Last spring, I participated in a 40 Days of Prayer effort that was headed up by Ben Simpson and some young clergy in the UMC. It was a blessing to me as I prayed the prayers written by others who want to see more vividly the work of God in the United Methodist Church. I got to write a prayer and join with a network of others who prayed for the UMC during the “season” of Annual Conferences.
In the context of the 40 Days of Prayer, I also had a conversation with a campus ministry friend of mine, Creighton Alexander, about a website for which we are co-editors. He was talking about his passion for campus ministry within the United Methodist Church and how much potential he sees within campus ministry in general. As we spoke, I tossed out the stories of some of the people I’ve met through the 40 Days of Prayer Initiative and other efforts of the UMC Young Clergy. At about the same time, we had the idea to issue a Call to Prayer for the UMC that would start in August, at about the time that school starts, and lead us through the first month of classes. The ideas emerged quickly and within a few short minutes, we decided to do several things:
1. Pray as we moved toward soliciting others for prayer.
2. Write a letter to be posted on the website of College Union.
3. Create a Facebook group of people who were called to ministry in the United Methodist Church through campus ministry.
4. Create a space on College Union to host prayers for the Prayer Movement to begin August 17 and last until September 25.
5. Invite some people that we knew to write prayers to be included in a prayer guide.
The Facebook group, “United Methodist Campus Ministry—Raising Up Christian Leaders,” exploded to over 200 members in the first 48 hours and has now settled in at about 500 in the first 3 weeks. We have now invited the members of that group, along with some other ministry leaders, to write 40 prayers to be included in the prayer guide. We have also heard the “call” stories of some of the group members and seen pictures of campus ministry across the country. We are more and more convinced and inspired to continue on in providing a challenge to the UMC to pray for our students, our colleges, our campus ministers, and our churches as they begin a new school year. We are also convinced that the there are future church and world leaders in campus ministries of UMC-related colleges, Wesley Foundations, and local churches right now who need to be lifted in prayer.
And so…I’ve been praying, as I usually do, but I’ve also been working toward prayer, especially in enlisting others to this important responsibility and call. If you would like to write a prayer to be included in the prayer guide that we’re building, drop me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you were called to ministry, as a lay person or as clergy, through your campus ministry, join our Facebook group. If you are interested in joining in the prayer effort, visit the website. And above all else, would you join us in prayer?