An international prayer ministry will start to work this year on setting up prayer rooms on all U.S. college and university campuses.
On Jan. 1, U.K.-based ministry 24-7 Prayer launched its Campus America initiative with the aim to establish prayer rooms on the 2,614 college and universities in the United States in hopes of seeing a year of unbroken prayer on America's campuses.
The 24-7 prayer model calls for local Christians to organize and commit to praying in one-hour shifts all through the night and day. In the ten years that the group has existed, it has mobilized prayer rooms in more than 100 nations, including on hundreds of university campuses.
"What we're dreaming of is in a single year, giving an opportunity to every student in America to encounter the life-changing presence of God," said Pete Greig, founder of the 24-7 Prayer network.
"We believe God is calling us to put tabernacles on the campuses of America," he added.
24-7 Prayer USA leader David Blackwell said that he and Greig had felt God telling them to call American campuses to pray five years ago, but sensed God leading them to begin the Campus America initiative in 2010.
"We believe the significance of the timing is in tandem with what God is wanting to do, as prayer always prepares the way for something God wants to do on the earth," said Blackwell, who is also a director of the Campus America project. "We hope to look back after 2010, maybe five years from now, and see a huge wave of students having been sent to the nations as well as to be effective in their place [in the marketplace]."
Leaders of the prayer movement pointed to the book God on Campus by Trent Sheppard, which outlines how God shows up in a significant way on college campuses every 100 years.
The Haystack Revival in 1806 that began at Williams College in Massachusetts is said to have sparked the American foreign missions movement. The 1910 World Missions Conference held a century later in Edinburgh, Scotland, meanwhile, is widely credited for sparking the modern Protestant movement.
"We feel like God wants to show up on these college campuses," said Robert Jobe, a board member of 24-7 Prayer USA. "Every great move of God has been preceded by a move of prayer. "
Blackwell said the 24-7 Prayer team hopes to see students on each campus commit to at least 72 hours of nonstop prayer, signing up in one-hour shifts.
"It would raise their level of faith, press some of their own comforts and boundaries and give extended time to what God would do through prayer," Blackwell noted about the commitment to unbroken prayer.
Meanwhile, Greig said the idea of the prayer rooms multiplying across U.S. campuses is "thrilling" as well as "terrifying."
"Exciting because we have reason to believe it could impact the nation," Greig explained. "Terrifying because this thing is utterly impossible unless God makes it happen."
24-7 Prayer celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2010. Organizers of Campus America hope the initiative will spread virally, similar to how the 24-7 Prayer movement expanded.