Mark Whitt writes about why the Collegiate Day of Prayer matters to your college ministry.
For over 200 years the last Thursday of February has been set aside as a day to pray for the college campus. The campus that is a few blocks from your home. The campus that is located hundreds of miles from your city in a region of our country that has very little evangelical presence. The campus where you earned a degree. Collegiate Day of Prayer has a significant history in the spiritual awakenings that have been birthed in our nation on the college campuses.
That’s why Thursday, February 25, 2016 is a significant day for all of us in the collegiate ministry world to circle on our calendars. No matter your denomination, location, or ministry role – we all agree – it’s imperative that we pray fervently for God to move in the lives of college students and to use them to bring about a movement of God like our nation has never seen before.
Why is Collegiate Day of Prayer Important for College Ministries? Here are 3 reasons that I believe it’s important for us!
1. There is an urgency
In Matthew 9.35-38, Jesus looks upon the crowd and has compassion upon them because they are “weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.”
No matter how you count it, 23 million college students constitutes a crowd! We are experiencing the largest college population in our country’s history. There are more internationals studying in the US today than ever before. Jesus looks upon this crowd and is stirred with compassion.
He goes on to say that “the harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.” If you know anything about harvest time, it’s NOT a time to sit back and sip lemonade and look at the crowd. There is an urgency at harvest time! Only a small amount of time exists in order to gather the harvest. Don’t miss Jesus’ call to urgency as we look upon this “crowd” called college students.
And in the middle of that urgency, he says, “PRAY to the Lord of the harvest to send workers into His harvest.” The first thing he calls us to do when we see the crowd is to PRAY!
As college workers, it is easy for us to see the crowd and pray for awakening – it’s simply the way God has wired us. However, we have the opportunity with Collegiate Day of Prayer to share our story with our churches, our small groups, our friends and to ask them to join us with this urgent call to pray for the college campus! There is no time to waste!
2. There is a unity when we pray together
When we know that there are thousands of people around the world praying with us on a day set aside for the college campus, a UNITY develops that helps us see that we are not in this alone. Since there are over 3,200 four year institutions and hundreds of two year colleges in our country, practically everyone in our country is within a short driving distance to a college campus and probably knows someone that attends that college or university.
What would it look like if we ask the small groups in our church to pray for the campus we are affiliated with on a daily basis? What would it look like if we took a group of senior adults to the college campus to have them prayer walk the campus on CDOP?
The beautiful thing that happens when we begin to pray for someone or something is our heart is truly softened for that person or place. When there are people praying together for the college campuses, more people will have hearts that are broken for the campus! When we know that there are thousands upon thousands of people praying along with us for college campuses around the nation and for spiritual awakening in the lives of college students, a unity of faith develops between churches, leaders, and individual believers.
3. There is an opportunity to tell our story
As collegiate workers, we daily see transformation in the lives of college students because of what God is doing in the lives. However, for many the college campus seems so far removed from their daily responsibilities of life.
As we ask others to join us for Collegiate Day of Prayer, it gives us the opportunity to tell the story of God’s work in the lives of students that our lives have intersected with through the years. CDOP is a significant launching pad for us to share the importance of having a presence in the lives of college students and sharing with them the hope and forgiveness of Jesus. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with churches and leaders in your area on a day that has been specifically set aside to lift up and pray for a ministry that stirs you deeply.
The Collegiate Day of Prayer website has history, promotion, and resources to help you as you ask individuals in your area to set aside this special day to pray. The “Adopt a Campus” tab is important for friends of your ministry to register and claim a campus to pray for on CDOP and beyond.
And encourage those within your sphere of influence to not only adopt the campus that you work with, but adopt a campus that has no one praying for it currently. Have them find out some information on that campus so that they will know how to pray specifically for that campus. What would it look like if all of the campuses in our nation were covered in prayer on the same day by believers located all around the world?
Here are some ideas for Thursday, February 25th:
- Develop a prayer guide for people praying for your campus to pray for specific things throughout the day.
- Host a breakfast on the day of CDOP of pastors in your community to pray for your campus.
- Encourage churches to adopt a certain hour of the day for their church to pray for the campus.
- Ask various small groups or Sunday School groups to adopt your campus and another campus that has not been adopted.
- The possibilities are endless as you think of ways to help others know how to pray for college campuses.
The college campus is the most strategic place we can be as the church. On Collegiate Day of Prayer 2016 we have the opportunity to ask thousands of people to join us in praying for God to move in the lives of college students in our community, in our nation and around the world!
Let’s cover every campus with prayer on Thursday, February 25, 2016!