“Prayer. Let’s talk about prayer.” That was my thought when pondering what our first real blog post should be. It seems even more appropriate since today is the National Collegiate Day of Prayer. Prayer…it’s kind of a big deal. Something that so many of us overlook or take for granted. It’s easy to slip into the funk where we pray when we are sick, we pray when we are in need of something, we pray when we are desperate…oh and of course we can’t forget that 10 second prayer before each meal! Yeah, that makes holy! I admit it, I’ve been in that rut before…many times before. However, this year is different (school year that is).
As you know Sarah and I, along with Greg and Susan Tiffany, moved to Tulsa in August to (re)pioneer XA at the University of Tulsa (TU). The first question we asked ourselves, well right after “are we really moving to tulsa?”, was “how on Earth do we go about this?” You see, it is one thing to do campus ministry, mentor students, facilitate lifegroups, train-up leaders, and all the great things campus ministries do, and a completely different thing to show up on a campus knowing no one, having 0 students- that’s nil, cero, ninguno, not a single one- and trying to change the campus for Jesus Christ. Kind of overwhelming to me. So what did we all start to do? Pray. Through this time of overwhelming “fear of failure” I remembered how desperate my soul is for His spirit. Yeah I prayed, daily, more than daily, but rarely passionately I learned- at least comparatively.
Not a week after the start of our constant volley of prayers God began to show up. He opened doors left and right. We, completely randomly and unexpectedly, met a girl who would be a sophomore at TU in August. She was our first TU Chi Alphan. Then, God gave Greg and Susan the perfect ministry house. It very literally could not be closer to the campus! One Sunday during the summer Sarah and I decided to visit my home church in Bartlesville. It was a random visit, the only one of the summer. While there we were introduced to a family. This family only visited my home church that one Sunday, and it just happened to be the Sunday we visited. As chance would have it, and by chance I mean God doing amazing things, their oldest son was on his way to his first year of college at TU. Wow, our second TU Chi Alphan and we hadn’t even moved to Tulsa yet!
I think it was sometime during these events that it hit us. We were staring the answer to the our biggest question straight in the eyes. How on Earth do we go about this? Prayer. Quite simply the answer was prayer. No, not pray for the ministry. Well, yes, of course pray for the ministry, but the answer, the message from God, was “build this ministry on a foundation of prayer.” Wow. Seriously? On prayer? I mean prayer is important, but we are trying to attract students here, not pastors or “senior saints.” Shouldn’t we found it on something like fun, food, and…parties?!?!
So we went for it! We began the year with 2 things: a free home-cooked meal for anyone who wants it every Monday at 7, and prayer every Monday night from 9-10 in Sharp Chapel. Just prayer…no fancy lights, no worship, no preaching…just an hour to get alone with God. That was the whole plan- have dinner, have prayer, love the students. We had never done college ministry this way…no one we knew had even. To my personal surprise, it worked. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. I mean it was God’s plan and all. Not only has our group been growing, but our students are the cream of the crop. They are passionate, loving, caring, moldable, faithful, hungry for God, and so much more. Our group has grown from 2 to about 20…just to pray. They are a diverse group from all over the U.S. with varying interest, yet they fit so perfectly together. Wait for it is, here is the coolest part…we even have some unsaved students coming to dinner…and yes, even prayer. Why? Because we love them, our student love them, and God is answering prayers here at TU.
So what am I doing right this minute? I am sitting in a chapel in the closing 3 hours of a 24 hour prayer session. At every moment during the last 24 hours we have had between 1 and 6 students praying passionately for their campus, loved ones, and fellow students. God is truly doing amazing things here at TU.
Thanks for sticking with me through this long post. I don’t expect future posts to match this length, but I hope you feel the passion for prayer. We crave your prayers for the TU team and students. God is doing things in student’s lives at TU and it is a beautiful thing.
Praying with you,