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How Can Christians Face Hostility with Hope in the Rise of College Protests?

While the youth of our country speaking out and clamoring for their voices to be heard is nothing new—we have seen this in every generation—the concern is the growing momentum of student encampments, invasions of government buildings, and the lack of keeping them peaceful amid an already emotionally drained and divided nation.

Contributing Writer
Updated May 09, 2024
How Can Christians Face Hostility with Hope in the Rise of College Protests?

In a recent and open letter to the nation’s university presidents, the American Civil Liberties Union responded to the widespread college students protesting, asking that their faculty and staff not sacrifice the right to free speech or single out viewpoints for censorship. Yet, as the war in Israel forges on and the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis comes to a fragile tipping point, it is causing tensions to escalate, sparking controversy and non-peaceful protests to ensue. This has called for a present and demanding police force to keep order and to deter and de-escalate crime. 

While the youth of our country speaking out and clamoring for their voices to be heard is nothing new—we have seen this in every generation—the concern is the growing momentum of student encampments, invasions of government buildings, and the lack of keeping them peaceful amid an already emotionally drained and divided nation.

What Are the Current College Protests About?

Many of these students are jarred by the images and mistreatment of the Palestine civilians, along with the continued war’s death toll, so since April 17, there has been a growing trend to ban together and separate themselves from any companies or entities that are advancing Israel’s military efforts in Gaza (apnews). However, while there may be an underlying effort to support innocent Palestine civilians and Palestine students, these young adults are taking drastic measures, leading to utter chaos and pandemonium. Just last Wednesday, after protesters had been cleared from Colombia University’s Hamilton Hall, President Biden decided it best to address the nation and try to tamper with the current hostile college climates, stating, 

“There is a right to protest…But there is not a right to cause chaos” (Politico). 

However, despite the White House's endeavors to crack down on violence, the protests roll on, with Colombia appearing to be the epicenter of this movement. Currently, more than 2,000 protestors have been arrested on campuses across the nation (Washington Post). 

How Should Christians Respond to the Protests?

Pray! As believers, we must seek God for His provision, guidance, protection, and justice. Will you join me in praying for our nation and these college campuses?

A Prayer for God’s Hand Over Our Nation

Father, we ask for Your loving hand on our nation that is hurting and yearning for justice. As our world is at war and we are all groveling for peace, please help the students who are partaking in uncivil protests understand that turning to destruction and violence is never the answer. Please draw near and soften the hearts of Your people as we band together and lift up this nation’s youth. Amen.

A Prayer for Protection

God, we need Your mighty protection over our nation. As things have become rather volatile and heated at the college campuses lately, please keep the faculty, staff, and students safe from undue harm. Place a hedge of protection around those striving to keep these colleges free from crime and draw close to the parents of these college students, giving them strength to lean into You. Amen. 

A Prayer for Peace

Jesus, we are grateful to live in a country that gives us freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest unrighteous and unjust things. However, as campuses grow increasingly restless, we ask that You reclaim Your peace. Grant the university faculty and staff the strength and means to guide these students to find peaceful ways to express themselves. Amen.

A Prayer for Justice

O Lord, we are in need of Your divine mercy. As we seek justice and sift through all the news, distinguishing truth helps us display a character that would honor You. Break our hearts for what breaks Yours and give us the strength and wisdom to respond in love. Let us be filled with Your grace, compassion, and humility while meeting those who are hurting and in need of Your grace. Amen.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -  Philippians 4:6-7

Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Spencer Platt / Staff

Alicia SearlAlicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy.  Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

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