The First Two Weeks


© 2014 Kevin Dooley, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

During the first two weeks of college, your child is facing much bigger issues than getting lost on campus, and running out of clean underwear.   Kara Powell and Chap Clark in their book Sticky Faith say, “Over and over, students have told us that the first two weeks at college are when they make key decisions about drinking and other high-risk behaviors, right along with choosing whether to go to church or to a campus ministry.”  (Powell and Clark)

In a college setting, social groups are quickly formed often based on where you live, and involvement (sport teams, music groups, or other interest groups).  The warm friendly smiles that you receive on campus while visiting, quickly fade as people are no longer looking for more friends.  Petrified of being left alone, students often make decisions based on their need for social connection.

Students quickly learn that their decisions about alcohol and other behavior will quickly ostracize them from others.  It doesn’t take too many evenings left alone in the dorm before feelings of loneliness can overwhelm even the deepest resolve.

How do you prepare a student for those first two weeks?

1.  Teach them to walk across the room and extend a hand.  Teaching your child basic skills in how to make new friends is crucial for this new phase of life.  Many adolescents face little change in their circle of friends during high school, and have forgotten how to make new friends.  Encouraging your adolescent to always be looking for new friends will help them keep their social skills, and prepare them for the future.  As a child moves away from home, emerging adults meet their first test, whether than can develop their own community.

2.  Teach them how to find a Spiritual Community.  Most adolescents have never picked out a church before.  They don’t know what questions to ask, or what to look for?  Your child might be overwhelmed by the available options, and not try.  According to Sticky Faith Research,  “40% of students feel prepared to find a new church.”  Parents need to prepare their child for find a new Christian community.

Use on-line tools to help your student check out churches around their campus. is an outreach of the Youth Transition Network: a coalition of youth, college and military ministries working together to transition students from high school to college/career  (For more information about YTN go to

3.  Remember last minute cramming, isn’t very helpful.  One emerging adult said, “I really appreciated that they didn’t give me a bunch of last minute “advice” about how to live life on my own. I feel like the drop off is not the time or place! If they want to give me life lessons, giving nagging reminders as they drop me off isn’t the best!”

It is not the absence of information that causes students to make poor decisions, it is often the lack of will.  The prophet Isaiah makes this point when he says,  “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”   Even though you are not with them, your child will hear your voice as they are making their own decisions.

First2Weeks_v1 (1)4.  Pray, and ask others to join you during this time.  Pray for godly influences including:  friends, ministries, and other adults.  Encourage your church community to do a prayer campaign for college students during the fall as students are leaving for school.  Join our prayer campaign.

Ultimately, you have no control over the first two weeks or any week of your child’s experiences at college.  You can only surrender yourself, and your child to the Lord in prayer.  This is what makes the first two weeks so very difficult.


Powell, Kara and Chap Clark.  Sticky Faith:  Everyday ideas to build lasting faith in your kids.



For over 200 years the last Thursday of February has been set aside as a day to pray for the college campus. The campus that is a few blocks from your home. The campus that is located hundreds of miles from your city in a region of our country that has very little evangelical presence. The campus where you earned a degree. Collegiate Day of Prayer has a significant history in the spiritual awakenings that have been birthed in our nation on the college campuses.

Read more here!

Praying for those who leave for college campuses is very important, that is why, I believe every church should have at least one prayer campaign a year focused on college campuses.  If you want to launch a prayer campaign at your church, here is an idea.

Mark WhittMark Whitt writes about why the Collegiate Day of Prayer matters to your college ministry.   He is the Collegiate and Young Adult Specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources. Before joining LifeWay, he spent many years on the campus of Murray State University as a campus minister.

A Two-Minute Prayer for College Students

As part of our prayer campaign for college students (called “The First Two Weeks”)  Here is something that you can use as a prayer guide.

Studying from Flickr via Wylio

© 2013 mer chau, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Lord, we pray for the protection of (name)
We ask that you would guard their heart and their mind in Christ Jesus
That you would wrap them up in Your love
And deliver them from all evil

Lord, we pray that you would give (name) great enthusiasm for their studies
May you inspire them each and everyday
May each seminar and class bring fresh inspiration to their work
May each moment be filled with the energy they need for their tasks

Lord, we pray that (name) would know the hope to which they are called
That their life would be transformed by revelation from Heaven
That You would inspire their direction
And gently lead them into their destiny

Lord, we especially pray for (name’s) friends at college
May they come to know Your goodness and love
To walk in Your freedom and grace
All the days of their life


Read more:

The First Two Weeks – Guide for the Praying Parent

tips for parents praying for their college student

While some parents may not pray because they are too busy, I believe that there are others who don’t pray because they don’t know what to say.  While an “awkward” moment before friends can be laughed at, what if your prayer time is “awkward.”

Here is a great article that provides tips for Parents of college students.

I hope that it will turn your prayer life from “awkward” to powerful.

First2Weeks_v1 (1)Please join us in our First Two Weeks Campaign.  The purpose of this prayer campaign is to remind Christians to pray for college students during their first two weeks on campus.

You can read more here!



The First 2 Weeks – A Call to Prayer for those Returning to Campus

Replace your profile picture with this image to remind others to pray for emerging adults.

Emerging adults are heading back to college campuses.  While this causes many parents to worry, and many religious to fear, it should lead us to pray.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  Philippians 4:6

Pray, and ask others to join you in prayer.

