The first principle is prayer. Paul states in Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Prayer was an essential part of Paul’s ministry as we see in book of Acts, and in the letters he authored, we see his commitment to be in prayer for others. Here are just a few examples of his commitment to prayer:
Acts 20:36 NIV
“When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.”
Philippians 1:4 NIV
“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy”
Colossians 4:4 NIV
Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
In all sorts of different situations and circumstances Paul found it important to be in prayer with
and for others. In fact he reminds us in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica that we should “pray continually”. As a missionary, Paul understood the value and importance of prayer. To be a minister on a college campus is a great deal like being a missionary. A missionary generally goes into a foreign culture to share the Gospel. In many ways that is what happens in campus ministry. The university setting is unique in and of itself and each university has its own unique individualized culture. A campus minister must learn the culture of the campus as any missionary in the mission field would and figure out how best to share the Gospel with those people who are native to that environment. College ministry is truly a missional endeavor. The great missionary Paul was committed to prayer and we need to follow in his example of prayer if those of us who work with students are going to have success in disciple making.
If we believe that prayer makes a difference, that it changes things, then Paul’s words to the Thessalonians should be adhered to without abandon. Martin Luther King Jr. also reminds us of how we should think about prayer when he said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” We should pray as often as we can for campuses, students, faculty, staff, and other ministers as if it is as important to us our next breath. We must pray for the Christian to hold fast to their faith in an arena were temptation is never far away. Prayers should be said for the non-Christian to find the good news of Jesus Christ. It should be prayed for that faculty and staff would make decisions that will help affect students in positive ways. Campus Ministers should pray for one another out of a spirit of cooperation and unity. After all, it is more important that disciples are made, not that one program or organization has more students than another. The prayer request list could go on and on, but I think the point is made. Prayer is essential to campus transformation. It should always be our first movement in any circumstance.
This is how a commitment to prayer might work itself out on a campus. On any given campus there is typically a number of campus ministries at work. Organize a weekly prayer meeting between campus ministers. Be in prayer for all of the things listed above, but because we are specifically addressing discipleship, agree to spend significant time praying for clarity about how God wants to make disciples on that campus. Pray that God would raise up disciples who would be willing to disciple others. Pray for discernment about how principles of discipleship might work themselves out on that particular campus. A meeting like this serves to help show students that as ministers we are much more interested in being united in sharing the Gospel than we are in being separated by organizational lines or theological differences. It also demonstrates our commitment to prayer as an effective and useful tool in personal and communal transformation. I recognize that not every campus is going to have multiple ministries. This is where context comes into play. In a case like this, perhaps you can find other churches or ministers in your community who may not be on the frontlines of campus ministry, but who never the less have a concern for college students and would be willing to partner with you in prayer for them.
 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV 2010