The second week of my freshman year at the University of Texas, a few friends and I decided we’d pray together at 7am every weekday. That 7am prayer meeting continued for fifteen years until it gave birth to the Campus House of Prayer in 2006.
I am grateful for the many students who joined me each day over those many years and am equally excited to see who will join us this year, as we unite in prayer each weekday at 7am and 9pm at the Campus House of Prayer.
Much of my conviction to pray comes from the book of Acts, as we see the early church committed to prayer above all things. Here are just a few of the verses that remind me that we should be praying together daily from the first six chapters of Acts.
On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. Acts 1:4
Normally the first word that comes to mind when we think of the great commission is “go.” But we see here that the first command is actually “wait.” By the disciples response, they knew that “waiting” meant praying. Prayer is the first part of the great commission.
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Acts 1:14
This is how the church was started – in a constant prayer meeting. Jesus’s followers gathered in an upper room to pray and the Holy Spirit came upon them to birth the church. The church started with a prayer meeting.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42
This is the passage in Acts that best describes what the church did when they were together. Prayer is among the four best ways to describe what the church looked like. They were a people devoted to praying together.
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Acts 3:1
The church leaders must not have been morning people. Their daily time of prayer was at 3pm. It does not get more clear than this. They prayed together daily.
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31
After Peter and John are released from jail the first thing they do is gather with the church to pray. Instead of plotting and planning how to avoid future persecution they simply unite in prayer. Prayer, as always, led to more evangelism.
Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed. Acts 5:16
This is from the second passage in Acts that describes what the church did together. They prayed for the sick and afflicted. God answered their prayers and healed everyone, and the word spread about these praying people and their amazing God.
…and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word. Acts 6:4
As the church begins to grow, it becomes clear that the apostles need to appoint new leaders and create new jobs to meet the increasing needs and opportunities in the church. They appoint new leaders to help with the increased demands, but state very clearly their own job description – prayer and teaching. As the apostles saw it, prayer was 50% of their vocation.
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.