Members of the four small Christian student clubs in Wageningen attended a prayer concert in the community centre Ons Huis on Thursday 8 March. Together they asked God to deliver the university town from its sins. ‘O Lord, pour forth Your Holy Spirit and Your mercy into our hearts us.’
There is silence as Michelle van Dijk from the Navigators walks to the microphone in her socks. She has prepared a talk about Wageningen together with members of CSFR and Ichtus. There is a lot wrong here it seems: parties, drink, drugs, extramarital sex, occultism, unbelief, the worship of science as the new god. But the Christians themselves are not spared either. ‘We do not reflect Jesus’ love,’ says Michelle. ‘We pray too little and our belief is not strong.’ She calls for unity and for people to pray more, to confess their own and Wageningen’s guilt, ‘For a town that is sparkling with God.’
The audience divides up into groups of four or five people, spread out over the hall for the first of three rounds of prayer. Every five minutes a new theme is announced: arrogance, lack of compassion, debauchery and greed.
Soft murmuring can be heard, and here and there muffled laughter. One group huddles behind the band’s sound-mixer. They discuss each of the themes before putting their hands together and closing their eyes. One takes the lead and prays out loud: ‘Lord, it might look as though I am better than the rest, but this is not true.’
When the band starts to play again, the students can be heard loud and clear. Nearly everyone is standing, many with eyes closed and palms turned up. Ichtus member Richard is satisfied: ‘We need to pray because God has saved Wageningen. We can’t let this opportunity go by.’
The organisers – Navigators, Ichtus and CSFR – want to invite the fourth Christian group VGSW to join with organising more prayer concerts. Because ‘praying works’ says Michelle joyfully.