"It's open to students, faculty, staff, community members * anyone and everyone," Muilenburg says.

At 7 p.m. on Friday night, to launch the praying, there will be a worship service in the chapel featuring Becky Tirabassi, the author of The Burning Heart Contract, the book on which the 40 days of prayer is based. Tirabassi is traveling to each of the college campuses participating in the prayer effort.

"Her focus on this trip is to call forth this generation to be a people of confession and openness to God and hence a people of prayer," says Cherith Nordling, Calvin's co-director of Christian formation.

Nordling says that Tirabassi had recently declined an offer to speak at Calvin because of her traveling schedule for the Burning Heart Contract. She instead invited the college to be the 21st college in the 40-day vigil.

"I think it's God's good timing," Nordling says.

Calvin's participation in the event is fortuitous in another way.

The 24 hours of prayer will be taking place at the same time Calvin hosts the inaugural Faith and International Development conference, Thursday through Saturday, February 9*11. The conference, a student-planned event, will draw students from all over the nation to hear speakers such as David Beckman, president of Bread for the World and Kent Hill, assistant administrator for Global Health at USAID, and to attend the workshops, concerts and other events that combine issues of faith and international development.

"As long as we're going have people on campus who are going to be excited about what goes on across the globe, then having prayer is the logical next step," Muilenburg says. "We're inviting the conference participants to come and pray."

And though she is engrossed in handling logistics for the prayer effort, Muilenburg has signed up for a one-hour prayer slot. She expects company.

"I have friends," she says, "who have said, 'I'm going to bring my sleeping bag and stay for the whole thing.'"

~written by media relations staff writer Myrna Anderson