In the past couple of weeks, we have begun conducting local interviews with students interested in applying for Go Now Missions this coming summer. One of the questions we ask is what the three things are that the potential missionary would want to first teach a new disciple of Christ, and though the answers vary, the overwhelming response has been the importance of prayer
Of course we believe prayer is important. It is found throughout the Bible. Jesus is seen praying in the New Testament again and again, modeling for us how we should pray. But prayer can be difficult; it can get swept away by busyness; and it can begin to look like a list of things we want from God rather than a way to build our personal relationship with him.
So how do we promote prayer among the students at UTD?
First, by example. I cannot expect the students I disciple to be avid prayer warriors if I am not one. So I make it a priority to ask each of the girls I meet with weekly how I can pray for them. And then I do it--right there before we go, and throughout the week. I let them know I'm praying for them with a quick text message. And they don't let me get away from a meeting without asking how they can be praying for me in return. We have built a mutual expectation that prayer will be part of our daily lives, and that builds intimacy in our friendship with each other, and in our relationship with God.
Second, by prayer walking. I have committed to prayer-walk around campus at least once a week, and I try to get a student to come alongside me. We spend an hour or so strolling through campus, praying for anything and everything related to UTD: residence halls, apartments, specific schools and majors, professors, administrative staff, construction workers, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, international students, student workers, academics, ministries, other student organizations, special events, anything that comes to mind. We want God to be a part of every aspect of life on campus, so we ask Him to move among us ( Tweet this).
Third, by praying for them. I have had the opportunity to attend a weekly prayer meeting of campus ministers, organized by Campus Renewal, during which we share briefly about what is going on in our ministries, and earnestly seek the Lord on behalf of our school. We structure our prayer time around the Lord's Prayer as found in Matthew 6: praising God for who He is and thanking Him for what He has done; asking Him to bring His kingdom to our campus; asking for our daily bread; confessing sins to one another, repenting and asking for God to change our hearts; and finally asking him to guard us against temptation, often praying through the armor of God from Ephesians 6. I am always encouraged and uplifted by coming together with these believers who have the same vision as I for UTD.
Finally, by praying with others. This week our outreach team decided to focus its weekly booth on prayer. They did that by giving away free candy and simply asking others how they could pray for them, and asking them to write those requests on a piece of butcher paper we simply labeled #UTDprays, which we've begun to use on social media to unite in prayer for our campus. They then prayed for these requests and the people who stopped to talk to us during their weekly meeting, and we will bring them up again before our full lead team meeting next week.
And how do we see these prayers answered? Every time a student shares the Gospel. Every time someone new walks into a BSM meeting. Every time a victory is shared by another Christian organization. When a freshman joins our student lead team, or signs up for Beach Reach. When more people than ever before are interviewed for Go Now Missions. During our lead team meetings we give time for prayer requests and student leaders commit to praying for them throughout the week. We also ask students to share stories of how they have shared the Gospel and seen God move on campus in the last week, so we can praise God for the work He is doing at UTD. We are trying to build a community that "prays without ceasing."
Kinsey Cline is serving as a campus missionary through Go Now missions at the University of Texas at Dallas.