Jonathan Edwards, the great 18th century pastor and leader of the First Great Awakening, was one of the first in our country to ask the question, “How can we unite believers across the country in prayer.” After hearing about how Christians in Europe were uniting their churches in prayer, he called the churches in our country to do the same.
He cast this vision by writing a small book with the very long title entitled: An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth. Ha! I wonder what the book was about?
Edwards’ vision was fueled by the following passage from Zechariah 8 where a prayer movement is expanding from one city to the next and then encompassing the nations.
19 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.” 20 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, 21 and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ 22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him.” 23 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”
Prayer Meetings Come Alive
A prayer movement gets started when just a few people begin praying and fasting and it becomes a joy. Once dead prayer meetings are suddenly full of life.
One City Invites Another City
Naturally, those who have been impacted by prayer and fasting begin inviting others to join them. Prayer movements spread quite simply when people are invited. People learn to pray by joining others.
The Uninvited Nations Come
Finally, the vision spreads to the degree that others hear about it. They were not invited, but they still show up because they heard that God is there.
The First Great Awakening
Edwards simply asked believers to agree to some simple united rhythms of prayer. Things like praying daily personally, weekly with other believers in your church, and quarterly with believers in other churches. He called these rhythms a “Concert of Prayer.” It was a major part of the First Great Awakening.
The Next Great Awakening
Campus Renewal is hoping to unite students across the country in prayer for the next Great Awakening. Like Edwards, we have a simple but profound plan. What if we asked students on hundreds of universities to make 4 simple commitments.
- Personally pray for awakening daily
- Corporately pray for awakening weekly
- Monthly fast for awakening (together on the first Friday of each month)
- Annually unite the Body of Christ on campus in prayer for awakening
To unite our prayers we have created several resources.
- A daily prayer guide written by 31 well-known Christian leaders
- A weekly prayer guide written by Campus Renewal staff
- A live webcast that unites students on the First Friday Fast
How do we unite students around the world in prayer? By agreeing to some simple rhythms and common resources. This week Campus Renewal is launching this initiative. We’re hoping that thousands of students on hundreds of campus will participate and thus usher in a new Great Awakening.
Will you join us?
Will you help us spread the word on your campus and other campuses?
Watch this video and share it.
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ ” Zechariah 8:20,21
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 gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the missional community movement at the University of Texas.