Encouraging Prayer

Teresa Buschur
April 30, 2008

Students in the New England region are growing in their passion for prayer, interceding for one another’s personal needs and for their campuses.

Several years ago, the New England region developed a regional mission of increasing prayer and spiritual conversions on campuses. Staff attend an annual day of prayer where they intercede for campuses throughout the region and for students to accept Christ into their lives.

“It’s great to watch how staff are growing in their prayer lives and their belief that prayer changes things,” Greg Johnson, InterVarsity staff serving students at Brown University, said. Part of this mission was increasing evangelistic events and encouraging students from every school to pray about reaching more students for Jesus Christ. Students’ excitement has been contagious as they help members of their campus communities discover who Jesus is and the importance of a relationship with him.

On the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), students gathered at 7:00 a.m. each day during the season of Lent to pray for their campus.

Also at MIT, a class about the Holy Spirit was offered on campus during the January intensive term. Students discussed healing and whether God uses miracles and healings to awaken people to their need for him before they have heard the Gospel. After one class session, several students boldly offered to pray in the dining hall for another classmate on crutches. Students across campus are continuously open to the possibilities of prayer and the works of the Holy Spirit.

In Vermont, InterVarsity partnered with the International House of Prayer, and students spent a weekend learning how to lead prayer meetings on campus, as well as prayer walks around their communities. Participants discussed what a missional large group meeting on campus might look like and the role of prayer in those meetings. One of the students attending the discussion was the president of the Gay and Lesbian group on her campus. During the prayer time, she accepted Christ into her heart.

On campuses throughout Rhode Island, students are engaging in prayer through interactive prayer stations. The prayer stations are usually centered on a theme, to guide students as they pray for their campus, friends, and the world. In previous years, participants have studied the Stations of the Cross and, most recently, the Vine and Branches symbolism from John 15. During fall conferences, large group meetings, and area-wide events, students participate in prayer through journaling, praying with others, or developing art projects to express their hearts to God. Many students from InterVarsity chapters in the Connecticut and Rhode Island area have expressed that they feel “most connected to God” while praying as a community.

Student leaders at Brown University in Providence, RI, are committed to praying for the regional mission of increasing prayer and conversions on campuses. Three prayer meetings are set up so that all the students who want to participate are able to. Several students meet early in the morning before their classes, more students pray together before the InterVarsity meeting on campus, and another group meets to pray late into the night. The late evening prayer time is the most popular with students, as several participants have continued to gather for prayer walks on the campus. Meredith, a student leader, said “This has been the highlight of my year. I grew spiritually the most through this prayer time, and I have felt closer to God.”

Two years ago, student leaders organized an overnight prayer vigil to intercede for their campus and members of the InterVarsity chapter. Art hung on the walls and candles burned as students prayed throughout the night. Several curious non-Christian students attended, and InterVarsity students offered to pray for them as they all discussed who Jesus is. Christian students shared their stories about how they incorporate their belief in Christ in everyday life.

At Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, student leaders gather weekly to pray for members of the InterVarsity chapter as well as intercede for the wider campus community. Leaders are discovering the connection between prayer and God’s work on their campus and in their lives. Andrea, one of the student leaders, said that she learned, “prayer is essential to seeing God work in our fellowship and in bringing non-Christian students into relationships with Jesus.”

Students and staff in the New England region seek to develop prayer opportunities that are exciting and engaging, while encouraging students to intercede for and with each other.

___

You can make a direct financial donation to support InterVarsity’s work in the New England Region by following this link.