By Carol Madison
Prayer First Communications Director
As Nick Hall knelt down on the stage and pounded on it, he startled me. He called on the college and university students to get on their knees, put a stake in the ground, and give their lives to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening on their campuses.
I was startled because I had crawled under the stage to pray for Nick while he preached to a few thousand students at the University of Minnesota UNITE prayer gathering. When he pounded several times on the stage, I had thoughts of it collapsing on top of me! But at the same time, I was blessed and overwhelmed to hear the students respond by crying out to God for that spiritual awakening to begin.
Bethel and Prayer First Involvement
Prayer First and Bethel University were key partners in the UNITE event on the National Day of Prayer. It was a unique prayer gathering led by students, supported by older generations, and embraced by all denominations.
In some ways the vision actually originated with conversations between the Prayer First team and Ralph Gustafson of Bethel University over dinner one night at the Converge Biennial in Denver in 2010. There was a desire expressed to host some kind of prayer gathering or conference on the Bethel campus as a way to connect the prayer movement more closely with students.
The vision began to grow with those of similar hearts. The Prayer First and Bethel representation joined with leadership from Global Day of Prayer MN, Pulse Ministries, and Praise FM radio in the Twin Cities to launch a planning team. Soon other Christian colleges and campus ministries at the U of M joined in calling students and adults to prayer. As a result, some 2,500 people joined in prayer and worship on May 5 at the U of M Mariucci Hockey Arena.
Bethel University brought several busloads of students, initiated by Donna Johnson of the Pray First campus ministry. The Converge Prayer First team members were strategically involved in the planning of the event, and also took responsibility for on-site intercession for the students. Bob Bakke (Hillside Church of Bloomington, MN and GDOP MN), Nick Hall (Pulse Ministries), and Fern Nichols (Moms In Touch Intl.) joined forces to lead the prayer gathering in a generational representation.
From Generation to Generation
Fern Nichols mobilized 10,000 Moms In Touch groups to pray for the event. She summed up the hearts of moms around the country when she said, “I love you. Thousands of moms love you. We are counting on you, this next generation, for Jesus’ sake and for the Kingdom of God!”
Nick Hall responded (to the roar of the students’ approval): “God’s Word says one generation will commend God’s works to another. Tonight is not about asking the adults to pass some baton to us. It isn’t about saying we don’t need you anymore. This is about us as young people standing and saying, ‘Older generations, we need your help, your prayers, encouragement, wisdom, and guidance in our lives.’ We link our hearts together and pray for a multigenerational partnership in the gospel!”
It was a powerful evening of prayer and worship. Some measurable results include:
- More than 300 students indicated commitments to Christ.
- Some 1,400 students signed response cards, indicating desire for future involvement in the prayer movement.
- Throughout the nation, more than 1,500 people participated through streaming on the Internet
- More than 100 student leaders participated in a follow-up meeting to begin planning for initiatives on their campuses in the fall.
As Dr. Bakke summarized the evening, “God was powerfully at work in our midst! But even more was accomplished according to the heart and dreams of Christ for spiritual awakening throughout the earth.”
Please be especially in prayer for a work of revival and spiritual awakening at Bethel University this fall. There was significant movement in the past year (a 40-day prayer tent, etc.), but keep seeking the Lord for an even greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit on this campus – and on other campuses across our nation!