Asbury University late Sunday said it would end the 24/7 prayer meetings that began with a regular chapel service Feb. 8 and turned the small Kentucky town of Wilmore into a global hub for Christians seeking revival.
Thanks to clips shared on social media, the events at Asbury drew global attention as well as streams of cars to downtown in search of a place to park their vehicles — and for a touch from God.
Officials cited the excessive parking demand and other overcrowding conditions as the reasons for the schedule change.
On Monday, the school in this town of 6,000 will host its last meeting in the Hughes Chapel at 2 p.m., and instead will have specific gatherings at regular times for students and the public to gather and pray.
That limited schedule of prayer meetings will wind down Thursday, the National Collegiate Day of Prayer, the school said.
“As we enter the third week of this renewal movement, our desire is to be faithful to our mission as a student-centric Christian University,” Kevin J. Brown, Asbury’s president, said in a statement.
He added, “We believe that the continued flourishing of such a movement invites us to commission our Asbury community, visiting students, and other campus guests from across the world to neighbor-serving, God-honoring work.”
Mr. Brown said the school had experienced a “historic moment” with the revival meetings that drew thousands including visitors, who had purchased one-way tickets to the rural outpost.
Between Monday and Thursday, the school will stream “limited portions“ of their on-campus services via www.Asbury.EDU/outpouring, in part because of the overcrowding in Wilmore.
Tom Phillips, an expert on Christian revivals who spent 13 years as vice president of crusades for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, told The Washington Times last week that the happenings at Asbury, which he said had a 70-year history of such spiritual events, was notable.
“This is just a genuine work of God, a deeper work of the Holy Spirit, working through individuals’ lives and changing them,” he said.
“The difference between 1970 and today is social media,” Mr. Phillips said.
He added, “The Bible is very clear two times it says it in Joel chapter two and Acts chapter two, that in the last days, God will pour out His Spirit on his people, which we see happening there. Secondly, he says it will be the younger generation who become the ones who tell the truth to the world. And that’s what’s happening [going out] from Asbury.”
Mr. Phillips, who said he worked with the late Billy Graham “a total of 38 years,” recalled the evangelist’s longtime prayer for revival, even as advanced age diminished Graham’s physical abilities.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful, since the whole world, in essence, lives in this country called America, if God’s love could touch every nationality, 200 plus, who live here that they would take that love back around the world,” Mr. Phillips said.