Libna Stevens/IAD/ANN staff
For the second consecutive year, thousands of students attending Seventh-day Adventist schools and universities throughout the denomination’s Inter-American Division put away their books to spend a day focused on prayer and Bible study.
The special day follows Inter-America's Constant in Prayer initiative, launched last year, which falls under the Adventist world church's spiritual Revival and Reformation initiative.
Last Wednesday, some 500 students, teachers and leaders gathered for a special program at the University of Southern Caribbean (USC) in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, the hub of the event, and one of hundreds of campuses top church leaders toured through throughout the territory.
"This day of prayer was meant to be a call to all our students and teachers for a closer communion with God through prayer and the study of the Bible," said Gamaliel Florez, Education director for the church in Inter-America. "Christian Adventist education has its foundation in the Bible, which affects the entire design of the curriculum."
Students sang and prayed together throughout the two-hour program at USC. University President Clinton Valley led prayer sessions with students, later saying that the experience was “meaningful and refreshing.”
The 52 schools in the multi-island region involved in prayer and other activities are all geared toward "refining the [spiritual] values so that you can impact the wider community," said Dr. Hillary Bowman, Education director for the church in the Caribbean Union.
In San Juan, Puerto Rico, students participated in a series of dramas and special music. They prayed with young people who are struggling with addictions in a nearby recovery center. Elementary and secondary students also paused to pray for parents who dropped their children off at school and joined in prayer sessions.
In Nassau, The Bahamas, more than 900 students and teachers gathered at Bahamas Academy to learn that they can pray about their needs. Students shared testimonies of answered prayer and were given the opportunity to have church leaders pray for them.
In Willemstad, Curacao, nearly 400 elementary students at the Advent School Noord Roozendaal wrote down their prayer requests, prayed together, sang and learned about the importance of prayer.
"We are delighted that this day of prayer throughout our schools and universities has been instituted permanently in our Inter-American Division educational system," Florez said.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America serves more than 173,000 students with 1,002 schools, among them 14 universities. The territory includes Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and the five northernmost countries of South America.