If you’re like me, you love college ministry. You love the thrill and excitement that college students bring to the table. You love staying up till 2 AM in order to build a relationship with a college student. You love waking up at 6 AM to help students learn the spiritual disciplines. You’re even willing to learn a dance on Tik Tok (although some of us shouldn’t), because you love college students.
We love college students and we love our jobs as college pastors. Yet I believe we are tempted to forget one of the most important roles of being a pastor to college students.
We have forgotten to pray for our students.
Every morning we wake up with a list of things to accomplish. We organize events, we meet with students, we prepare for gatherings, we spend time developing leaders, etc. These are things we should spend our time on–these are good things. Yet if we aren’t careful, we’ll become so busy with organizing and running our college ministry that we forget to sit down and pray for our students.
It is our job to pray for our students.
Prayer is in your job description as a college pastor. It is your job to pray for your students. Prayer is often treated as the thing we do when we have extra time in our schedule. We sit down and pray if we’re not too busy. We are tempted to run our ministry on our own and leave prayer out of the process.
I’ve experienced this first hand in my own life. I became so fixated with running and organizing our ministry that I didn’t prioritize prayer. I prioritized productivity over prayer. This past summer, God showed me how backward my thinking was.
When do you pray for your students?
We must be praying pastors. Prayer should be a defining element of our pastoral ministry. The question is, when do we pray?
Do you know the answer to this question? When do you pray for your students? If a student came up and asked you when you prayed for them, would you be able to tell them? Building prayer into our schedule on a routine basis shows our college students that we value prayer. Is prayer a part of your schedule?
What do you pray for your students?
Just as it is important to know when we pray for our students, we also have to know what we are praying. Here’s a quick list of things you can be praying for your students:
- Pray for the truths of God’s Word to be real and comprehensible in their lives
- Pray for their families
- Pray for what/who they are praying for
- Pray for their education
- Pray for God to give them opportunities to live out the Great Commission in their spheres of influence
- Pray for them to have an extreme level of devotion to the Lord
- Pray for them to have wisdom
- Pray for their relationships with one another
- Pray that they see the outcast and the lonely
- Pray that they spend time in prayer and hear God speak to them
A Few Helpful Tips
In my journey of learning to prioritize prayer over productivity, I’ve learned a few things:
- Write in a journal how you can be praying for each student.
- Use geography to help you remember to pray for students. For example, if a student is a business management major, pray for them every time you walk by the business building. You can also get in the routine of praying for a student every time you see a specific building on your commute to and from work.
- Pray out loud for them. This step is super helpful for me. It allows me to focus my heart and mind during prayer.
- When you call and check in with your students, ask them how you can be praying for them. In order for us to care for our students spiritually, we have to take the initiative and ask them how we can be praying for them. Even if we are close friends with them, we have to ask our students how we can be praying for them. This helps our students see that we value and care for their inner self.
The bottom line is that we have to be praying pastors.
God is the one who works in our ministries. God saves. God matures. God redeems. God gives favor. God draws people to himself. God heals relationships. God does the work.
Our job is to pray and to obey.