Final Pray2020 Article by Steve Douglass
In this final article for Pray2020.org, Cru President Emeritus Steve Douglass shares answers to our Pray2020 prayers. Eternity will tell the answers to our prayers. Thank you for being a part as you prayed!
God answers prayer — sometimes dramatically. Bill Bright knew that well. So when he and Vonette launched Campus Crusade for Christ almost 70 years ago, they started with a 24-hour prayer chain. And the ministry grew rapidly and solidly, right from the beginning.
So, it seemed appropriate on June 20, 2015 to launch an emphasis on prayer called Pray2020. We were striving toward some huge goals, working together with others in the body of Christ. We knew only God could make those happen. We committed to pray every evening at 20:20 (8:20 p.m.), that God would work in three specific ways:
Mold our hearts to be one with God’s.
Multiply our lives into the lives of others.
Mobilize laborers through our prayer and ministry efforts.
Now that 2020 is coming to a close, I was asked to recount some examples of how God worked in answer to those prayers.
The Latin America and Caribbean area has been quite active in Pray2020 from the beginning. In a video they encouraged everyone to set their phone alarms for 20:20. They even added an emphasis called 2020Wave — dedicating the 20th of every month to the Lord.
And God moved! During a student conference in Brazil in 2017, there was a concert of prayer during which the students and staff experienced the presence of the Lord in a special way. There was a time of surrender to the Lord’s will to mold people’s hearts to be like His. Every year since then they have had more students apply to join Cru full-time. Last year they had 49 new staff applicants!
Something similar happened in Mexico. For several years, the only SLM staff members serving in Mexico City were from other countries. Then students all over Mexico were invited to ask the Lord to “mold their hearts to be like His.” Soon afterwards, national SLM staff members began to serve in the capital city once again. Now there is a strong group of volunteers as well. When one young staff woman named Evelyn began to pray, “Lord, mold my heart to be like Yours,” she became an inspiration to other new staff members. Many of them are taking on universities in Mexico City.
One of the most striking examples has been occurring in Global Church Movements (GCM). GCM’s basic training features planting churches that multiply. One church in Tanzania has already multiplied to the 25th generation. Sixty-seven countries in which GCM is ministering have experienced church multiplication to the third generation or more.
Multiplication has also occurred through digital strategies, especially during the pandemic. For example, one new Christian in the Middle East organized her friends to start an online ministry last summer. In one month, they saw 100 people indicate decisions for Christ! Plus, they started an online church.
This young woman now has 22 new disciples who have trusted Christ with her; seven of those account for 41 others who have responded to Christ through them. New believers are continuing to start and lead their own online discipleship groups.
In the last several years there has been tremendous mobilization in Student-Led Movements around the world. At the end of 2015 we were on 5,212 campuses. By the end of 2019 we were on 9,362 campuses (including 1,088 through partnerships with other ministries or churches). Clearly God answered the prayer to mobilize more students and others.
LeaderImpact had mobilized leaders into over 350 level 2 (sustained ministry) city teams by the end of 2019. They are praying that number will be over 400 by the end of 2020.
In Indonesia, the vision of key financial partners has led to a global movement called “IGNITE.” IGNITE is mobilizing current and potential financial partners to take ownership for funding our ministry in their countries.
Just days ago, a Christmas IGNITE event was held via Zoom from the Philippines for nearly 600 people in over 30 countries around the world. Prominent Christian business people shared testimonies and challenged others to use their L.I.F.E. (Leadership, Influence, Finances and Expertise) to benefit the ministry. How exciting it is to see business people capturing the vision and sharing it with others, even during the pandemic.
Two final examples involve mobilizing others via the “JESUS” film.
First, Judith in the President’s Office was praying the “mobilize others” prayer a few years ago. One day she was at a luncheon encouraging outreach with the “JESUS” film. Judith suggested to those sitting at her table that they mobilize their churches to be involved. Another person at the table was so struck by this idea that she got involved full-time with the organization proposing the outreach. God used her as the catalyst for a project that went on to see 739,000 homes in Orlando, Florida, receive a “JESUS” film DVD through participating churches. Other cities have followed suit.
Second, the significant majority of results from showing the “JESUS” film has occurred as people not directly involved with our ministry have shown it. Think how many billions of people would not have heard if others weren’t mobilized to use it.
I believe the Pray2020 emphasis has been foundational to what we have seen happen in the last five and one-half years. God has worked miracles.
So where do we go from here? Obviously, it’s time to celebrate! And it is time to use our experience to motivate and guide us into a new, fresh emphasis on prayer.
We may pray in different ways, but we must not stop asking and trusting God to work miracles. We know God wants everyone to hear about His love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. My challenge to all of us is: keep on praying and keep on trusting God to keep on working.