SAN DIEGO (BP)–On the Saturday night before Pentecost — all night long — teenagers around the world will ask God’s mercy for young people worldwide who have never heard that Jesus is the way to a life that is full and forever.
Last year’s “A Whole Night for the Whole World” stirred the hearts of young people on six continents, said Dave Bidwell of Youth for Christ.
“In 2004, groups in at least 128 communities, in 30 countries, on six continents prayed together,” Bidwell said. “We heard stories of new vision, fresh passion for the world, reconciliation between people, and even of some coming to know Christ.”
One youth worker reported: “It was absolutely amazing. God truly honored the night dedicated solely to Him. People’s lives changed. The church body came together as exactly that — a body. People mended bridges and were released from addiction and bitterness.”
Whole Night organizers with the National Network of Youth Ministries believe the earnest prayers of a few teenagers can change the world, said Daryl Nuss, NNYM international coordinator.
“On the first Pentecost, it was the prayers of a few, gathered together in the Upper Room, who experienced firsthand the power of the Holy Spirit, who began to testify, who saw multitudes added to their numbers, who turned the world upside down,” Nuss said. “When we prayed last year, the Lord moved in many places around the world. We believe strategies like this will ignite a fresh passion in young people to reach their generation for Christ.”
This year’s event — set for May 14 — is being conducted in partnership with Global Day of Prayer, whose Ten Days of Prayer toward a Greater Pentecost will culminate May 15 — Pentecost Sunday — with an estimated 200 million Christians on all six continents praying as the sun rises in New Zealand until it sets in the United States, said Kelly Davis, a student mobilization consultant for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
The Whole Night website — http://wholenight.com — offers resources and ideas for engaging teens in all-night prayer, including a “9 to 5” activity plan, Davis said. The site also provides a way for youth groups to register their participation and share stories of how God moved during their event. The group plans to offer the site in at least five languages.
With more than 2 billion youth people in need of Christ, intense prayer is urgently needed, Nuss said.
“The challenges and opportunities of our world demand this kind of prayer,” Nuss said. “As Christian young people, we cannot continue with business as usual. Jesus modeled it. Jesus commanded it. It was not unusual for Him to pray all night and expect His followers to do the same. Prayer is life-changing for us — and the world too.”
Prayer is necessary because God — not man — is the one who brings revival, Bidwell said.
“Only the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, can capture the hearts of young people,” he said. “If today’s students are to reach their own generation around the world, it must be a movement of God, and not merely a human initiative.
“Our only hope of seeing that take place is through prayer.”
A Whole Night for the Whole World is on the Web at http://wholenight.com. Related sites: Global Day of Prayer, www.gdop-usa.com/index.html; National Network of Youth Ministries, http://youthworkers.net/index.cfm.