“Free Prayer”

The Lord has been faithful to fulfill my mission: To advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One student the Lord has greatly been using at the University of North Texas is Cory Simmons. Cory is a fashion merchandising major at UNT, and he leads a UNT Navigators small group Bible study that originally started out with eight guys and is now large enough to multiply into two groups with Christian students growing in Christ and non-Christians coming to know Christ. He recently felt the Lord convict him to reach out to the students at UNT, and he took a radical step of faith. Here is his account, which I am confident you will find encouraging:

Cory Simmons on UNT campus

For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.

-John 17:8-9 (NIV)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

For a year God has provoked and stirred me as I observed a man speaking in an area in front of UNT’s student union  called Free Speech Alley. He allows student bystanders to approach him with questions, but He quickly condemns them, ignoring the most important aspect of the Gospel—love. His interpretation lacks the complete truth, love and grace of the Gospel. As Jesus says, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world.” However, there was a plank in my own eye: not engaging those around me. UNT’s enrollment is approximately 38,000 students. I see many of them everyday, yet I have taken little initiative to engage them. As this semester began to approach, my walk with the Lord began to look closer at Him, and God began to show me the importance of engaging people for Him as Christ himself did– through the love of God the Father. Christ is the ultimate messenger, reaching those around Him and challenging them to reach others around them through love.

Praying with and for people is a way to help people encounter the love of Jesus. As I strolled by the Union building on Wednesday afternoons this semester, I gradually became provoked—not by the condemning preacher but by the Holy Spirit, convicting me to be more intentional with others. 

“What if I prayed for anyone wanting to be prayed for?” I asked myself. 

I took these feelings to the Lord in prayer without knowing what to expect, and He gave me the idea to stand on campus displaying a paper sign that reads “Free Prayer.”

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Today I began praying that God would receive the glory and that the Holy Spirit would attract, engage, and mature these people with whom I would come in contact. To God be the Glory for the great things He would do today! I prayed that I would be a servant to everyone who approached me as Jesus was when He washed His disciples‘ feet (John 13:1-17). Six people approached me; one is a leader in the church of the preacher whom I spoke of earlier. God was faithful with that six, and the Holy Spirit calmed my fears as each person wanted me to pray with them. Later, I shared these events with the guys in my Navigators Bible study, and they affirmed and encouraged me. My brother in Christ, Todd Lollar, pledged to join me the following Wednesday.

Me and Cory offering “Free Prayer”

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
For some reason, I felt discouraged today– like Satan didn’t want to see another work of Christ take place. I prayed that, despite my unfaithfulness and inconsistency, God would be faithful and consistent. Todd and I arrived on campus, and God was faithful and consistent again! Christ convicted about 8 people to visit me and Todd. I could not boast for me or for anything else. This was another amazing experience! God works. He is consistent. He is ahead of us in time. He has been planning this moment, even you reading this post right now, for eternity. 

I pray that this encourages you to become more intentional and interactive within the community He has placed you.

Cory Simmons

Cory is only one example of students’ lives we influence for the Kingdom. There are Navigator small groups, such as Cory’s, meeting and multiplying all over the UNT campus.   Like Cory, let’s ask someone at work, at home, at the store or in our neighborhood how we may pray for them.

Originally posted 2012-12-06 22:41:02.

Prayerful God Pursuits

When I was working as a College Evangelist in Baton Rouge, I traveled to Texas for a speaking engagement.

On the flight back to Baton Rouge I met a brother and a sister who were both students a LSU. They were flying back from the funeral of their two cousins who both died in the same car wreck. I could tell that this brother and sister were both very sad, mourning and needed much comfort.

These are the times that I really thank God for His Spirit leading my thoughts and words. I listened and listened and then listened some more. They needed to share openly about their loss and grief. I could tell they were not Christians. I shared with them about the presence, peace and comfort of God. I shared the narrative with them about Jesus who wept when his friend Lazarus died. Even though, Jesus was the Son of God and knew where Lazarus went after his death, Jesus still wept.

God knows and understands and has felt our human pain. God who comforts us also sympathizes with us because He walked on earth and humbled himself to live as a human. God gave the brother and sister comfort before my very eyes. Then they let me pray with them.

My students at LSU had a weekly prayer meeting. I believe prayer is very powerful and effective in pastoral care. We fervently prayed for this brother and sister even though we probably would not see them again. I did not have their phone numbers. I did know what fraternity house he lived in so I went to this house.

On the way there, I heard a voice yelling, “Todd!” from the outside of my car. I turned my head and it was the brother going the opposite direction. I got his phone number from his fraternity house. The brother and I started playing phone tag on each other’s answering machines. So one of my messages I left him a time and a place for him to come to a small group Bible study that I was leading. Meanwhile, my students and me were praying for him. He showed up one night to the Bible study and showed up weekly after that.

Originally posted 2006-08-25 20:37:00.