Kara Powell and Chap Clark in their book Sticky Faith say, “Over and over, students have told us that the first two weeks at college are when they make key decisions about drinking and other high-risk behaviors, right along with choosing whether to go to church or to a campus ministry.”  (Powell and Clark)  While many may not immediately participate in risky behavior, they do make social decisions that determine their social community for several years.

Let us show emerging adults that while on campus…

  • They are still relevant to our lives.
  • Their work on campus is relevant to the Kingdom of God.
  • They are still an important piece of our spiritual community.
  • They are not forgotten.

The purpose of the “First 2 Weeks” Campaign is to remind the Church to support and encourage emerging adults.

This prayer campaign is not just for parents.  It is for youth workers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, pastors, friends, and anyone else who cares about the spiritual needs of emerging adults.

As the Church, let us show Emerging Adults through text, facebook, and tweet that they are not forgotten (#first2weeks).  They are not in another reality.  They are not so far away.

Help us build a prayer moment for Emerging Adults by…

  1.  Use the buttons below to like and SHARE this article on Facebook.
  2. Replace your profile picture with the “First Two Weeks” image.
  3. Tweet your prayers for an emerging adult with the hashtag #first2weeks.
  4.  Encourage your church community to join the movement by contacting your youth workers or senior pastor.

May we truly be the body of Christ, not in words only, but also in deeds.



Powell, Kara and Chap Clark.  Sticky Faith:  Everyday ideas to build lasting faith in your kids.

Your Black Friday Prayer

shoppingI have experienced Black Friday.  It began way before any human should be awake.  It began in a line that was so long that it wrapped around two sides of the store.  I wish that I could say that it got better.

I picked up the few items that I was buying, and then headed towards another extremely long line.  Two young women were in line right behind me.  One of them had a cart with various odds and ends, while the other was attempting to move a television box that was bigger than she was.  I couldn’t help but listen to their conversation.

“This television is such a great deal.”

“Yes, it is.”


“What are you going to do with it?”

“I don’t know.”

“You already have one.”  Silence.    “You don’t have anywhere to put it.”

“But it is such a good deal.”

The conversation ended, but the point was so clear.  I actually hung around just to see what would happen.  In the end, the television won, and humanity lost another round to American consumerism.  As Black Friday approaches, many of you will brave the long lines, and mass chaos.  Here is a simple prayer that can help you come out on top.


Black Friday PrayerDear Lord,

You are Lord of all that I have – including my money.  Today, my shopping is under your control.  Help me to use discernment while using my money.  Help me to spend only what I have, that I might be free from the bondage of debt.  May I remember that your call to generosity extends beyond my family, but to the “least of these.”  May your Spirit guide me, and not greed.  May I not believe the lie that possessions will bring me or my family happiness.  May I not attempt to earn the love of others through gifts.

May my day be filled with your love, your joy, and your peace.

Always and forever yours,




5 Ways to Pray For Your Emerging Adult

prayingWhen as a parent you are not sure what to do (or not do), or how to help your emerging adult, there is one thing that you can always do without getting trouble – PRAY.

I grew up hearing stories of parents and grandparents who were prayer warriors.  People who would spend hours beseeching God on behalf of others.  I hope these “prayer warriors” still exist today.

It is not a small resource to parents.  But as one parent said, “Prayer is the only REAL resource we possess.  Everything else we use to ‘solve’ our problems (money, influence, talents, etc.) is nothing compared to the power we have in the God of the universe.”

Are you praying regularly for your child?  Not just positive thoughts that are sent their way.  Not just a regularly rehearsed of words uttered quickly before a prayer.  Do you spend time going before the throne of God on behalf of your children?

Some EA’s know that their parents pray for them.  One EA writes, “My parents have always been my biggest prayer warriors, and it means the world to me. As a child, they established a precedent of praying about anything -both big (family financial issues) and small (finding a missing item).”  While others are doubtful, “I would love it if my mom prayed for me…ever. At all. That would be amazing.”

Knowledge of others that regularly pray for them, gives emerging adults confidence and encouragement in their lives.  Here are some things that they requested for their parents to pray for.

 1.  Expectations

“Patience. Always. There are so many new things in life that happens, so patience to wait it out when we want or are waiting on something and contentment when things don’t work how  we planned/imagine them being.”

“For God’s will in my life above my own expectations.”

“that I would walk in contentment no matter what is going on around me.”

 2.  Their Ministry or Service to Others

“Especially our ministry.  I would LOVE that.”

3.  Decision-making

“I would like prayer about the things happening in my life and decision-making.”

4.  Identity Formation

“One thing would be that they would pray I continue to strengthen my identity in Christ and use that as motivation to love others in my day.”

 5.  Relationships

“To pray God’s will in my life. Specially pray for the chapter of engagement and marriage.”

“I want my parents to be praying that I know Christ more intimately each day, that my marriage would be strong.”

Hands in prayerYou took the time to read the article – (which probably took you about 60 seconds).  Now take the time to put it into action.  Go back through the five topics, and pray for your children.  If you don’t know what they are facing in these areas, then make a point to ask them.

Let your emerging adults know you are praying for them.  They can refuse your help, ignore your wishes, and resent your advice, but they cannot stop your prayers.

Prayer is always an option.  And just as a reminder, it is the BEST one.