Joining Biola House of Prayer’s dedicated participants for a full night of worship

BHOP meets in Talbot East from midnight to 8 a.m. every night from Sunday to Friday.

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Sophomores intercultural studies major Megan Carlson and elementary education major Kate Abel lead the BHOP worship session in the Talbot East prayer room, a cross-campus change from their former location in the AS conference room. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

Jenna Schmidt, Writer

Sophomores intercultural studies major Megan Carlson and elementary education major Kate Abel lead the BHOP worship session in the Talbot East prayer room, a cross-campus change from their former location in the AS conference room. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

 

For most Biola students, midnight out on campus is just another hour of study at the Fireplace Pavilion or another game of pool in the SUB. But for a group of dedicated Revive staff members and non-Revive volunteers, midnight is the time to gather together in prayer.

Tucked away in the Talbot East prayer chapel, the Biola House of Prayer, or BHOP, meets for Bible study, worship, prayer and community from midnight to 8 a.m. every night from Sunday to Friday. Volunteers cycle in and out to fill two-hour shifts with a variety of worship forms.

To understand the full perspective of these dedicated student leaders and their goal with these eight hours of prayerful community, I took a Thursday night to check it out. The only way to really understand the House of Prayer is to experience it.

“My desire is for it to be a place for students to know about, take advantage of and build unity through,” Revive member and sophomore elementary education major Kate Abel remarked. “It’s such a blessing and something that definitely sets Biola apart from many other colleges.”

As students serving students, these volunteers understand the need on the Biola campus for prayer and community. Most set leaders are not part of the Revive staff, but contribute to BHOP through sheer dedication to worship through the night.

A kaleidoscope OF WORSHIP

At 12:00 a.m. sharp, a trio of student volunteers, led by Revive staff member and senior psychology major Tony Santos, arrive to set up the prayer chapel. They push the wooden benches off to the sides and spread colorful blankets on the floor. There’s nothing formal or solemn to it, just a joyful mess of laughing, smiling people meeting together in faith.

“Culturally, we think prayer and worship is playing music or saying amen, but even in the Bible when David danced, that was worship,” Santos said. “Everybody’s cultural perspective is different. You can look at prayer by the posture too, taking a prayerful posture and being with God. That’s worship too.”

At the core of the House of Prayer is the communal aspect: being a community to serve the community. After its initial creation about a year ago, a couple hundred people have discovered BHOP and the student leaders already see a growing variety of students coming in weekly.

"I think BHOP provides the Biola students with a place to worship, rest, receive prayer and encouragement from others," Abel said. "It builds up the body of Christ and creates more unity."

At about 1:31 a.m., intercultural studies grad student Malina Wong livened up the worship atmosphere with some gospel hymns. The BHOP community mixes cultures and individuals together under one roof and with one purpose.

"When we're aligning ourselves with Christ, when we're doing what God wants, we're happy, we're joyful, and people see that," sophomore intercultural studies major Blake Keller said.

EARLY MORNING BIBLE STUDY

2:11 a.m. ushers in a Bible study focusing on the faith of Hebrews 11 and Daniel 6. This message is echoed in the music and prayer for all students who come by the chapel throughout the night. By connecting very personally with every student who stops in, the BHOP leaders bring to life their goal of a prayerful community.

A little after the halfway mark, around 4:06 a.m., the handful of students in the chapel at this early hour gather to pray for one another.

"Anytime anyone wants prayer, we're willing to come together and pray for them," Santos said.

After six hours in the prayer chapel, it’s a wonder and a joy to step out to see the sunrise from the Talbot courtyard. Many BHOP attendees find themselves watching this marvel of creation after a night of worship. At 6:15 a.m., it's also the cycle into the next two-hour shift, led by sophomore elementary education major Harrison Yu.

“Joining BHOP made me … more intentional, about others, about my own walk with God,” Yu said. “Seeing other perspectives is very special.”

While the concept of creating a prayerful community isn't a new thing, BHOP approaches it a little differently. By creating a special place for students who simply need someone to talk, sing and pray with at those late hours, BHOP is weaving together a community tightly connected in faith and love.

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