72 hour Fountain Mall worship nights continue online

FM72, an annual 72 hour prayer and worship event traditionally held on Fountain Mall will continue online and through Zoom calls in compliance with social distancing guidelines. Lariat File Photo

By Jordan Davidson | Reporter

FM72, which stands for Fountain Mall 72 hours, is a revival movement hosted by students, churches and other volunteers with the mission statement of “pursuing the heart of God at the heart of campus.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, student volunteers and organizers from churches and ministries across Waco will host worship nights through Zoom calls on April 13 through April 15 at 8 p.m. CST and 24 hour prayer breakout rooms that can be accessed through links on the FM72 website or social media.

“The hope is that God would give us his spirit of revelation like in Ephesians 1:17,” Drew Humphrey, college pastor at Highland Baptist Church and one of the event’s organizers, said. “We are defined by many things, but we are most defined by our faith in Jesus.”

According to the website, the idea for FM72 first began after college ministry leaders and pastors were inspired by a similar movement held on campus in the 1940s. In this first movement, Baylor University students prayed for “90 straight days in the spring of 1945.”

The effects of this revival reportedly stretched from “Texas, the South, and even as far as Hawaii and helped develop ministries like the Journeyman mission program and the Passion Conference.”

Last March, many students gathered to participate in activities like worship, prayer, sermons and mission outreach on Fountain Mall after a student involved in Baptist Student Ministries at Baylor had the idea for another revival during a prayer session in Elliston Chapel.

“We had no budget. We had no kind of game plan. We were just working together, bringing our loaves and fishes and the little bits that we had and it was amazing,” Dr. Charles Ramsey, director of Baptist Student Ministries, said. “We all loved it. We all looked back and said that was one of the best parts of the year for us.”

In addition to worship services, the group created 24-hour prayer tents devoted to different areas of peoples’ lives and areas around the world.

“One of the things that became really clear was that we all have a lot of great opportunities to attend worship because there are some great churches in our city and some great ministries,” Ramsey said. “But we need to be this generation that doesn’t just attend. We need to do something because we’re a generation that’s going to do something.”

Waco sophomore Greer Rutt said that FM72 last year presented her with opportunities to build her faith and share spiritual moments with fellow Christians.

“I remember [there was] a whole line of girls just waiting to get their confessions out there and saying ‘this sin has no power over me in Jesus’s name,’” Rutt said. “Girls were laughing and crying, and it was unlike anything I had ever seen. You could feel chains and prisons crumbling down that night. It was beyond beautiful; it was a holy moment.”

Rutt said she is sad that she won’t be able to physically attend this year’s event, but is looking forward to everything that FM72 has in store.

“I am a little sad because doing [FM72] in person was so powerful and wild, but I refuse to believe that God is limited by the number of miles we are away from each other,” Rutt said. “I think our communities will figure out a way to create a sense of togetherness in all of this.”

Although the event will be held virtually this year, Ramsey said that the main mission stays the same.

“I think students can also be ministers of the gospel in their homes and I think that’s better than just being in the tent,” Ramsey said. “I think we’re gonna see just kind of a ricochet effect of parents drawing close to their kids, the kids drawing close to their siblings and their parents, and everyone pointing each other back to the fact that we need the Lord and the Lord is good.”