Before describing the stunning movement of prayer that God orchestrated last week from coast to coast, let me briefly provide some context.
For almost 100 years, concluding around 1915, there was serious national engagement in prayer for college students. Many believers, the vast majority of whom had never attended college themselves, paused on the last Thursday of February each year to ask God for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on America’s campuses. It was understood that students were the future clergy and cultural influencers of our nation; therefore, it was vital that they be awakened to Jesus Christ.
Referring to the success of the 19th century Collegiate Day of Prayer, Luther Wishard, the first collegiate secretary of the YMCA stated in 1882, “This day [of prayer] is often the beginning of a revival in the college . . . It is impossible to estimate the influence of this great national prayer meeting.” However, this practice faded over time, and its importance was seemingly lost.
Fast forward to 2009, New York City. I found myself meeting with eight campus ministry leaders to discuss the possibility of re-establishing a national day of prayer centered on the world of higher education. Within six months of that gathering, we hosted the first Collegiate Day of Prayer in the modern era with 450 campuses adopted at the website. While it was a humble beginning, something meaningful was established, and in subsequent years it continued to gain momentum.
In a stunning surprise to many (including me), this year all 4,944 two-year and four-year campuses in America were adopted for prayer at the website. On February 28, somebody was praying for every campus in America!
It was a joy to receive reports from the University of Texas, Pacific University (CA), the University of Tennessee, the University of Missouri—Kansas City, Baylor University (TX), Open Door Christian Fellowship (IN), and numerous other places. In fact, hundreds of testimonies, if not thousands, from around the country are currently being processed!
Also, it was a thrill to help create the Collegiate Day of Prayer’s first simulcast featuring Nick Hall (Pulse Movement), Ronnie Floyd (pastor and former President of the Southern Baptist Convention), and Thai Lam (Luke 18 Campus Ministry).
With a vision not to see this merely as a blip on the screen but as the beginning of a long-term sustained move of God in our nation, let’s continue in prayer for our institutions of higher learning.
- Ask the Lord to have mercy on our nation’s colleges and universities—so many of which predominately teach worldly and even anti-biblical thinking. If God treats us as our sins deserve, who could stand (Psalm 130:1–3)?
- Pray for the strengthening and emboldening of Christian students and faculty to speak-out the truth in what is often a resistant or even hostile environment (Dan. 3:13–18).
- Pray for Christian students not to become part of the 75% or so who lose their faith by the time they graduate. Pray that they will walk by faith with confidence in God’s truth (3 John 3–4).
- Intercede for lost students asking the Lord to take a massive harvest of souls among the 20 million college students on campuses today (2 Peter 3:9).
- Ask the Lord to give divine wisdom to campus ministry leaders and local churches in how to reach out to and engage today’s college students (James 3:17).
- Ask the Lord to give Christian students a hunger for apologetics (the logical defense of the faith), which is often necessary to stay the course in an academic environment, as well as to lead fellow students to faith in Christ (1 Peter 3:15–16).
- Now that we are post–Collegiate Day of Prayer (CDOP), pray for an expression of unity within the body of Christ in each local situation with the continuation of prayer meetings and further partnership (John 17:1–26).
In closing, let’s pray that the CDOP leadership team will have the necessary wisdom to lead more people into adopting these campuses well in advance of the CDOP rather than last-minute. If this shift happens, the CDOP will progress from seeing campuses adopted for prayer to seeing campuses saturated in prayer.
And yes, it is appropriate to stop right now and thank the Lord for all He did leading up to and including this year’s Collegiate Day of Prayer. From someone with a ten year inside view, it was stunning!
(The above prayer requests were taken from FOA’s March Prayer Points email. If you would like to receive Prayer Points in your inbox each month, please email us your request at [email protected]erica.org. Thanks!)