Starting a Prayer Chain on Campus

Crupress Archive

Any discussion about prayer chains must begin with the eighteenth-century Moravian Pietists, led by Count Von Zinzendorf. This interdenominational community was comprised of Moravians (believers from the Czech region) as well as other persecuted refugees of the Protestant Wars who came to Zinzendorf’s estate in Germany for asylum.

This little community experienced a powerful revival, and within two weeks of the outpouring, twenty-four men and twenty-four women covenanted to pray “hourly intercessions,” thus praying every hour around the clock. They were committed to see that “the fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out” (Leviticus 6:13). This prayer meeting would go nonstop for the next one hundred years and is seen by many as the spiritual power behind many of revivals of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.

The Moravians served as the example and inspiration for Peter Greig and the modern 24/7 prayer movement. After a visit to Herrnhut, the historic site of Zinzendorf’s community, Greig figured, “If the Moravians could do a century of 24/7 prayer, we could at least try for a month in our church back home.” So, in September of 1999, they began their experiment and found they couldn’t stop praying after the month was up, continuing on until Christmas. Today there are thousands of 24/7 prayer rooms in over seventy countries and counting.

Prayer escalates. Usually it begins with just a few individuals who feel the burden to pray. They begin to pray for an awakening on their campus, in their church, upon their city. The more they pray, the greater the burden becomes. Since they cannot bear it alone, they need others to bear the burden with them.

So they call others to blend their hearts and prayers with them. God then touches these new participants, and they, too, are “set on fire.” They then recruit others. Thus the numbers who are passionately praying increase.

Sooner or later, a critical mass of praying, fervent believers is gathered. Like a nuclear reaction (where molecules of radioactive material are continuously added until a certain mass is reached), when a certain number (known only to God) of fervently praying believers is reached, a spiritual explosion occurs. God then sends a sweeping movement to touch the campus, church, or city in order to revive believers and to arouse unbelievers so that they may be converted.

Your prayer chain may not turn into a massive revival or last for 100 years, in fact, 24 hours would be quite an accomplishment and a rather visionary goal.


Whether you are forming a prayer chain for a specific event or a longer period of time, the following are some helpful suggestions.

  1. Plan a time when you can challenge others to join a prayer chain. You might do this at a weekly prayer meeting, small group, or larger group weekly meeting.
  2. Clearly explain what is expected of anyone participating in the prayer chain. What is it they are committing to?
  3. Determine how long the prayer times will be. We would suggest 15 minute time slots. Then determine how many of these time slots you would like people to sign up for. Do you want them to sign up for 1 time slot, 3 time slots, etc.? It is not necessary that you have all 24 hours of the day covered. Determine what hours of the days you want the prayer chain to be active certain times of the day may be harder for students to pray because they are in classes.
  4. Prepare cards for volunteers to fill out for their prayer commitment. Have the cards correspond to the different prayer times that are available. This way they will be filling out a card for a specific prayer time and you will not have overlap. You might want to have them give their e-mail address so that you can remind them of their commitment and/or send them updated prayer requests to use during their prayer times.
  5. Prepare another set of cards to remind the volunteers of their commitment.
  6. Record everyone’s commitment on a master prayer chain chart.
  7. Consider e-mailing prayer requests to everyone on the chain periodically. It would also be good to update your chain on God’s answers to their prayers.


If possible designate and set up a prayer room on campus. This would be a place where anyone can go at any time to pray, a place where twenty-four-hour prayer can continue unabated if people are willing and committed. Be creative in setting up the environment of the room, having copies of visionary articles, prayer journals, books, music, lists of requests, and stories of answered prayer. Create an environment where, day or night, people can come and find a sanctuary to seek the Lord and pray for the needs of the ministry, the campus, and the world. Use this as the place to hold your weekly prayer times, and have a war room to set up prayer chains: 24/7 watches of prayer for the campus. As you pray, God will give you many creative ideas for mobilizing others and sustaining a prayer.

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