As September approaches, students will begin an academic year like no other as the Coronavirus pandemic impacts universities. But God is still moving and working, students are searching for hope and purpose, and we can meet this moment in prayer. That is why prayer walking on campuses can be so powerful. But why is this something worth pushing into?
God made us in His image (Genesis 1:27), then put humans in the Garden of Eden, which He planted for them so they could steward that land (Genesis 2:8-15). As a child of God, a core part of our identity is to partner and be co-rulers with Him over creation, to nourish the place we have been given so it is fruitful and God is glorified. The places we inhabit are characterised by the community, culture, opportunities and experiences they enable. As a student your given place is your campus. Halls, SU bars, sports teams, societies, libraries, lecture theatres - even if online these are profoundly tied to your location and lifestage. By prayer walking in and around the people and buildings that make up your university, you can step into your purpose as a co-ruler by loving and caring for it. Spiritually and symbolically you are consecrating your campus.
This is because being outside amidst God’s creation, praying for our place, cultivates an environment that welcomes His presence. We are petitioning our Father to pour out His blessing, sowing seeds for revival and renewal among students. For when we seek Him humbly in prayer God hears us and heals the place we inhabit (2 Chronicles 7:14). As we pray for our universities we reconcile ourselves with God too as we are being present to Him, growing in our personal devotion and intimacy. By prayer walking we can also grow in community and accountability as we pursue a common purpose together, embracing what it means to live our whole lives as worship in doing so (Romans 12:1-2).
There is also plenty to be praying for in a turbulent season for universities and students. We need to pray churches mobilise in order to reach students, inviting them to try Church and offering pastoral care. To pray that students’ hearts soften so they are keen to try Church and accept Jesus. To pray that there is an overflow of creativity, confidence and community which helps churches engage well with students. To pray that Vice-Chancellors and Student Unions have wisdom and that God works through them. To pray that international students are integrated, social justice prevails, students do not place their identity in grades, and that anxiety, loneliness, and other burdens on mental health do not overwhelm.
So what could this look like? Perhaps prayer walking could be a routine part of your devotional time. Maybe do it as your exercise for the day or when you need to be on campus. Why not get a rota going with your small group or wider student community, involving those people in your church who love investing in students too! Prayer walking can also be a central part of freshers week. Maybe like the Israelites marching around Jericho you could do a lap of campus thirteen times across seven days, praying the strongholds holding students back come tumbling down (Joshua 6:1-20). Whatever you decide, make sure it is persistent, it is communal, and it is attentive to God.
So while you may face a restricted campus experience, by prayer walking you can participate in the extending of God’s Kingdom. You can be interceding so that a generation of students may be saved and so your university is transformed. How many lives could be changed because of such prayers?
Let us partner with all that you are doing at this time on our campuses.
Equip and embolden us in our faith.
Bring renewal and your blessing to universities.
May students who don’t yet know you find hope in Jesus and home in the local church.
We want to see every university campus prayer walked this Autumn, Will you take a step of faith and prayer walk your campus?