GYC’s early risers gathered in the Oregon Ballroom at 6 a.m. Thursday morning to open the first United Prayer of the weekend. Though the session was set to begin at 6:15 a.m., the room was almost filled to capacity by 6:20 a.m.
Young and young at heart sat on the carpeted floor, either cross-legged in the middle of the ballroom or along the walls, singing as more people filled the space. Gem Castor, the prayer coordinator for GYC, began the session with prayer and a devotional. In his devotional thought, Castor emphasized the need for attendees to lay down our “burden of sin” and to repent.
He shared: “We can no more repent without the spirit of Christ to awaken the conscience than we can be pardoned without Christ; Christ is the source of every right impulse.” Castor continued, saying: “He is the only one who can implant in the heart enmity against sin.” The message gave participants time for personal reflection and an opportunity to intercede privately.
Castor spoke with passion and urgency as he shared with the group his personal desire for GYC participants. “We desire revival, and we desire latter rain,” he said. After singing the beautiful chorus of “As the Deer,” participants engaged in “popcorn-style” prayer.
Castor began first with a prayer of praise: “Lord, I praise you for the blessing that [you are] to us…” Then, several members in the group “popcorned” their own prayers of praise. This was followed by a prayer of confession: “Lord, please forgive me for…” and a prayer of petition: “Lord, please help me give you…” Participants then formed groups of four or five to continue the prayer format in a more intimate format.
By 7 a.m., the ballroom was fully packed. Many who came, though late, were able to participate in the prayers by standing just outside the doors. The United Prayer sessions will continue throughout the rest of the week. GYC participants who are interested in attending are encouraged to arrive at 6 a.m. for worship and singing. Doors will be open at 5:30 a.m.
One young woman who attended the prayer session, Naomi Beaubrun from Brooklyn, New York, shared what she enjoyed most about the experience. She said, “I really liked the unified prayers.” She specifically appreciated the element that allowed her to hear the prayers of others. “You felt enveloped in a room of other believers, of other struggling Christians, trying our best to grow and be better every day.”