A Recap of DBU's Inaugural Prayer Challenge

Prayer Challenge

During a week that signaled a series of innovative firsts in the shadow of COVID-19, Dallas Baptist University lit a small candle of spiritual realignment that turned into a wildfire on its social media on May 14: the first-ever 12-Hour Prayer Challenge.

University president Dr. Adam Wright kicked off the live-streamed challenge with the crux of an idea that came to him during a run he took on campus, thinking about the new kind of world everyone has been experiencing the last few months when it has seemed that no categories can exist for labeling the phase of history that everyone is enduring differently around the world.

"Certainly, we've been moved by the expressions of love, care and consideration for first responders and those in need," Wright said, "but I also felt this huge burden for us as Christians to really go to the Lord and petition in prayer for him to supernaturally intervene. Prayer doesn't change God; it changes us."

Wright decided to make DBU the catalyst for what he considered a movement "among the nations" as an institution navigating the murky waters of a global pandemic, while staying true to the University's identity rooted throughout its history: a University built on prayer. DBU's connections in the Christian community around the world fell into line with the facilitation of a global prayer petition.

"Prayer has sustained us since our founding, and we have seen God move in amazing ways," Wright said. "If a movement of prayer can begin somewhere, why not here? My prayer is that this event will grow beyond just DBU and that thousands will be blessed by this as we all turn to the Lord and seek His face."

The lineup of over 90 guests spanned across the map: from DBU's own campus leaders, to greater Dallas, to Waco, to Washington D.C., to Albania, to Spain, to Japan and many more locations.

Musicians Keith and Kristin Getty opened the event at 9 a.m. with one of their signatures from the couple's songbook, "He Will Hold Me Fast."

Following was Senator James Lankford -- who visited DBU in October 2019-- with a word and prayer to set the tone preceding Dr. Wright officially kicking off the day of further prayer.

"This doesn't catch God by surprise," Lankford said. "It is the moment to calm down and know that some things are so far beyond our control. But remember that God is faithful. It is the perfect season for the church to be able to live at peace and find practical ways to serve."

Kristi Coleman -- director of DBU's Prayer Ministry -- realized in the beginning stages of planning the event that the concept of the Prayer Challenge was a direct answer to a specific prayer for DBU over the last several months.

"Last November a mentor of mine, a man in his 80s who lives in Colorado, wrote me an email in which he said he felt like God wanted him to begin to pray that a prayer movement would start at DBU that would spread around the world," Coleman said."When I read that Dr. Wright said he felt God telling him to do this prayer challenge, I was first so proud to be working at a university led by someone who seeks the Lord's ideas and then is bold enough to obey what he feels God is telling him to do."

Kathryn Robnett, director of DBU Alumni Affairs, was encouraged by the expanse of DBU's network that showed up in solidarity for a unique event amidst an unprecedented era.

"I am so thankful for Dr. Adam Wright feeling led by the Lord to dedicate 12 hours to pray for our world, country, and our DBU Family," Robnett said. "The DBU Family truly came together to do just that and am so thankful to call DBU home. I especially loved seeing Alumni joining along throughout the day!"

DBU also live-streamed a candlelighting service traditionally held for graduating students, which followed the Prayer Challenge and concluded at 9 p.m. on May 14. The videos are available to replay on DBU's Facebook page.

Written by Jordan Jarrett

Jordan Jarrett is a member of University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.