Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
Every three years between Christmas and New Year, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship sponsors a 5-day mission event called "Urbana", named after its longtime location at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. The last several events have been held in St. Louis (due to outgrowing the venue), but the conference retains the Urbana brand. Urbana challenges college students to see the needs of the world and to respond to God's call to expand his kingdom globally. My own personal prayer life and prayer ministry owes its origins to Urbana '84, so I thought I'd focus this spotlight on Urbana '15, scheduled for 12/27-31, 2015. (Where did those 30 years go?!)
Urbana is a conference founded on prayer (I've included some of their specific requests for prayer below). When I attended, we had small group Bible studies in the morning and those same groups met for prayer each night (usually around 10:00), reviewing our days and praying for discernment of God's call; in fact, this was where I (and probably thousands of other college students) first learned to consider and pray about God's path for my life. And it's no wonder, given the amount of prayer that goes into the conference.
Urbana's prayer page notes this from David Platt:
David Platt’s first exposure to InterVarsity came at a preparatory retreat for Urbana 12 speakers in August 2012. One of the things that impressed him the most was our commitment to prayer. He said, “I speak at a lot of conferences. And I have never seen a group putting on a conference who takes prayer as seriously as you all!”
Urbana 2015 will guide attendees through studies on the book of Matthew through small groups and expositions; broaden their vision through plenary sessions (with about 16,000 attendees!); and challenge their thinking through hundreds of breakout sessions focused on different topics of missions. Of particular interest to us as people of prayer, Urbana will open the eyes of students to the concept of missional prayer and will challenge them to understand that, in the words of Eric Alexander, "Prayer is fundamental, not supplemental" to the work of the church.
Students will have an opportunity to begin to practice missional prayer both in their small groups and through a missional prayer room, where they will intercede for the needs of the world. They'll be given an opportunity and space for worship and reflective prayer, and times and spaces to receive prayer from volunteers at the conference. In short, not only the conference but also the attendees will be saturated with prayer. I speak from experience when I say many of them will be changed forever by the encounter.
To get a taste of what students will hear, check out this excerpt from Eric Alexander's exposition of Ephesians in Urbana '84: The Ministry of Christian Intercession.
If you're passionate about raising up the next generation of prayer warriors within the church, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more strategic event to pray for than the Urbana missions conference. As God leads you, please lift up the following requests from the Urbana staff:
If you're interested in praying during the course of the conference, Sign up to receive daily prayer requests from December 27-31. You can also watch the live stream at urbana.org to guide your prayers.
Pray.Network Spotlight by Andrew Wheeler.
See Andrew's website at www.togetherinprayer.net