As part of a new series of posts, we’ll be interviewing people involved in the key London spheres, asking for their observations and prayer requests for their area of London life.

To begin with, we’ve got an interview with an anonymous Christian student in the academic sphere:

Where do you study and what do you do?
I am at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and I’m researching for a PhD in Medieval Islamic Theology

What does that mean in layman’s terms?
I spend my days trying to work out what medieval Muslim thinkers thought about the world. In particular, I’m interested in how they looked on the study of philosophy and how they used it in writing about God and the world. This means a lot of time spent with manuscripts, although a lot of my sources are, thankfully, published in book form.

As well as this, I help run a dialogue group for Muslim and Christian students, which I love! We have the most fascinating, open and honest discussions. Students share their stories of faith and we all learn something new every time.

How do you currently see God at work in the academic sphere?
University is a great place for asking questions. Lots of my fellow students think very hard about faith and religion; even if they come from countries where that is not easy. I really respect that. God is definitely at work there. People who have come from backgrounds where they might never have heard what Christianity is really about have the opportunity to really think through it during their studies. Also, Christians come into contact with all kinds of world views and we are forced to take our own faith seriously while also learning from others.

What’s your prayer for the academic sphere you work in?
That all people would have the opportunity to hear about Jesus. That as Christians we would be strong and filled with hope. That people would have integrity in their studies and research. That Christians (me included) would learn grace and compassion for all people through meeting so many different kinds of people.

What would it look like if God’s Kingdom reigned in full in your sphere?
Honesty and transparency; a lack of ‘agendas’ in different research projects; free discussion. Respect between students with different opinions.

Mark Williamson also blogs regularly at One Rock International, a training organisation resourcing missionary leaders across the globe. He’s passionate about good films, good food, getting into deep conversations, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna.