Prayer is at the heart of the life of the Academy. We pray at the start of our lectures as we pray at the start of each day, knowing that in both it is the Lord only who sustains and enables us to awake and learn. We pray as students and as staff. We pray together and we pray separately. For in prayer we are equal - in our praise and in our intercessions of need - we come before God our Father in the same Spirit of Truth, the Advocate, praying with confidence granted to us in Christ Jesus.
Once a week, students studying on-site in Riga come together for Holy Communion. The Chaplain leads the Service and presides over the celebration of the Eucharist, while students from more advanced years of study who are commissioned as evangelists in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia form a preaching rota. On some occasions, the service is lead by the rector of the Academy, Archbishop Janis Vanags, the Vice-Rector, Rev. Rinalds Grants, or Academy Alumni. We carry up to God in intercession His Church, its institutions, bishops, ministers, congregations, and church workers, entrusting to Him also the Academy, its students, and staff, as well as those in special need of God’s grace both within and outside the Academy. The liturgy of the service is rooted in Lutheran tradition, being in accordance with the order used in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, as it is set for working days.
The Academy also gathers in Vespers (evening prayer services), with on-site students doing so each workday evening, when not celebrating the Eucharist, but online students participating once a week. Vespers are an opportunity for students to practice leading a prayer service themselves, with the main responsibilities being the direction of the singing, the reading of Holy Scripture, leading the community in prayer, and giving a short homily. As an introduction to Vespers serves the liturgical chant of the Sunday Introit psalm corresponding to the week of the liturgical year. If the leader of the Vesper service does not chant the psalm and response, or sing the hymn (song), it can be delegated to the Cantor (the leader of liturgical chant). Similarly to the Divine Service, the order of Vespers also conforms to the order as it is used in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia as is based upon the Church heritage of the Reformation and earlier ages.
Pastoral Care and Spiritual Direction
A very important role in Academy life is pastoral care. The opportunity to receive pastoral care and attention, as well as spiritual, academic and personal direction, is open to all students, on-site and online, through the ministry of the the Chaplain. Burdens are shared as a student and Chaplain arrange a meeting to seek consolation and practical solutions to trials through prayer and conversation. Similarly, students are encouraged to seek unity as the Body of Christ and this often takes the form of informal prayer and worship events, as well as interceding for one another and offering advice, encouragement, and correction in the love of Christ towards obedience of faith. This is where the nature of the Academy as a community of followers of Christ shows itself the most - that in parallel to the academic formation, care is taken that each student would be spiritually nourished, encouraged, and chastised so as to support also their spiritual formation for them to better to answer God’s call towards their life with joy.