“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19)
Several spiritual movements in history can be traced back to students praying on their campus. John Wesley, Charles Wesley, and George Whitefield are incredible examples. These three Oxford University students, dubbed as The Holy Club, gave themselves to radical prayer, worship, and fasting that served as a catalyst to shifting the expression of Christianity around the world.
From their small prayer meeting they were sent out like arrows offering incredible contributions to the world. John Wesley founder of the evangelical movement known as Methodism; Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 Christian hymns; and George Whitfield help lead the First Great Awakening in America along with Johnathan Edwards and Gilbert Tennent.
As a revival of faith was underway through Wesley and his friends, so was the altering of society. The First Great Awakening helped spark American Independence and a new nation; and Wesley Movement helped paved the way for William Wilberforce abolitionist efforts that abolished slavery in England and gave hope to its ending in America.
Here’s a small excerpt of John Wesley letter to his friend, William Wilberforce, written February 24 year 1791
“…But if God is with you, who can be against you? Are all of them stronger then God? Oh, be not weary in well doing. Go on, in the name of God and in the power of His might, until even America slavery, the vilest that ever saw the sun, shall vanish away before it…”
All across the world a network of encouragement among fellow revivalist and reformers was growing as they all were partnering with heaven to defeat the giants of their day and rewrite history!
They knew they were anointed and appointed for such a time!
This brings us to Luke 4:19. According to Luke’s Gospel after Jesus 40 day fast one of the first place he visited was the Synagogue. He went in and found where it was written of Him in the scriptures and declared it among the congregation:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
What a powerful declaration and how cool it was that Jesus was able to discover where it was written of Him in the Jewish scriptures and declare it among the crowd with assured confidence and boldness. Similar, we all have our place written in the Father’s redemptive storyline in shaping history, and it can only be found in the place of friendship and oneness with God.
This is what John Wesley and his friends all had in common; they were friends of God and encouraged their fellowmen to pursue a lifestyle of prayer and intimacy with God to alter society. William Wilberforce quotes, “Of all things, guard against neglecting God in the secret place of prayer.”
Today, with increasing numbers of communities of prayer (many marked like the Wesley’s Holy Club) springing up on college campuses all across America I believe out the place of true friendship with the Father and friendship with one another we can see revival and transformation hit the campuses and cities of America and change the world!
As we prepare to gather for Collegiate Day of Prayer, let us remember how God has used prayer and college students to reignite faith and alter society; and let us believe and contend together in faith for a Greater movement of God’s spirit in our day!
We were created for such a time as this. Let’s shift the tide of history and see America turned back to God.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us.
Authored by Niko Peele, IGNITE Movement, North Carolina