Christian Union Lux Helps Produce National Event
by tom campisi, managing editor
Christian Union Lux was honored to host the Collegiate Day of Prayer at Yale University on the evening of February 27 in Dwight Chapel. The two-hour event assembled Yale ministries in united prayer, worship, and exhortation from Scripture, and also served as the national broadcast for over forty thousand online viewers.
Over two hundred years ago, Yale, along with Williams College, Brown University, and Middlebury College, established the Collegiate Day of Prayer as a regular event on their campuses. By 1823, almost every major denomination and university in America “embraced the practice of a concerted day of prayer for colleges,” according to the Collegiate Day of Prayer Web site. The event lasted for about a hundred years and helped fan the flame of various revivals and awakenings on campus.
Clay Cromer, Christian Union’s ministry director at Yale, appreciated the historical significance of the evening and the “continuity and solidarity with our Christian history at Yale.”
“All through the planning process, I kept thinking, ‘This started right here 205 years ago.’ Knowing that the same God who inspired and heard prayers at the inaugural event would be present with us again helped us take the responsibility of logistical and spiritual preparation seriously. Yet, while we were thrilled to lead the evening as the national host site, we kept our eyes on God as the real host and object of our focus.” Cromer said hosting the Collegiate Day of Prayer (CDOP), with fellow leaders, including Sang Yun from Cru and Rob Malcolm from Chi Alpha, enhanced unity among ministries at Yale like no other event in recent memory.
“We had a shared sense of the challenges that would come with hosting at Yale, but also the overwhelming opportunity for seeking God together and interceding for our campus,” Cromer said.
Additionally, “none of us knew that CDOP would be just one week away from the end of the ‘on-campus semester’ (due to the COVID-19 pandemic). In hindsight, I thank God that we could mark the impending milestone of being scattered with this spiritual milestone of being gathered.”
While a multi-organizational working group handled the technicalities of the national broadcast and the program content, Christian Union Lux students led a pre-event prayer effort that was “truly inspiring,” according to Cromer. Daniel Chabeda ’22 and Jin Li ’21, co-presidents of Lux, launched a prayer initiative called “Great to the Heavens” (based on Psalm 57:10). They reached out to leaders of other ministries and held morning and evening prayer sessions for eight days leading up to CDOP, including a day of fasting.
At the Collegiate Day of Prayer in Dwight Hall, Chabeda, Li, and Luke Bell ’23 also had the opportunity to lead in prayer for a few minutes, their intercessions filling the cathedral while being broadcast across the nation.
With a theme of “One,” based on John 17, participants called upon the name of the Lord with one voice, seeking another historic revival. In between worship sets, groups of three to six would earnestly cry out to God. The Collegiate Day of Prayer organization reported that 4,323 campuses nationwide were adopted for prayer and 2,817 campus ministries, churches, and individuals had signed up to pray.
“The CDOP program certainly blessed all who attended,” Cromer said. “The Holy Spirit met us in worship and helped us to pray vigorously. It was a time to focus on Christ and be filled with the Holy Spirit. It was a genuine taste of revival atmosphere during the chronically low-energy time of late February on campus.”
Cromer led a session focused on praise by reading Psalm 96. “This psalm primes our minds and hearts and souls to worship the living and everlasting God. Let us take time out, like the psalmist, to lift up praise, honor, and adoration to the King of Kings,” he said.
Christian Union Founder and CEO Matt Bennett was one of the speakers. Referencing Acts 2:42-47, Bennett talked about what revival culture looked like among the early church and exhorted the students to seek God fervently in the same manner.
“The believers (in Acts) were so radically changed that they stepped into a new way of living,” he said.
“We need to be a culture of men and women who seek the Lord with energy and faith, so that He will come and minister among us. Let revival start with us,” Bennett said. “Let’s ask the Lord to bring revival and a spirit of prayer and a spirit of unity.”
Dr. Jo Vitale, dean of students at the Zacharias Institute, read from Isaiah 62 and likened today’s college campuses to Jerusalem in the sixth century, B.C., which was reduced to “rubble and ruin.”
“These colleges were once sacred places dedicated to the glory of God. Now they are places where faith is deconstructed and the faithful are tempted to withdraw into self-imposed exile,” she said. “My heart is that one day soon God will declare over the college campuses, ‘Behold, your salvation comes.’ Let us ask the Lord for that spiritual awakening now.” Thai Lam, executive director of the Luke 18 Project at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, led some of the prayer sessions.
“We want every university in America restored to God’s design,” he prayed. “We want to take the promises of the Word and believe Him for his promises in our generation, and pray until we see a breakthrough.”