Statistics on church decline, especially among young people, can leave us feeling hopeless. But God is pouring out his Holy Spirit on students at a university in America right now, and on spiritually hungry young people across the world. Let’s pray for more, says Josh Green


Students kneel and pray at the altar at Hughes Auditorium at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. (Photo courtesy of The Asbury Collegian.)

Last week, on Wednesday 8 February 2023, the revival flame began to flicker once again at Asbury University, Kentucky, just as it did in 1970. During that time, revival fires swept across America and many thousands were won to Jesus. Asbury was a key location.

The morning of 8 February was meant to be business as usual. Students gathered to pray and worship as part of their usual rhythms. But, as the Holy Spirit started to invade the room, clearly God had other plans.

Eight days later, the students still haven’t left the room…and now others are coming from far and wide on trains and planes to experience it for themselves.

As I’m writing this, they’ve clocked over 100 hours and thousands of visitors. Reports of salvations and healings have been coming in by the hour and credible sources have authenticated them.

And the best part? No one knows who’s leading it.

Do it again

Just a few weeks ago, I came across an Instagram reel of YWAM’s Andy Byrd preaching. Highlighting the Jesus Movement – which was birthed amid national riots in the 1970s – he asked: “Amidst cultural chaos, could God be doing it all over again today?”

Just two weeks later, I began to read the reports of what God is doing at Asbury. Perhaps God answered Andy’s question with an emphatic, and rather speedy: “Yes!”

What God is doing in Asbury is both overwhelmingly wonderful and yet pleasantly unsurprising to me. After all, this is how the ministry I work for – the 24-7 Prayer movement – began almost 25 years ago: when a student-led prayer vigil went viral. Now, over two decades later, thousands of communities have taken part in 24-7 Prayer in churches, communities and cities in over half the countries on earth.

Hunger for more than the mundane has become a ticking time-bomb, just waiting for the flame of prayer to ignite it

So, hearing about Asbury is music to our ears. Just this past October, at our 24-7 Prayer Gathering in Belfast, we were crying out for God to spark a prayer movement in young people once again. As we scan the landscape, there are similar reports to those coming out of Asbury – and many of those are coming from the UK and Europe.

Gathered together

These reports carry the same common thread: young people gathering to pray and worship, the conviction of the Lord bringing large groups to tears, miracles breaking out, lost people being saved, and youth groups being refreshed and revived. And no one really knows who’s leading it…in some cases it’s the young people themselves.

At The Send in Norway, we saw almost 10,000 (mainly) young people gather to be sent out to preach the gospel. Thousands of students in Germany met to pray and worship this New Year with Revive Europe. In the UK, festivals like Dreaming the Impossible, Limitless, and Wildfires reported hundreds of young people coming to Christ. Across our 24-7 Prayer Youth gatherings up and down England, we’ve seen hundreds gathering to pray and worship.


The words I often find myself coming back to are simple: “God is on the move.”

It seems these days that God is on the move through movements rather than individuals. Nameless, faceless groups of young people who have no desire to be influencers but, instead, to make an impact for God’s kingdom, together.

But why now? Why this generation? The obvious answer is because we so desperately need it.

Meeting the need

Statistics highlighting changing demographics show severe church decline. And among young people, the situation could well be described as terminal. Youthscape claims 38 per cent of churches have no under 16s in their congregations, and 68 per cent have fewer than five young people. Attendance of this age group is declining faster than any other in the Church of England, and has fallen by 20 per cent in the past five years.

The latest census reports a large drop in those claiming to be Christian, while satanists have reported a rise in followers!

We need something to shock the system so that this generation can experience the life-changing power of God

So, why are Asbury, and some other youth gatherings around the world, bucking the trend?

I believe the fire of authenticity for real-deal moves of God, and hunger for more than the mundane has become a colossal ticking time-bomb, just waiting for the flame of prayer to ignite it.

It seems that those in Asbury got close enough to the flame of God’s presence for his fire to consume them. Long may it continue and may we all follow suit.

In the words of the founder of the 24-7 Prayer movement, Pete Greig: “What’s happening in Asbury is not everything, but it is something. Right now, we need something to shock the system so that this generation can experience for themselves the life-changing power of God. We need repentance and holiness. We need the kind of outpouring of the Spirit on campuses that can incubate and detonate a new generation to preach the gospel with greater confidence, fight injustice with greater defiance, and transform society with greater intelligence.”