RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- A network of youth ministries and missions organizations has issued a call to prayer -- challenging student groups all over the world to spend a night in prayer for 2.1 billion teenagers, most of whom have never even heard the good news of God's love.
"A Whole Night for the Whole World" (http://wholenight.com) is hoping millions of young people all around the globe will unite in prayer May 29 for global revival in their generation, said Kelly Davis, a student mobilization consultant for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
"Everywhere I go, I meet young people whose hearts are broken over the lostness of their generation," Davis said. "A Whole Night for the Whole World is a call to reach this generation, in this generation, by this generation."
May 29 is the night before Pentecost, a time of great symbolism for Christians around the world, Davis noted: "Before His ascension, Jesus told his followers to assemble and pray. It was during that time of prayer that the Holy Spirit came in great power, and the church was born."
THE FIRST STEP
Prayer is the first step toward a worldwide movement of God's spirit among young people, said Richard Ross of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, author of the "True Love Waits" sexual abstinence program that has made a significant impact on young people around the world.
"In 1804 and 1805, prayer ignited revival among students in the Second Great Awakening and propelled thousands to the nations with the gospel," Ross said. "A century later, in 1904 and 1905, prayer was a major factor in bringing revival among students in the Global Awakening -- and thousands more were propelled to the nations with the gospel.
"Now, another century later, I sense God is moving in an unusual way among students again. As we see students call themselves to worldwide prayer on May 29, we shout, 'Come, Lord, and do it again!'"
The call to prayer is God's call, not man's, said Scott Kindig, youth ministry consultant for the Georgia Baptist Convention.
"I would be very uncomfortable calling this generation to pray a whole night for the whole world if it was just my idea," he said. "I am very enthusiastic about echoing a call that a more powerful and potent voice already has issued.
"God calls our students to pray without ceasing in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. He calls them to take up their crosses and follow Him in Luke 9:23. He calls them to go into all the world and make disciples in Matthew 28:19-20.
"Christian leaders simply echo a louder voice, and in calling for a whole night for the whole world, that is exactly what we are doing."
ALIGNMENT WITH GOD'S HEART
A night of prayer could bring an entire generation into alignment with God's heart for the nations and make a major difference all over the world, said Susie Lipps, director of "next generation" mobilization for http://www.wynet.org, Wycliffe's international youth network.
"A few years ago, a junior high group from Philadelphia took a mission trip to a town in Mexico. The kids were so struck by the spiritual and physical needs of the Tarahumara people group that they began to pray God would use them to reach them with the gospel.
"They shared their vision with the leadership of their church, and the leadership got excited about planting a church among the Tarahumara. They discovered that evangelism and discipleship was going to be difficult because the Scripture hadn't been translated into that language. But they didn't give up, because by then the whole church was on board with the vision of reaching the Tarahumara.
"To make a long story short, Wycliffe helped them get the Scripture translated and now this church is working with others to reach the Tarahumara. There will be Tarahumara young people coming to Christ in this generation as a result of the prayers and vision of a junior high youth group!"
The group's website, http://wholenight.com, offers ideas and resources for youth groups that want to be part of the worldwide night of prayer. It also provides a place to register a group's intention to participate and a way to share what God does during the event.
"A Whole Night for the Whole World" immediately precedes a May 30 prayer focus in which Southern Baptist churches across the United States will unite in a day of prayer for 43 million people in seven countries of the Arab world (http://ime.imb.org/dayofprayer).