By: Carolyn Cathey Castelli,
a Moms in Prayer (MIP) Regional Coordinator and member of a MIP College/Career Group
A small but mighty contingent of five Moms in Prayer women, along with two prayer-warrior husbands, traveled last February 27, 2020, an hour north from Westchester County, New York to New Haven, Connecticut. Our mission: to pray at the Collegiate Day of Prayer (CDOP) gathering, live-streamed from Yale University to the nation. Little did we know that just two weeks later our country would be in “lock-down” to stop the spread of the deadly Coronavirus. Worship and prayer gatherings of more than ten people would be on hold for many months.
That cold winter night we were warmed with excitement to be part of an historic prayer movement. We partnered with students and campus ministry staff members to fervently pray for revival on college campuses at the second annual national simulcast. We desired to cry out to God to bring revival on the campus of this major and historic American university.
The CDOP prayer guide created by Julie Loos, MIP College Liaison, and knowing the history of the CDOP prepared our hearts. In the mid-1700s, churches and universities in the American colonies spent concerted days of prayer for colleges and universities. This prayer effort laid the foundation for the Second Great Awakening. By 1823 most denominations and universities in the USA were spending at least one day a year praying for revival on college campuses. What now is known as the Collegiate Day of Prayer is considered to be the first national call to prayer in the United States.
While this original prayer movement ended after 100 years, ten years ago a new prayer effort for colleges began. It has grown quickly to the point that in the past two years all of our over 4,000 college campuses and universities in the USA were adopted in prayer.
During the 2020 CDOP simulcast-prayer gathering, unity was evident among the various leaders from multiple organizations such as Cru and Chi Alpha as they focused on the theme of “One” based on John 17. We “found God at Yale” as we partnered in prayer with students and national and local campus ministry leaders and supporters.
A Moms in Prayer group member, Sherri Falco, with two sons at Yale, noted: This was a wonderful opportunity to pray for and with the students for their friends, classmates, and professors.
My husband, Jay, was one of the men who joined our MIP collective at the CDOP. As a Yale alum, he was deeply impacted:
“I was a bit surprised to see the CDOP held in a small, historic chapel in the middle of campus within steps of where I used to play touch football as a freshman. The space was soon filled with students from various campus Christian groups plus a number of us older folks. As soon as the first praise song began, my eyes welled up as I sang a familiar praise song in a familiar place, realizing I had probably never done such a thing in my four years over half a century ago. The night of students singing for Him and praying fervently truly redeemed the space for me and gave me a new song for the challenging times that followed: Way Maker.”
One of our Moms in Prayer group leaders, Mary DiMarco, a graduate of Yale graduate school, reflected on the evening, “I still can’t get over the wonderful presence of God I felt at the gathering. I was overjoyed to see the unity and love the students had for one another as they passionately worshipped the Lord and prayed fervently for revival. I attended Yale many years ago and never heard about God’s love or the Gospel while I was there. Five years after graduation I became born again and was overwhelmed with God’s great love. My life was totally transformed. Shortly thereafter I experienced such a burden to pray for those at Yale. When I heard about the CDOP event at Yale I knew I had to be there. No words can ever express the joy I felt that night. I couldn’t hold back the tears as I saw the Movement of God taking place there. What an atmosphere of peace, love and excitement for God! I was truly blessed!!”
After the event, MIP Area Coordinator, Deborah Burns, and I shared about the ministry of Moms in Prayer with the young women we prayed with and explained why we were there amidst young college students. Their eyes lit up as we mentioned their moms might want to connect with a MIP group. The powerful prayers and fragrance of Christ these precious students shared with us continue to remind us to pray for them and their families.
Our on-going prayer is that more and more students and professors will find God on their campuses as the “Way-Maker” who brings revival and hope in the midst of very difficult days. We were so encouraged to find God’s presence at the CDOP event last year, that we want to encourage you to join other moms on February 25, 2021 for a special Moms in Prayer Collegiate Day of Prayer conference call.