Close your eyes, and listen to the old wooden floor panels creaking down beneath your feet. Quiet murmurs, hums of prayer, and a small clanging of the chandelier hanging from the ceiling will fill your ears, comforting your restless heart and weary mind. Nestled on the third floor of the Pfeiffer House, the 12-square meter Ada Prayers’ Chamber is a serene hideaway from the usual buzzing crowd of Ewha campus. The chamber, little known to most Ewha students, has been a coveted spot and something of a spiritual safe haven among Ewha students looking for a moment of peace through its history of 122 years
The history of Ada Prayer’s Chamber dates back to 1935 when Ewha students donated money to build the prayer room for commemorating the death of their friend and Kim Ada. Kim, a student of the Ewha Hakdang, and one of the most active members of the students’ council during Ewha’s early days, who died of pulmonary tuberculosis on January 31, 1931 when she was only in her mid 20s. But Kim, a devote Christian, never stopped praying for Ewha, her fellow students, friends and neighbors, while she was bedridden for five years and facing a slow death.
To commemorate Kim Ada and her prayers, and those who wish to continue praying on, the Ada Prayer Chamber was built. Kwak Su-yun (’98, Orchestral Instruments), one of the regulars in the prayer chamber, is a big fan of the place. She has been dropping by the room every once in a while since she first found the place during her junior year.
“In a prayer notebook, which is in the prayer’s chamber, a lot of seniors and students of Ewha have written down their prayer topics. In the notebook, I could read not just the letters written there, but also their thoughts and feelings, which show sincerity and affection for the school,” said Kwak.
Shuffling through the prayer notebooks, with countless entries made by the visitors, you will not only find the students’ passion for God, but also get a glimpse of the young women’s lives. A yearning for romantic love, the agony of broken heart, joys of friendship, a passion for dreams, a cry for help in troubled times, and a hope for a better life- they’re all in the prayers in the notebooks.
“Every once in a while, I see these traces of teardrops in the notebooks. That makes me wonder what all these girls were agonizing about, dreaming about, and feeling,” said Kwak. “I sort of feel connected with all these people who were praying here, although I’ve never met any of them.”
Students who truly sympathized with others’ prayer, have written down their response, unsparingly revealed their compassion and a remark of hope that they would also pray for those who wrote the prayers. .
Park Emmanuelle (’08, Psychology), one of frequent visitors to the prayer room, said she herself witnessed the power of prayer. Park discovered the chamber after searching for a place to pray and meditate.
“When I was a sophomore in graduate school, I had to take a semester off because I could not afford the tuition. I cried a lot and prayed a lot, praying for God to help me find a way, and help me go back to the school,” said Park. And what Park called a miracle happened—one of the professors at the department heard a story about Park’s financial difficulty and arranged a researching assistant position just for Park. And Park still remembers the moment she heard the news and felt like God has answered her tearful prayer.
“I hope footsteps toward Ada Prayer’s Chamber does not cease. I have always perceived the prayer room being equal to Ewha itself. It has been the mental prop and was regarded as a mother who remembers me and prays for me. I hope younger generation of Ewha can also feel the same way as I do,” Park said.
Matthew 7:7-8 said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Like the Bible, a hopeful future will show itself to only those who knock on the door. And the door of the Ada Prayers’ Chamber is also open to everyone who hopes to knock on the door of the unlimited possibility through the power of prayer and yearning for a better future and spiritual peace.