Prayer rooms offer quiet space for students to worship, decompress


Madalyn Buursma

A Bible verse painted on the wall of a BHT prayer room.

Tucked away within the dorms and apartments on Calvin’s campus are many prayer rooms and meditation chapels for students to use. Each of the spaces are unique — some with paintings on the ceiling tiles, some equipped with pianos, others offering ways to give prayer requests, but all offer an environment for students to find quiet and peace from the stressful student life.

The meditation chapel in RVD offers a piano and music stand for student use.

Most of the dorm prayer rooms offer a way for students to write on the walls. The red walls in the prayer room of Kalsbeek-Huizenga-van Reeken, which doubles as a piano room, are covered with prayers, Bible verses and praises in metallic sharpie. The prayer room in Bolt-Heyns-Timmer has an area of the wall painted in chalkboard paint, though students used chalk on the rest of the walls as well.

“God is enough” says one of the many phrases found on the chalk walls of the BHT prayer room.

The official mediation chapel in Bennick’s basement is small, windowless, and the lights don’t even work: but just down the hall is a room with big comfy chairs, filled with Bibles, craft supplies, and a small poster saying “BB, may you grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior -RVD.”

The prayer rooms in the Knollcrest East apartments offer similar, though often smaller, spaces. The prayer room in Zeta-Lambda offers residents private, tiny rooms with a Bible, chair and a place to kneel.

These components allow students to use the prayer rooms for a variety of purposes.

“The prayer rooms offer a space for anyone to come and find time with God,” said Sam Sajdak, a sophomore Barnabas in Beets-Veenstra. “They can be used in silence, meditation, devotions, and even people using it to play guitar and offer a space to worship God in their own way.”

Some barnabas teams, such as Sajdak’s, meet in their prayer rooms to put together their dorm worship and Bible studies.

BB’s meditation chapel offers two giant couches for students to make use of.

“It’s a way for us to connect and know what’s going on in each other’s lives and how to help one another,” Sajdak said. The barnabas team in Bolt-Heyns-Timmer also meets in the prayer rooms once a week, said Barnabas and sophomore Carleigh Cronkright, alternating each week between making plans for their residents and having a Bible study.

However, many students use the quiet space for things besides worship.

Sophomore Luke Devries, a barnabas in Schultze-Eldersveld, said the residents don’t frequently use the prayer rooms, but it does offer a place for students to decompress.

“It is most often used for people who are stressed, need to make tense phone calls, or have personal and private conversations,” he said. Cronkright agreed, noting that often students use the rooms as a social space or a good place to talk on the phone.

“I’m not aware of many students who use it for the purpose of prayer or meditation,” Cronkright said.

Comfy furniture and decorations allow this prayer room in NVW to offer students a peaceful environment.

Sajdak hopes the way students use the prayer rooms in the future will change.

“We hope to find a way to invite more people to use the space more effectively in the coming semester and year,” he said. However, he pointed out that many students are worshiping in different spaces besides the prayer rooms, saying some students use their rooms or take walks outside.

“People are unique and find all different ways to find time with God,” he said.

The door to the mediation chapel in NVW.
The walls of the prayer room in KHvR is covered with praises, Bible verses, and meditations.
The prayer room in BV, also marked up with the musings of its visitors.
Continuing the trend, words cover the walls in the prayer room of SE.