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April 17, 2019

Students Experience Personalized Prayer at Nexus 2019

Sarah Camp

In February, Christian Union hosted more than 200 undergraduates at Nexus 2019: The Christian Union Conference on Faith and Action. Students from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale converged for three days in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to meet one another, seek God together through worship and prayer, and explore how God could use their aspirations and influence for His glory and society’s good.


Through plenary speakers, breakout sessions, and small groups, the conference offered insight, inspiration, networking, and practical advice on discerning God's purpose for life, campus, and career. A variety of vocational panels were led by  Christian professionals representing a variety of fields. Another highlight of the weekend was SpokenWord. Student teams presented Scripture dynamically, interweaving dramatic, poetic presentations.

The plenary speakers anchored the conference with inspiring talks that unpacked the conference theme of being “Courageous in the Ways of the Lord”. A student from Yale explained, “The message to go forth in courage in the ways of the Lord has encouraged me to put down my fears … and step up, listening to what he calls me to do, and obeying it.”

With a mission “to develop Christian leaders to transform culture” Christian Union’s capstone conference for students sought to create an atmosphere in which glorifying God, by seeking to serve and obey Him, was the clear goal of all facets of the conference. To that end, Nexus was bathed in prayer--from conception to planning, to the Sunday afternoon concluding the conference when students loaded into vans and returned to their campuses.

During the conference, students and Christian union faculty, staff, and friends led one-hour sessions around the clock in the 24-hour prayer room. Brianna Seidel, Darmouth Class of 2021, shared, “One of my favorite things [about Nexus] was going to the prayer room. I enjoyed seeing seeing a map of my school and getting ideas for how can I pray over it.”


A student from Stanford shared, “I was touched by the prayer time with my campus on Saturday night. We read Isaiah 62 which talked about how Isaiah was faithful in prayer over Jerusalem and wanted to have her shine brightly and be saved and redeemed.” The connection to Stanford was clear, “I want to intercede for my campus and my friends and fellow classmates who are lost and in need of Jesus.”

This year, the ministry offered new ways for students to experience the presence and mercy of God in rich and robust prayer. The annual emphasis on prayer was augmented by offering students personal prayer sessions. Attendees could sign up for a one-hour session to be prayed over by two prayer warriors per student.

These prayer times were not framed as counseling sessions, but rather as time led by the Holy Spirit, prompted by asking the student first something as simple as “What do you want Jesus to do for you today?” Many students said they had attended the prayer room because a friend recommended it.

In the midst of all the activity, learning, worship, and relationship-building of the conference, some students acknowledged they were heavily burdened. The Lord graciously ministered to them through their individualized prayer session.

One woman arrived at the prayer room feeling heavy and overwhelmed. Her prayer team sensed God wanted to remind her who she was in Christ and that she was loved. They prayed into this, speaking the truth of Scripture over her. The student felt the Lord met her and enriched her understanding of God’s love for her.

Another student shared with the prayer ministers about her anxiety and depression. The prayer ministers learned more about her family history and prayed into what they heard. It was a powerful prayer session for the young woman as the prayers focused on deliverance.

A third student disclosed ties to other religions that were undermining his ability to walk in the fullness of his Christian faith. The prayer team went to work praying the Lord would bind evil. The student reported he felt the effects of these prayers within him.

For some students in attendance, Christianity itself was still new, and the exposure to prayer may have, God willing, taken them to a new level in their life of faith. One Columbia student shared, “I am fairly new to Christianity and faith and so the prayer sessions were extremely meaningful and the seminar about extraordinary prayers was particularly insightful for me.”

BathedinPrayerSmallMany students shared that the wealth of opportunities to pray with fellow students, Christian Union faculty, prayer teams, and alone, also stirred up a desire to intercede for their campuses. One student reported that leading for an hour in the 24-hour prayer room was “a big step of faith.” But, as a result, “I was inspired to take on this role back on campus, leading my brothers and sisters in standing in the gap for our school.”

A Cornell student reflected on having gained “more motivation to grow in my spiritual discipline of prayer and use my God-given talents and gifts for His glory.” Along with that had come a “newfound motivation to proclaim Jesus and His love to those near me on my campus.”

Christian Union Founder and CEO Matthew Bennett, Cornell '88, MBA '89, closed the conference exhorting students that “the Lord wants you to listen to Him and move out in strong faith and with action.” Click to Tweet He prayed over the students, “We choose right now by faith to be men and women courageous in your ways.”

When asked if Nexus honored and praised Jesus above everything else, and if they experienced the presence of Christ, one student responded: “Yes, yes, and yes," and, "I prayed like I never have before.”

Read more about Nexus 2019: The Christian Union Conference on Faith and Action.
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