Prayer Catalysts in Students’ Lives

During these first few weeks of this campus year, I want to look at the five areas of strategic focus of the US Campus Ministry.

  1. WBS Movements
  2. Multiethnic Organization
  3. Stakeholders & Partnerships
  4. Movement Accelerators
  5. Prayer Catalysts

Last week, I talked about how we assume various CoJourner roles and use specific evangelism tools as we journey with others toward faith. Today, let’s look at Prayer Catalysts.

This morning at church, we sang “Hosanna” in our time of worship. The lyrics of one verse say,
“I see a generation
rising up to take their place
with selfless faith, with selfless faith.”

As you well know, that doesn’t just happen. Research indicates that for a young person to become established and sustained in their faith, several things must happen.

  1. Multiple adult believers will invest in them.
  2. They will come to know and embrace the truth.
  3. They will begin to share their faith.
  4. And they will see themselves as part of the larger redemptive story.

I happened to sit in a session with Tony Souder, Founder of the Pray for Me Campaign and Executive Director of Chattanooga Youth Network.

Twenty years of youth ministry taught him that the critical first step in sustaining youth in their faith is getting more adults connected to more teenagers. The Pray for Me Campaign came out of that realization.

In his case, he plans an event each year, in which he has students invite three adults in various age groups to pray for them throughout the year. Adults often want to encourage students, but are sometimes at a loss as to how. He has written a prayer guide, Pray for Me, with specific prayers in seven areas of growth taken from Luke 2:52 and 1 Timothy 4:12,

  1. Wisdom
  2. Favor with God and man
  3. Love
  4. Faith
  5. Purity
  6. Speech
  7. Conduct

He has found that students love having adults pray for them and appreciate the connection. Many such connections continue on into college and even to the point of being partners as they serve on missions.

As we think about this in our context, why not consider these possible steps.

  • If you are working with high school students, schedule a kick-off meeting with students and their three adults they’ve invited to pray for them on a year-long campaign. The Pray for Me Campaign site lays out the vision and process.
  • If you are working with college students, consider asking them to write adults they know back home to regularly pray for them. You will want to encourage your students to keep in contact with their prayer champions/catalysts to give them specific prayer requests and updates.
  • If you are looking to launch on a new campus where neither students or adults are connected yet, consider prayer mapping and walking the campus. As students surface, have them invite adults to pray specifically for them. As volunteers surface, give them vision for building into students through prayer.

It’s easy to see prayer as simply a formality or formula. But we involved in something entirely supernatural. Raising up prayer catalysts for our students and movements is as valuable as the actual work of launching and building those movements.

Tony says the Pray for Me Campaign creates a wake of goodness in the church. It fuels volunteerism in churches and makes a huge difference in the lives of students. We know that for the majority of students that don’t connect to a community of faith during the first year of college, all bets are off. The kids that do well still have adults connecting with them.

This summer I wrote a series of tips in what I chose to call “Looking for a Better World”. For a few weeks I will continue to make them available here.

What have we lost?
Recognizing arbitrary advantages.
Behavior
Prayer, Care, Share
Becoming confident with new skills
1 and 2 word conversation starters
3 more easy conversation starters
Culture Trumps Vision
Hero Spot
The Law of the Diffusion of Innovation

And in case you don’t get the QuickRead, put out by the US Campus Ministry, here is my Starting the Campus Year Checklist.

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