This semester, Wednesdays have seen me showing up to campus by about 8.30am. Usually armed with music sheets and my guitar (though I switch it up and play the piano every now and then), I wait for the clock to strike 9, watch for Justin Christopher’s signal and pray that everything goes well and that I don’t mess up.
See this semester, I am the worship leader for Campus Minister Fusion Group. More than that, I am the new kid amongst a sea of experienced and highly respected campus ministers.
The Back Story
For about 13 years now, the campus ministers at The University of Texas at Austin have been coming together on a weekly basis to pray together for the campus, and for one another. As long as school is in session, they can be found together every Wednesday at 9am at the Campus House of Prayer (CHOP) praying, sharing stories, and deepening relationships.
Though I’ve only been a part of this prayer time for a couple of weeks, it’s really taught me a lot about prayer and partnership, and the power that comes from understanding the significance of being a united Body of Christ on campus.
Prayer breaks down walls
If you look at the campus ministers today, most people would have a hard time believing that they once weren’t even interested in praying together. Some were indifferent, others didn’t see the sense in praying together, and others were in conflict. Still, in a breakthrough moment, they all decided to give it a try and the rest, like they say, is history.
Praying together allowed the campus ministers to hear each other’s hearts. As they slowly opened up and shared struggles and victories, what became clear above all the differences was that they all loved Jesus, and they desired for all students to come to know Him. Prayer opened the door to unite around this common mission, and to realize that we are all partners in Christ.
Prayer knits us together
Justin Christopher, our UT director and staff member for Campus Renewal Ministries likes to say that what happened is the ministers went from tolerating each other, to accepting each other, and finally valuing one another. And that’s the thing about prayer. You can’t help but begin to appreciate those around you who are willing to sacrifice time and get before God with you.
If we really want to follow in the footsteps of Christ and the apostles, then one thing we must model is this idea of praying together constantly. (Acts 1:14) After all, if we’re so used to saying the phrase “ it all starts with prayer,” then do it!
Prayer leads to greater partnership
When someone becomes important enough for us to pray with, they eventually become important enough to partner with as well. This in turn gives way to creating greater unity, which leads to creating a better spiritual climate and increased growth. (See the ripple effect?)
As mentioned in previous articles on this blog, unity is the key to seeing God move anywhere. And how do we get on the same page? Well, I think you already know the answer. Pray. And be willing to pray with others around us. After all, how can we expect God to answer any of our prayers, if we’re not willing to answer one of His?
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me.” – John 17:20-23