I was 16 years old when God first gave me a vision for uniting campuses in prayer. I heard Dan Hayes, author of Fireseeds of Spiritual Awakening, speak at a conference and I was forever changed. I instantly started thinking and praying about ways to catalyze a prayer movement on campus.
In high school I started with “Pancakes and Prayer,” a weekly time of united prayer over breakfast (yes, we did actually pray). Since that time I have attempted many simple strategies to unite students in prayer on college campuses.
Here are a few ways, including our newest effort. I hope they help you consider some united prayer initiative on your campus.
This is a unique term for one of CRM’s primary strategies. Fusion Groups are united prayer gatherings where the aim is to get one or more ministers or students from each campus ministry to pray together once a week. This is vitally important to building a united prayer movement. First the ministry leaders need to be praying together weekly.
As the name obviously indicates, this is daily prayer for revival. When the Body of Christ on a campus agrees to challenge their students to attend one prayer meeting a week at the same time, many will respond and a daily prayer group can grow to include hundreds of students.
If, for instance, 7am is set as the daily “revival prayer” time and 5 ministries agree to lead one day of prayer but promote all of them, then a movement can get started.
Concerts of Prayer
This was the term used by Jonathan Edwards and other to describe uniting in prayer monthly or quarterly. A campus can gather once a month for united worship and prayer. This is not a typical worship service of music and teaching. Rather, it is a few hours blending worship and prayer.
Almost all revivals in history have had some element of united prayer like this. In my opinion, every campus should have at least one such gathering a semester.
I know of a number of campuses, including the University of Texas where I serve, that have done the “divine experiment.” It’s a 21-day fast where students agree to fast from something and pray together daily (at least Monday through Friday). This have been life altering for many students. If two or three ministries agree to do it together, it is even more powerful.
Adopt a Prof
Once at UT we collected the names of all 2100 professors (easily found on your campus’s website). We made labels of the professors’ names and put them on cards. Then we asked 700 students to take a card, agreeing to pray for their three profs daily. I Timothy 2 tells us to pray for our authorities so it seemed like a great way to do so on a campus.
I know all of our campuses are different sizes, but it just takes 168 people to pray 24/7 for your campus. Years ago we recruited 168 students to pray for UT each semester. We created a prayer guide and had 168 people praying the same scriptural prayers for UT just one hour a week. We got many non-students involved in this too so that all 168 hours a week could be taken.
24/7 Prayer Events
Many campuses have been blessed by 24 hour prayer events. Some go three days, while others to up to 40 days. These short spurts of 24/7 prayer can galvanize a campus and build a united prayer movement. Most campuses that do 24-hour prayer set up tents in the middle of campus to host prayer. It ends up being a big deal on campus.
Campus Houses of Prayer
Of course not every campus is ready to do this, but the events listed above can lead to 24/7 prayer or at least to the purchase or lease of a place near campus that is designated for 24/7 prayer. At the University of Texas we have a Campus House of Prayer (CHOP). We have a schedule for students to sign up for hours of prayer.
We’re not 24/7, but having a space for 24/7 prayer has created a great environment to mobilize more and more prayer.
Times are changing. That’s why we’ve recently thought to develop a “Pray UT App” that can connect students, alumni, and other in daily prayer for our campus. The idea is pretty simple. We’ve created a prayer guide where 31 campus ministries write an entry to the monthly prayer guide. Anyone believer who loves the campus can download the app and pray the same prayers for our campus each day.
We’re in the process of developing the app right now. It should be released in February. The good news is that once we do the labor to create the app other campuses, once they collect similar daily prayer entries, can use the same format to create their own Prayer App.
Stay tuned for the launch, and let us know if we can create a similar app for your campus!!
Justin Christopher is the national campus director for Campus Renewal Ministries and the author of Campus Renewal: A Practical Plan for Uniting Campus Ministries in Prayer and Mission. He facilitates CRM’s Partnering Campus Project and also gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the missional community movement at the University of Texas.