The full moon on the clear night backlit the red brick buildings with their white detailed inset windows. The bronze toe of Mr. Harvard’s large foot shone in the moonlight as I touched it and I prayed over him, this modern-day idol, representing all the prestige and pomp that would come with a degree from this Ivy League institution.
In one of my hands, I held a tent stake. We had come to the Harvard campus that night, with the stake, as a prophetic act of breaking ground, of clearing the way for revival, and of setting up the tabernacle of the living God on the historic campus.
Months ago, I had a dream about this campus. In the dream, God told me that He used to have a resting place here and that it used to be a place where people would gather to see His glory. These words wrenched my heart, and I knew that He was calling me to take part in revival at Harvard University.
There are rumblings of revival already happening. All around campus, both in the undergrad student body and in the graduate school, students are calling others to pray and fast. Even from my window, a few blocks away from the school buildings, I can hear and almost feel the rumblings of the dining hall staff being on strike…maybe the Lord is trying to emphasize fasting!
Furthermore, one of the two students who was with me that night is currently leading prayer and discussion groups in the architecture school, where she has seen a number of classmates return to the Lord after walking away. Last week in particular, she shared her testimony, and five of her friends came and all want to join the group.
The other girl that was with me, a first year student at the divinity school, tells stories about the hunger and openness of her classmates, all of whom have come to Harvard seeking God. Most seek Him through pluralism and humanism. That night, we circled the divinity school and declared Jesus as King there too.
As we walked around campus, praying and declaring, we asked God where He would have us place the stake.
We looked up the history of the campus, and discovered that Harvard Yard, the ground on which we were walking, was the original site of the first three buildings of Harvard University in 1636, when it was originally founded as a school to train pastors and theologians. Many aspects of the campus architecture still reflect those roots. The gates are interlaced with Bible verses, the philosophy building is inscribed with the words “who is man that thou art mindful of him?”, and the coat of arms shows three books — 2 open representing knowledge to be discovered, and one closed, representing the mysteries of God. Although in 1747 the seal was changed to three open books, some of the original seals still remain.
As we wondered, we were led to Massachusetts Hall, which was our final destination. It is the oldest surviving building on campus, and we read that it housed (as a dormitory) John Adams, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and James Otis. Currently it houses the office of the president, who is, not so coincidentally, a descendant of the revivalist Jonathan Edwards.
As we were at Massachusetts Hall, the moon cast a long shadow of a cross on the front side of the building, so we decided that was the spot! We drove the stake into the fertile soil under a nest of ivy, and declared over Harvard that its ivy would no longer be poison to the minds of young people, but that it would again be healing ivy for the nations of the world, and that the glory of the Lord would return.
For me, setting this stake in the ground was more than a prophetic act for Harvard. It was a confirmation of a promise I had made to Jesus the previous summer when I encountered Him powerfully in Mozambique. I had surrendered my dreams of foreign missions, and committed my life to seeing revival happen at Harvard.
In essence, by placing the stake in the ground, I and these two committed grad students with me, married the land. We said to the Lord, “’til death do us part”. Though I don’t understand what all that entails, does anyone when they speak those words? Loving this pile of bricks and white paint doesn’t come naturally for us, but we love the One who loves the land, and love what He loves.
Coincidentally, when I typed the words above, they were autocorrected from “married the land” to “married the lamb”, which I think is appropriate.