The UNC Week of 24/7 Prayer, an inter-ministry initiative to bring Christian students together in worship, came to a close last night.
Starting Wednesday, April 10, members of various Christian-oriented groups including Cru, Every Nation Campus and Summit College met each hour to host prayer sessions at the N.C. Study Center, also known as the “Battle House,” on campus libraries and in students’ living spaces.
Junior Mac Renslow, one of the organizers for the event, said that the Week of 24/7 Prayer helps bring the Christian community together under one goal.
“It was very inter-ministry,” Renslow said. “We tried to get someone from every ministry to be involved so that it could be a really campus-wide thing, and not just one campus ministry trying to like put it on and everyone being like, ‘Oh, I don’t know. That’s like a Cru thing, or a Summit thing, or something like that.’”
Sophomore Tori Horton said that one of the focus points of the event is to unite believers who may have never met before.
“I think the main goal for it was really to be like ‘Hey, we all follow Jesus, let’s pray together and unify and not do separate things,’” Horton said. “(Wednesday) I’m praying with someone I don’t know at 6:00 a.m.”
Horton ended up meeting sophomore Joe Bakita, a member of Chapel Hill Bible Church, through the event.
“It was just really cool just to gather together and pray,” Bakita said. “Just a really cool experience.”
Renslow said that prayer is one of the best ways to share God’s love with others and build relationships.
“He respects and honors persistent prayer," Renslow said. "So that’s kind of like the reason behind it, because we know that the Lord really does honor that and loves for us to talk to him. It’s like the gift that we have because of the Holy Spirit. Because of Jesus we get to actually talk to God. We wanted to mobilize a campus to do that purposefully and together on campus.”
Scripture and “prayer points” were provided for participants to focus their praying on a particular message, concern or thought they wished to bring before God. Students could sign up to meet at the top of the hour, every hour for the past week to lead prayer. Both Renslow and Horton said it seemed a little daunting to have early shifts.
“A lot of times I thought it was gonna be really hard to pray for an hour, especially if I were by myself. I’d be like, ‘Gosh, how am I going to speak to God for an hour or even listen to him for an hour without falling asleep,’” Renslow said. "It was something that I was really blown away by that the hour went by really fast and I was like ‘Golly, I could do that for three hours!’”
Although advertisements for the prayer week primarily circulated through campus ministries and nearby churches, Renslow said that anyone could participate.
“We didn’t really target nonbelievers very much, but they definitely might not be discouraged,” Renslow said. “That’s actually a good idea, for people who don’t know Jesus to be like, ‘hey, if this is real, you have access to talk to God and he listens to your prayers so maybe try it and see what happens!”
Several participants said the experience was gratifying to participate in.
“How joyful it is to be able to talk to the Lord and how crazy it is that we have access to talk to God,” Renslow said. “He listens to our prayers and he cares for us and he answers our prayers because he loves us.”
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