Every Monday evening, the lobby of Gibbs Hall is transformed from a lounging spot into a meeting place for a student prayer group. From 7 to 8 o’clock, students who truly believe that prayer can change things come together to join hands and pray for friends, family and each other.
For Linale Hardy, 29, the prayer group is a great experience. She said she enjoys it.
“For someone like me, it’s always good to come and get some blessings,” said Hardy, a junior construction engineering major from Tampa.
Brent Hatchett, a senior broadcast journalism student from Detroit, heads the group and is passionate in his quest to help people discover the power of prayer. Hatchett admits that his logic behind starting the group came from his pastor, who once led a prayer group on FAMU’s campus back in 1974.
“He said he had prayed about it and I was the one to do it,” Hatchett said.
The first thirty minutes of the hour-long meeting is dedicated to bringing fresh faces into the group. Hatchett and some of his group members walk around campus witnessing to people and encouraging others to come out and see what they’re doing.
For those students who decided to hang out at Gibbs, there is a Christian disc jockey playing music and keeping people entertained while they socialize and get to know each other.
“It shouldn’t be, but it is a refreshing surprise to see the response of those who want to be prayed for,” said Hatchett, who began his weekly prayer meetings this past summer in Benjamin L. Perry with a group of 33 students.
Since then, the group has grown–the second meeting consisted of 55 students and Monday’s session in Gibbs Hall with 52.
“Most students pray for help with their finances and needs being met, relationships with boyfriends or girlfriends and of course, school,” Hatchett said.
Before the prayer session, Hatchett gives a quick “five-minute” lesson on a given topic. It’s usually something that students can relate to–such as problems with friends, family and romantic interests. Because the lesson is quick and coming from a peer, students find it easy to listen and relate.
Students, such as Aerielle Jackson, have praised Hatchett for his efforts. She said he is good at what he does.
“I’m not the most religious person but Brent does put things in perspective, even for me,” said Jackson, 21, a business marketing student from Tampa. “He just keeps it real.”
Hatchett said he believes that this prayer group is about challenging people and watching them exceed their expectations of themselves. He believes it’s all about people growing and becoming better people.
Hatchett said, “If someone goes through the journey called college just to get good grades, and a good job without becoming a better person then it was in vain.”