Convocation Challenge: Praying Like Elijah

August 25, 2017

CIU President Dr. Mark Smith Convenes New School Year

By Michael A. Lanier

CIU Student Writer

The new school year has officially “convened” at Columbia International University. The annual Convocation ceremony Aug. 24, featuring a procession of the faculty in full academic regalia, set the tone for the 2017-2018 academic year and introduced new CIU President Dr. Mark Smith to the student body.  

The topic of Smith's message was praying effectually, just as Elijah is described in James 5:17 when he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and his prayer was answered. This kind of “Elijah prayer,” as Smith put it, is fervent and thoughtful, and through this serious level of prayer, God can work in incredible and even miraculous ways.

“Elijah praying gives us oneness and intimacy with God,” Smith said. “It gives us an understanding of God's kingdom versus the earthly kingdom ... and prayers for the nations are heard.”

Students were visibly stirred by the message, with echoes of agreement and encouragement as Smith spoke.

“I thought that Dr. Smith gave a very convicting and compelling message that gave practical application for the CIU community,” said junior Daniel Wolff.

Throughout the day, conversations could be heard across campus about the impact of the message, and the importance of prayer in the daily life of the believer.

“It was incredibly refreshing to see someone so passionate about the prayer lives of younger generations and to hear how effective prayer is in growing faith,” said sophomore Jessica Minor. “It was such a great message to begin the school year.”

Smith also brought to light how Elijah prayer is essential to those abiding in Christ and living the Victorious Christian Life, a CIU core value.  

“Dr. Smith delivered a thrilling message on ways that prayer can improve us and guide us toward victorious Christian living,” said junior Jeffrey Green.

After offering numerous examples of how God answered large prayers in his personal and professional life, Smith told the students that CIU is about to enter a time of prayer and faith.

“I’m calling on you to pray with me,” Smith concluded. “God is going to do amazing things on this campus as we move forward. Will you as students be challenged to do something that no generation has ever done at Columbia International University? Will you be challenged to see God move on this place in ways He has never done before? That is the message this president challenges you with this morning.”  

Hear Dr. Mark Smith's message on the deeper praye life on CIU's podcast page