Over the course of one week, The University of Texas at Austin was inundated with united prayer, worship, and evangelism. That trifold combination led to the salvation of one student (let’s call her Jasmine), as well as thirty-eight others on campus.
Two of the events were new for 2015—72 Hours of Prayer and Worship at the Tower—and were birthed by various UT ministries, while two were Campus Renewal staples—All Campus Worship and The Maze, an evangelistic magic show. All four were united events, involving students and campus pastors from dozens of ministries.
72 Hours of Prayer took place in the center of campus, an unassuming prayer tent surrounded by free-speech boards. Over 250 students from eight different campus ministries signed up to pray and/or evangelize. They handed out Bibles, prayed over prayer request cards, and ministered to fellow students.
It is at 72 Hours of Prayer where Lilo, a staff for one of the campus ministries, first encountered Jasmine. It was Lilo’s job to oversee the information table at the tent for a six-hour shift. Jasmine was one of the people who came up to the table. Jasmine hung out with Christians, was even involved in Bible study, but said that wouldn’t call herself a Christian, wasn’t sure what she believed, and was still trying to figure things out. Lilo prayed for her there and invited her to the Maze.
Lilo wasn’t sure if she’d ever see Jasmine again, and she didn’t have much time to seek her out. All Campus Worship took place a few days later, then Worship at the Tower, and then, finally, The Maze.
The Maze is an evangelistic magic show that challenges perceptions of reality. Magician Jim Munroe uses mystifying demonstrations to present the Gospel. He then encourages students to fill out contact cards, that are placed under each seat before the event, if they want to make the decision to follow Christ, so that a campus ministry can follow up with and disciple them. Several UT ministries supported the Maze by inviting their members and encouraging them to bring their not-yet-believing friends.
Posters went up, lines formed at the doors, and Lilo was in the thick of it as people filed in. That was when she ran into Jasmine again. They weren’t able to talk long, but of course, Lilo hoped that the event would be the catalyst for Jasmine to finally accept Christ.
After the event, Lilo was eager to find out if Jasmine was one of the people who filled out a card. The person who sorted through the cards didn’t recall seeing a name that unique.
However, about two hours later, Lilo’s phone rang. “I found her comment card! Jasmine gave her life to Christ!”
Jasmine and 38 of her new brothers and sisters got saved during the Maze. So, surely it was the most impactful event this semester, right? It’s not that easy. If we take the story of Jasmine as an example, it’s impossible to view this united evangelistic event as its own success.
Instead, Jasmine’s salvation (and the other salvations at the Maze) were the result of a concentrated, united effort that covered the campus with prayer and filled it with worship. That changed things in the spiritual realm (we wouldn’t bother if it didn’t).
When things change in the spiritual realm, lives are transformed.
I’m saying that Jasmine wouldn’t have been saved if she’d gone to the Maze without meeting Lilo at 72 Hours of Prayer. God can do anything He wants, and He does a much better job of pulling on hearts than we do of pulling hearts to Him.
However, I don’t want to ignore the very blatant, very beautiful united effort that took place that week. United prayer was how Lilo met Jasmine. Three united worship and prayer events occurred just days before the united evangelistic event where Jasmine and thirty-eight others got saved.
This is what a united campus movement looks like. This one week of united prayer, worship, and evangelism that we experienced was a beautiful example of humility and unity. Every single event was the result of ministries inviting each other into partnership. It wasn’t about promotion or branding or even gaining new members.
It was about students like Jasmine, impacted forever by the efforts of Christians joining together to pray together, worship God, and reach out to those who didn’t know Him. It was about Jesus—knowing Him and making Him known on this campus and beyond.
Melody Valadez graduated with a physics degree from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2015. She now volunteers with Campus Renewal and collaborates with the Christians in Natural Sciences Missional Community. Melody is the author of Those Who Trespass, a novel for young adults that blurs the line between secular and Christian fiction.