The student-founded United Prayer Group brings Rangers of all backgrounds together

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Sarah Wordhouse, Junior Writer

“The only way I know how to change things is through prayer, and I really felt like that was something missing in our school,” said senior Amanda Riffe.

Amanda is the creator and leader of the school’s United Prayer Group that began last December. It is a place where people from all grades and backgrounds can come and be supported by fellow students through prayer.

“I wanted a group where students could be encouraged,” Amanda said, “[and] have a space where we could all come together and just genuinely talk to one another.”

Amanda had the help of her friends and fellow seniors Sydney Bruneau and Abby Burr to help her realize her vision.

With the go-ahead from the administration, the prayer group was well on its way to becoming a reality.

“Once I sat down and talked with Mr. Passinault last year, he said that it seemed like a good idea and that there wasn’t really anything stopping me as long as we’re not discriminating against anyone,” Amanda said.

As promised, the group remains nondiscriminatory. Anyone is welcomed, and there are no requirements.

“[The group is] non-exclusive,” Amanda said. “We do pray to God and Jesus, but we don’t force anything on anyone.”

With the group’s all-inclusive and welcoming message, it’s no surprise that it has had success bringing in people from all grades. Sophomore Susan Toppen is one of the 20 people that attend the group.

“I have been raised Catholic and even though others in the group are Christian, we all have the same thing in our heart: a love for God,” Susan said. “Being able to sit and pray together is magical to me.”

Susan says the atmosphere is comfortable, and people are tremendously caring. Despite that, the group has expanded since its beginning. Nonetheless, it has managed to stay close-knit and just as supportive as when it first began.

During the hour of prayer and conversation, the attendees give run-downs of their weeks– the good, the bad, and everything in between.

“We like to do a rosebud and a thorn of our week,” Amanda said. “It’s cool to see stuff people have prayed for and see it come true. [They] see how God is working in our lives, and sometimes we look back and see everything that God’s brought us through.”

The caring side of the group was something Sydney, one of the co-founders of the group, adored.

“[I’ve heard] people who’ve had terrible days and as soon as they’re done sharing, people come around them,” Sydney said. “Seeing everyone come together when someone’s having a bad day, and just seeing that everybody genuinely cares about what they’re going through, [is something I love about the group.]”

Not only is the group a safe place for people to unload, but also where someone can connect and meet new faces, or simply to get to know some of them better.

“It’s really brought me closer to the people in my class because we sit down and talk to each other- frankly, honestly- about what’s going on in our lives,” Amanda said. “We get to pray together and just talk about life.”

Amanda enjoys getting to know who people really are by talking to them and experiencing community together. Here, it gives her a chance to truly meet and understand people in a less structured environment than the one created during school hours

“Meeting new people is [the best part,]” Amanda said. “Just talking to everyone- because I love people- and getting to know people’s hearts and past. The facade that people put on… I like to see past that.”

As Amanda makes the transition from high school to college, she hopes the club will continue to flourish with all its same core-values.

“I hope that it goes long term even after I leave,” Amanda said. “I want it to keep growing. I want it to go outside of these four walls and have students be able to pray for each other, but also so people in the community have that kind of spirit of revival.”