In a college community reeling from charges of child sexual abuse by a football coach and cover-up at Penn State University, a Christian ministry leader plans to offer a 30-day prayer devotion series.
While many observers within the community are asking for change at Penn State by calling for the firing of administrators and reforming existing state laws, former house church pastor Chris Heinz believes an email series he created called “30 Days of Prayer for PSU” is much needed as well. The first email prayer guide will be sent Friday.
Heinz said he was looking for answers in the wake of child sexual assault charges against Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for Penn State University's football team, and the subsequent firing of both head coach Joe Paterno and the university's president last week.
“We’ll pray for the brokenhearted and the accused. We’ll pray for humility and self-reflection. We’ll pray for things to change,” Heinz said. “If we heed His words we can find our way out of the free-fall we are in.”
The idea for the prayer movement started out of a desire to know what God was thinking and saying about the devastating matter, he said.
“I started getting consumed by the news reports and opinions,” the marketing director for EnergyCAP told The Christian Post in an email.
“Words from the media, the lawyers, and the public were flying (and still are). Then I realized I hadn’t asked God what He thought about the situation,” Heinz said. “So I did and that’s where the idea of starting this 30-day prayer movement came from.”
It was a way to persist in prayer, focus on what God was saying, and change the spiritual climate of the community, he said.
“Prayer is the most powerful tool right now,” Heinz shared with CP. “This is a sad, desperate situation and I don’t know anything better to do in a sad and desperate situation than move toward God.”
During the next 30 days, a daily email will be sent out to those who join the movement, which can simply be done by subscribing to the list at www.PrayPSU.org. The email will contain a different prayer point, scripture and short devotional, which will center around four themes.
“The themes are four things I believe God’s saying to our community,” Heinz described. “‘My eyes are on the brokenhearted,’ ‘Worship Me alone,’ ‘Turn your sex lives over to me,’ and ‘Look at the plank in your own eye.’”
“I think we’ll see change in all the areas we’re praying about. Things like courage for the brokenhearted to draw close to God, exposure of our ‘acceptable’ idols, increase in sexual purity, and a spirit of humility. There is a lot more we’re praying for, but this is a sample of the ways our community will be changed by focused prayer.”
“People will come to the Lord and there will be a new reverence for God,” he added.
Like Heinz, much of the public was beginning to turn to prayer during the tragedy, witnessed at last Saturday’s football game between Penn State and Nebraska.
Nebraska assistant coach Ron Brown led the two teams and a crowded stadium of more than 105,000 fans in prayer midfield before the game began, asking God for protection and guidance.
“I think the prayer by Ron Brown was awesome,” Heinz commented. “Players from different teams came together to stand before God together. Our need for something, someone greater than ourselves is uniting us in this dark hour. I think that’s why many people are turning to prayer.”
Many have already signed up to join the movement, including students from different universities all over the nation.
“What started on the field is continuing in the 30 days of prayer,” the Pennsylvania resident noted.
Heinz was asked about the next step after prayer for those wanting to help.
“Besides prayer, probably the greatest need is for counseling,” Heinz advised. “These charges of abuse are stirring up wounds from current and past abuse victims. Financially supporting organizations that minister to abuse victims, both in the Penn State community and in your community is important.”
The first email for the “30 Days of Prayer for PSU” will be sent Friday. People who sign up after Nov. 18 will receive their first email the day of their signup.
For more information about the email series and Chris Heinz, click here.