Thousands of Baylor University students—joined at times by friends from other schools up to 100 miles away—gathered at McLane Stadium for four evening worship services and at Fountain Mall for 72 hours to pray for revival and spiritual renewal.
With the encouragement of ministers from Waco-area churches and campus ministries, Baylor students launched FM72 in the spring 2019 semester after positive response to a 24-hour prayer event in the previous fall semester. That four-day emphasis led to a spontaneous 10-day revival, with students continuing to meet in prayer.
‘It really was a celebration’
This year’s FM72, March 27-30, culminated with a service in which 33 students were baptized—generally by peer mentors, with the involvement of representatives from local churches where those students already had connections.
“It was really a celebration,” said Charles Ramsey, director of campus ministries and associate chaplain at Baylor University. “It was a joy to see students baptizing other students, acting under the authority of churches.
“The Fountain Mall location was meaningful. Students will come back to campus 20 years from now and remember what happened at that place on that night—how they decided to follow Christ and made the life commitment to make faith a priority and make church their home.”
Ramsey characterized FM72 as a partnership between local churches and campus ministries with the full support of Baylor University administration and leadership provided by students.
“We had a tremendous turn-out. The first night, we had more people involved than the biggest night last year,” he said.
Students from Texas A&M University, the University of Texas and several schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area attended the Sunday night worship service at McLane Stadium at the invitation of friends at Baylor.
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“They wanted to be part of it, too,” Ramsey said.
Visual walk through the biblical story
At some points, even between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m., the 40-foot by 80-foot prayer tent on Fountain Mall was filled with standing-room-only crowds, he noted.
“There were times when it was like a high-level festival of celebration. Other times, it was absolutely silent in the tent, as students read Scripture and quietly prayed,” Ramsey said.
The tent allowed visitors to walk through a visual representation of the biblical story, from the creation and fall in Genesis to the heavenly city in the New Testament book of Revelation. It featured panels displaying selected Scriptures that accompanied student artwork.
In an opinion article published March 26 in the Waco Tribune-Herald, Baylor President Linda Livingstone wrote the goal of FM72 was “to stir a passion for Jesus in the Baylor family and throughout our hometown of Waco, bringing revival and renewal.”
Continuing legacy of Youth Revival Movement
Livingstone noted how student prayer meetings at Baylor more than seven decades ago gave birth to the Youth Revival Movement.
“In the spring of 1945, Baylor students gathered to pray for revival for 90 days,” she wrote. “That effort proved to be the origin of a revival movement that spread throughout Texas, the South and around the world, launching a dynamic generation of professionals, pastors and missionaries.”
Livingstone tied an emphasis on prayer for spiritual renewal to Baylor’s Christian mission.
“At the end of the day, what matters most to the Baylor Family is not academic accolades but our success in preparing students to lead and serve communities in need, sharing the gospel and glorifying God.”
Ramsey expressed gratitude to Livingston and her husband Brad for their “presence and support” of FM72 and to area pastors, many of whom gathered to pray at Truett Theological Seminary prior to the campus event.
From the student-designed exhibit in the prayer tent to program planning and social media promotion, Baylor students “took ownership” of the 2022 FM72 event, Ramsey said.
Next year, he and other campus ministry leaders hope to involve even more students in preaching at FM72 worship services.
“We’re already imagining, dreaming and praying about what God wants to do next year,” Ramsey.