Every time I ask, or just simply think about a 24-hour prayer house for my campus, I receive the same answer from God: “Wait for me.” Knowing that my waiting could range anywhere from days to years, I’ve stayed motivated by remembering God’s character. He is faithful to keep me from despair, and time after time, He brings delight to my wanting heart.
Earlier this year, I read Jaeson Ma’s book, The Blueprint: A Revolutionary Plan to Plant Missional Communities on Campus, and just as Ma had prayed, my heart was set on fire for God and I found myself longing to see His immeasurable power at work on my campus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the book, Ma talks about a 24-hour prayer house on the UCLA campus, so I wondered if we had anything similar at my school. I searched online for the organization ‘Campus Renewal’, which was mentioned in the book, and after contacting them, I inquired about a prayer house on my campus. To my surprise, we did not have one.
I felt excited and wanted to start a 24-hour prayer house on campus myself. I immediately contacted the Campus Renewal team and also shared my excitement with Christian friends in town. Despite the excitement, this marked the first time I heard God’s voice saying “Wait for me.” I struggled with that reply and asked God, “why wait?”
God then led me to read the biblical account of King Saul. Saul failed to wait for the Lord, but instead went into battle before God said it was time, and the results were devastating. I was gripped with fear, realizing that it was God’s battlefield and accepted that my part was to wait and listen for His command—not to do my own will. So instead, I started following the Campus Renewal individual prayer guide alone, waiting for God to show me the next steps.
First Experience of Holy Spirit’s Work in Bible Study
On a Friday night in May, all the leaders in my fellowship experienced something amazing. Our team organized bible studies every Friday to reach out to international students on our campus. We usually facilitate the discussion with some questions we’ve planned earlier, but on this particular night, no leader used the questions.
Everyone in bible study was active in discussion, and all of us were discussing the scriptures with inquisitive minds. Noticing that the Holy Spirit was doing something different, I shared my my dream for a 24-hour united prayer house and the individual prayer commitment I had made. Immediately Neelan, another student leader who is passionate for God and His kingdom, was excited and signed up for Campus Renewal.
Since then, our entire group has been committed to the Campus Renewal prayer pledge.
First Divine Providence
By the the end of the semester, as the summer came, although we followed the individual prayer guide, we still had no clue what the next step was for us. Then it was time for me to travel back China to visit my family. I brought my bible and individual prayer guide with me, continuing in my prayer pledge.
My heart still burnt passionately with thoughts of spiritual revival, especially as I remembered the organic church movement that Ma spoke about in his book that he experienced on his campus. Hundreds of students repented and came to Christ within a day and everyone was hungry for God’s presence and His word. The organic church functioned like a simple fellowship group and was easily reproducible, therefore, I asked God to provide expertise on creating an organic church movement on my campus.
Soon after, a friend in Beijing invited me to a Christian retreat and training organized by ISI (International Students Incorporated). The training was on the M28 global discipleship initiative, a model dated back to the CPM (Church Planting Movement) or the organic church movement!
This was exactly what I had been praying for! God equipped me with the knowledge and skills for His spiritual revival! I was so amazed at His providence and guidance. My heart was full of joy and praise!
First Invitation to United Prayer
After the summer training, I was full of excitement and could not wait to initiate the use of M28 with my bible study group. However, not everyone agreed that we should adopt this new method. I was so confused and disappointed, since but once again, God reminded me to trust Him and wait for Him. So, I went back to our routine, continuing in the individual prayer guide and preparing for the fall semester, when God gave me another sweet surprise.
On August 23rd, which we call quad day, all student organizations came to the quad on the south campus to recruit new students. The quad was full of students collecting brochures from different organizations, but many were overwhelmed by the student organizations and folded their arms, refusing to accept any invitation. The other leaders of my fellowship and I were intimidated to shout out loud to recruit students, but we prayed for boldness and the Holy Spirit soon filled our hearts with excitement instead of fear.
At the end of quad day, God blessed my fellowship’s table so much that we ran out of contact cards. As we were preparing to leave, Katie (our staff) hugged me and said,“Jane, there is a prayer meeting for quad day today. Do you want to join me?” She continued in excitement, “I heard Covenant Fellowship Church invited every Christian organization!” Of course I couldn’t miss the opportunity, as it was exactly what I had been praying for — united prayer on my campus!
First Taste of United Prayer
At the prayer meeting, there were about thirty people standing in a big circle from different denominations and Christian fellowship groups.
“Today we are here to worship and praise our God together. We have all-campus worship every year, but we do not meet together often. Today is a good opportunity for us to pray for the harvest all together. No matter which church or denomination we are from, we all worship the same Lord, ” a leader from Covenant Fellowship Church said. He then led us to pray specifically for the students we had met earlier at each of our tables.
Everyone from the various Christian groups prayed loudly. We prayed that God would continue to bless the harvest and that no one would be lost. Although it was a short prayer, everyone was filled with a heavenly joy that no one could steal away. All I could say was, “God is so good!”
To this day, I am still waiting on God to make the dream He gave me a reality. What will be His next surprise? I cannot imagine how much God will accomplish at my university. Let’s wait and experience the harvest joy with our God together!