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October 3, 2022

Freshmen Launched Prayer and Fasting Team 

By Tom Campisi

When two first-year Yale University students studied Christian Union’s Seeking God Lifestyle manual they put their faith into action and displayed exemplary leadership. In the spring semester, Yoska Guta and Zaneta Otoo, attendees of a Christian Lux Bible course, stepped up and launched a prayer and fasting team that had a passion for revival.

Yale Prayer

“As the freshmen ladies studied together it was apparent they were not just wanting to be hearers, but doers of what they were learning,” said Chitra Kovoor, a Christian Union ministry fellow at Yale. “Last semester, they really enjoyed practicing the seeking God lifestyle.”

The prayer and fasting group started as Guta and Otoo shared a meal in Berkeley Dining Hall.

“We talked about how prayer and fasting are supposed to be a part of a believer’s and disciple’s life and we wanted to get there and bring other people with us,” said Otoo, who hails from Ghana. “It was originally supposed to be for frosh women, but it quickly became an open-to-anyone prayer meeting every Saturday morning with fasting once a month.”

For Guta, the Lord had been impressing upon her the need to press into prayer and intercede on behalf of Yale and her peers if she “really desired to see this campus be filled with people who knew and lived for the Lord.”

“Zaneta and I both shared our desire to gather together and pray with other believers so that we could see the heart of our campus brought back to God. We shared our thoughts with Chitra and the student exec team, who were so helpful in bringing it to life and were committed to being there, praying with us.”

The prayer and fasting group held prayer walks on Yale’s campus and also gathered at Christian Union’s James Pennington Ministry Center. Attendance ranged from five to nine students, and also included a Zoom participant, George Taylor, a Yale Alumnus (stop-depression-now.com) who serves on the CU Lux alumni board.

One of the highlights of the semester for the team was a prayer walk that continued despite drenching rain. 

“I honestly would never have seen myself doing that two years ago, but that day it wasn’t even a bother to any of us. We all came back wet, but really refreshed,” said Otoo. 

For Taylor, the prayer walk in the rain was symbolic of the type of outpouring he has long desired. 

“I was so impressed that they did a prayer walk around Yale's campus in the pouring rain!” he said. “My heart has been crying out for revival for many years.”

In addition to seeking revival at Yale, prayer themes included: unity among believers, repentance, dying to self, deliverance, breakthrough, “using our gifts for the glory of the Lord,” and intercession for non-believers to embrace the love of God.

“Most of our themes revolved around praying that our peers would come to know and receive the Lord, and, more specifically, that the Lord would step in to heal and deliver them of things that are holding them back,” said Guta, who grew up in Oakland, California and now resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

“We often prayed for healing from anxiety, fear, depression, loneliness, and insecurity. We also prayed that the Lord would open their eyes. We also prayed that people in positions of authority like deans, professors, counselors, and administrators would walk in the humility and wisdom of the Lord.”

This is exactly the kind of seeking God attitude and cultural impact that Christian Union and its faculty encourage on all of its campuses. Kovoor noted that most of the women in her freshmen course—including Otoo, Guta, Kaylin Mahal, and Maddy Park—are now serving in key leadership roles in CU Lux.  

Regarding the prayer and fasting team started by the freshmen, Kovoor said, “It was deeply uplifting to see their faithfulness in meeting together in the spring semester, to hear about their prayer walks on the campus, and the way they continued with prayer and fasting through their rigorous work and study schedules. Usually, freshmen can be so burdened and worried by their academic work, but I sensed there was a deeper joy as they ‘sacrificed’ their time  in prayer.”

Kovoor noted the prayer culture that permeates CU Lux; The student executive team and other key leaders meet for prayer each week during the semester and have been faithfully meeting for prayer this summer. 

“I am confident that this heart for prayer at CU Lux will continue and that it will have powerful results that will be God-honoring on the campus at Yale and beyond,” she said.

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