From a Mother’s Heart: Praying Christian Community into Existence / by Patti Greene, Greene Pastures by Patti
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Our family lives in Houston, Texas. In the fall of 2004, our son Jimmy started his first year at Babson College. It was during this time that God impressed on my heart the absolute need for believers to dwell in union and community in Jesus Christ.
In high school Jimmy applied to many colleges, but after much prayer he made the decision to attend Babson in the Boston, Massachusetts area – which is 1,848 miles away from home.
For background, we are a middle-class family. Jimmy attended a public high school and was raised in Bible-believing churches. Our church, and church friends, were always like family to us.
Jimmy stayed his first year at Babson, but the calls and emails home were increasingly breaking this mom’s heart. That first year was tough for him; for the first time, he was competing with private school kids, prep school kids, and kids much more ingrained in education than he was. The academic standards were higher than expected.
Jimmy was unhappy, stressed, and deeply regretting his college choice. He attended a high school with 3,500 students. He was class president for four years and an outstanding athlete. However, Babson was a D-3 school and there wasn’t much pride in the sports arena compared to D-1 schools. This college was strictly an upper level business school whose attendees consisted of those who considered attending other prestigious schools, e.g. Harvard, Yale, MIT. We were all astonished this was where Jimmy was being led by God to attend. It didn’t make sense to us other than Jimmy had a deep desire to attend a school in the Northeast where he would be challenged academically.
Every day I would come home from work, and I would pray long, hard, and continuously for him. It was sad because my two older children enjoyed their college life, but this post-secondary adversity was a new experience for both my husband, Jimmy, and myself.
I prayed more than I had ever prayed for anything in my life. I prayed for him to find a church family. I prayed for Christian friends. I prayed for him to find a Bible-believing church. I prayed for him to be strong in his faith. I prayed for him to become closer to the Lord. I prayed he would read his Bible. The list could go on and on.
This mom’s heart was breaking. Tears flowed almost daily.
I had been made aware of “prayer-walking” although I had never done it in a church situation before. GotQuestions.org, an online source for answering Biblical questions, defines prayer-walking as “the practice of praying on location, a type of intercessory prayer that involves walking to or near a particular place while praying.” ¹ While unable to be on the Massachusetts campus myself, I decided to prayer walk in my own creative way.
I sat down in the chair in which I normally pray in with a map of the college campus. I “walked” around the campus in my mind, praying for what happened in each dorm. I prayed for Jimmy to meet nice people in the cafeteria and prayed for his classes. Thus, within time, I had prayed for every building on campus, including the chapel, which was mostly used for lectures, not religious events.
I seemed to dwell and pray more in and around the chapel. Of course, in my mind, the chapel represented God, Jesus, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit.
I continued to pray fervently and long. I prayed for any Christian church to reach out in ministry. I prayed for Christian influences to show up. I prayed for spiritual strength. I prayed for the Lord to speak to others to help. I prayed for the community people. I prayed because I love my son and I wanted him to be happy and to keep his Christian faith strong during college.
Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as CRU for Crusade) had occasional meetings on the campus. While CRU was helping to fulfill the Great Commission by winning people to faith in Jesus Christ and building them in their faith, more was needed, e.g. fellowship, Bible study, opportunities to serve.
I was reading the Bible constantly looking for verses to help him and to guide myself in what to tell him.
I was touched by Bible Verses such as:
My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! (Psalm 119:28).
Redeem [him] from the oppression of men, that [he] may obey your precepts. (Psalm 119:134)
Most importantly, I prayed for students to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as their Savior. I claimed verses for these college students to have the ability to stay strong in their beliefs and to avoid evil and temptations.
Our son tried to transfer after his first year to the University of Texas where he was initially accepted, but they wanted him to do summer school first. The timing didn’t work out, and it became obvious that God had other plans. He was going back to Babson.
Long story short: in the fall of 2005, I received a phone call. Jimmy said he went to church. When I asked him where, he said, a church started on the college campus IN THE CHAPEL. When he told me it was a Christian church that believed in the Bible, I was absolutely thrilled!
Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think that a church (a CHRISTIAN church, no less) would be right on the college campus where students could just roll out of bed and be ministered to by the Lord and the community.
The vision of this church is to be a local supportive community of authentic followers of Christ who experience transformation by the grace of Jesus Christ and bring God’s love to the world. It was through their ministry that Jimmy’s attitude changed regarding being at Babson. He met fellow students who were believers – one to this day who is his best friend. He found solace and comfort in meeting Christians from the community. Being invited to meals, dinners, and functions by the members of this church boosted his faith and that of those who attended with him. He played his guitar during the church services.
Finally, after a year of zealous praying, my son and others had a spiritual community of believers that cared for them, guided them, fed them, and loved them for the next three years.
I asked Jimmy (who has been out of that scenario for 6 1/2 years) what his involvement with the church meant to him and his buddies. He said, in his business tone, “It was an excellent way for the campus students to mature in their spiritual life; to see how ‘older’ Christians lived their lives; and to see how Christian employers and businessmen act and conduct business.”
Then, the goose bumps came when I heard what God had been doing behind the scenes the entire first year I was praying. One of the founding members of the church shared with me about how their home-church contacted the chaplain at Babson to ask about the availability of their church meeting in the chapel for services. Much to their amazement, they were told that the only time the chapel was available was on Sunday morning.
What a blessing to see how the Holy Spirit was working things all together as only He can do. Only God can take the prayers of one mom in Texas and one congregation in Massachusetts to work things together for good. There was no doubt in my mind that God started the ministry on the Babson campus and there was no doubt why. He always knows the big picture and puts it all together for His glory.
College is hard enough. Having an outlet for fellowship, love, and good Bible-teaching is a true blessing and outreach. You may not ever know how much it means to these kids, but believe me, it does. I continue to see the spiritual fruits of this Christian community in Jimmy’s life. God knew his unmet spiritual needs and He chose to meet it through this church.
The fall after my son graduated from Babson, the church relocated from the college chapel to a different facility. While I was happy for the church when they moved to a new location, a part of my heart was saddened by the lack of spiritual needs that might go unmet with those college students. But, fortunately, their new location was close to the college campus!
All I can say to this wonderful church is “thank you from the bottom of my heart for being receptive to the Holy Spirit and heeding His call.” While I was praying for a local church, God was creating a “ROLL OUT OF BED CHURCH” for all those Babson students who attended. God answered above all expectations. He even knew that my son would thrive best when church was within a five-minute wake-up time to sitting in a pew.
Praying ‘community’ into existence is powerful. Not only was I impressed by the need for believers to dwell in union and in community in Jesus Christ, I experienced firsthand how prayer can spur Christian community into existence.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6).
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
Dear Father, Thank you for being with me during the difficult and painful times of my life. With your love and power, you can change circumstances and situations. You are an awesome God. May I always trust you to know best. Help me to always realize that through our tough times we grow more in faith and love towards you. Thanks you again. I love you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Patti Greene, Member Inspirational Writers Alive
Testimony given with permission from Jimmy.
Houdmann, S. Michael. Got Questions. GotQuestions.org. Accessed 27 Oct 2016.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version containing the Old and New Testament. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001. [All verses come from the English Standard Bible unless noted otherwise]
Edited by E. Johnson
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