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January 18, 2023

CU Vita Leaders Pray Weekly With Other Ministry Leaders

By Anne Kerhoulas

It’s 7:15 on Monday morning and the sun hasn’t yet risen. Most Cornell students are still in bed, groggily awakening from the weekend to face another week of classes and problem sets and essays.

7:15 on Monday morning is a bleak time for most, but for a handful of CU Vita students and leaders from other campus ministries, it’s a time to be awake, alert, and engaged. It’s a time for prayer—prayer for revival on campus. And for the group that gathers, it’s one of the most important times of their week.

beau brubaker

“It's been on our hearts to pray for revival ever since freshman year,” says Beau Brubaker, a junior bioengineering major, who serves on the executive team of CU Vita. “I remember the first time we talked about revival at Cornell was spring of 2021, the end of my freshman year. We’ve been praying that direction ever since.” 

Brubaker, one of the instigators of the Monday morning prayer gathering, was inspired by the zeal of a local Korean church that gathered to pray every Friday at 6:45 AM. “We were really encouraged by it because we believe that prayer is so important. We can do all the work we want but if God is not working, everything we do is futile.” 

After talking with CU Vita Ministry Director Jim Thomforde about starting a similar prayer group for the ministry, the Monday morning prayer time for revival was born. 

Brubaker was led to pray towards revival in particular because of the deep need for Christ that he saw on campus. “[Praying for revival] was in response to what we had already seen God doing. There was this depth of need for relationship and community that couldn’t be filled during my freshman year because people weren’t allowed to gather together due to Covid restrictions,” Brubaker recalls. “So there was a lot of need and lack of community—a lack of love and intimacy in interpersonal ways, but we saw God doing something really great in the Christian community where those needs were being filled. The need was very deep but God’s love is bountiful and sufficient for all of us.”

For Brubaker, the time of prayer has become a testament to the work that the Lord is doing on campus—particularly in the way of Christian unity. The prayer time is comprised of leaders from CU Vita and three other campus ministries, all praying together for the Lord to work in powerful ways at Cornell to draw people to himself.

“I believe Jesus really cared about unity in his church and we see that in the things he prays for and the things he teaches. We also see that in almost every epistle of Paul—a call to unity. If we can’t understand that God doesn't fit in the box of one fellowship then our God is much too small,” says Brubaker. “I think it’s really important to be united in the call to serve God with other ministries. It's been really encouraging to spur one another on to love and good deeds in different fellowships. It’s really important to be united together through prayer and the Spirit of God as we walk in faith alongside of our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

But the group also spends considerable time praying for one another’s ministries, for student leaders, ministry staff, and for their fellowships to be revived and refreshed by the Lord. As a member of the executive team, Brubaker sees firsthand how students prioritize, or struggle to prioritize, their faith.

“I see the same struggles now as I have seen throughout my college time at Cornell. People are committed to God and they want to be in Christian community and seek God together. But at the same time, they came here to get a degree and it can be very taxing and there are a lot of constraints on time and energy,” says Brubaker. “The main dynamic I’ve seen is that different people have different priorities, and if you don’t prioritize your faith and your time to seek God now in college, those things will be the first to go and whatever you do prioritize will take over.”

The battle for the hearts and minds of college students rages day to day. And because it is, Brubaker sees prayer as more essential than ever. Only through prayer, communing with the Living God, and approaching him with confession, repentance, praise, and intercession, will we be able to prioritize what truly matters and mature into the full-grown believers God has made us to be.

“Prayer takes discipline and it’s a really beautiful spiritual practice because it’s modeled off of the relationship of a child with their parent. When a child is born and starts to learn to talk, their vocabulary is limited, they don’t know very much, and they don’t know their parents very well in a meaningful sense,” Brubaker says. 

“There is such a vast difference in a conversation between a parent with their three-year-old child and a twenty-year-old child. I think that happens in prayer over time—the depth and meaningfulness in prayer only increase as we get to know who God is and recognize the truth of his promises and steadfastness” Brubaker continues. “As we continue to pray and read the Bible and get to know God, there is this shift and our prayers mature as we mature in our relationship with God. Trust builds and we gain in a sense a new vocabulary as we read the Bible and learn about who God is and his promises.” 

“It’s really good to see people grow up and mature in their relationship with God in prayer. It’s beautiful to see that in community, too, and be a part of a community of brothers and sisters who are all maturing in relationship with the Father.” 

As these young leaders continue to seek the Lord and mature in him, there is no telling what the Lord might do; bring one student to repentance, revive a campus, or even transform a culture.