And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31
In Acts chapter 4 there is an incredibly bold prayer prayed by the first believers upon the release of Peter and John. It is a prayer of thankfulness and praise to God for what he had done in delivering them, but also an earnest request, even amidst the threats of the Jewish leaders, to enable them to speak the Word with boldness. As a result, Acts 4:31 tells us that “after they prayed,” they were able to do exactly what they had asked, they spoke the word of God boldly. I was reminded of this prayer this weekend during a gathering of BSM and church leaders from the Houston area.
Last week, through the reports of BSM Directors around the state, we heard that, within the first two weeks of school starting, already 20 students have become new believers. Hundreds more have encountered the Gospel through outreach events carried out by BSMs and local churches working together. All of this happened during and just after 40 Days of Prayer for Texas College Ministry. It is no coincidence.
I have been strongly reminded in these last few days that what happens in the kingdom and for the kingdom is directly related to prayer. And so often, we trudge through our lives in ministry without it. If we are going to reach the 1.6 million students of Texas, if we are going to have workers in our churches to help us connect with the 60,000 international students in our state, then we need to pray.
Do you have a prayer strategy? Are you intentional about praying for your college ministry? Have you asked others to pray specifically for the college students of your church and community? I must admit that I ask others to pray for specific events or occasions, but not on a continual basis. A small group of students from our church is trying to start a ministry on a local community college campus. We need to enlist people to pray for them. We need to have prayer requests before our church on a regular basis for these and other students in our church.
So what about you? If you don’t have a strategy yet, here are some simple ideas to think about.
Add specific college ministry requests to the church prayer list. Be persistent in keeping up with those requests, particularly how God answered them. Those who pray will sense that they have been a part of what God is doing.
Recruit a team. Ask specific people that you know will be faithful to pray to be a part of a prayer team for the ministry. Create a facebook group, email list or a group text list that you can use to regularly post prayer needs and responses.
Do a church wide 40 Days of Prayer for your college ministry. Create an email campaign or a booklet with a scripture, maybe a reflection and some specific prayer needs. Think of specific needs that students have, students not yet reached and those being discipled by the church. Pray also for specific needs of the ministry, leadership, mission projects, etc.
Pray first. Remember Acts 4:31? The church was able to speak boldly and accomplish what God had for them, after they prayed. Make it a mark of your ministry that you pray about what you plan, for one another, for those you want to reach. Pray with and for your students so that it becomes a mark of their lives too.
I’m going to be more intentional about praying for college ministry, for students, churches, and for workers. I’m going to be more intentional about asking others to pray for college ministry also. Will you join me? What might we see happen this year in our churches, on campuses around our state if we were intentional about praying for them? We’re already off to a great start. How will we finish this sentence this year? After they prayed….