Prayer is needed now in schools more than ever, organizers of an annual prayer event said as the initiative marked its 28th year in schools globally.
Students, faculty and staff across the globe converged around their campus flagpoles early in the morning for the annual See You At The Pole (SYATP) day of prayer. This year’s theme, “Broken,” focused on Ephesians 3:14, “I fall on my knees before the Father.”
See You at the Pole (SYATP), draws an estimated 1 million students.
“These are unprecedented and challenging times for students,” SYATP national coordinator Doug Clark said in a promotional Facebook video. “We all want a better future for our students, one that’s safe, positive and fair for all.
“Prayer is the first best thing we can do to make this happen,” said Clark, who is also national field director for the National Network of Youth Ministries.
The SYATP Global Week of Prayer extends from Sept. 24–28 and allowing more schools to participate. Fully within the law, SYATP encourages students to gather in Christian prayer at 7 a.m. local time around flagpoles before the start of the school day.
Billy Beachum, SYATP national coordinator, said the cooperative effort between SYATP and CYC is motivated by current events and the groups’ shared value and vision to see God’s love change schools.
“More than ever, students need to know that they are loved and that they matter to God,” Beachum said in the Facebook video. “Together we can show students that we care and that they are safe and supported at school. But most importantly, we can help each and every student know that there is a God who loves them.”
Both student-led events, SYATP grew out of a 1990 DiscipleNow weekend in Texas while CYC was birthed through an eight-student prayer meeting at the largest public school in Michigan in 2009, according to claimyourcampus.com.
“Now is the time to show students that we care,” founder Jeff Eckart likewise said on a Facebook video of CYC, working to engage students in daily prayer at all 67,000 middle and high schools in the U.S. “We see a powerful path moving forward for change,” mobilizing students in “praying for grace, peace, justice and mercy…. See you at the Pole and Claim Your Campus complement one another, and we are thrilled to work together.”
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), one of more than 100 groups and Christian ministries supporting SYATP, provides legal help for students’ in expressing their religious rights.
Students “are taking a courageous and unpopular stand for their faith when they show up at their schools’ flagpoles in the morning to pray,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) representative Sarah Kramer in a blog. “But that is also the reason we have hope. These students are an example to all Christians. They are not shying away from proclaiming their faith and praying in public. They are a testament that their faith trumps their popularity.”
SYAPT participation reached 3 million in its early years, Clark has said, but participation has leveled at a million annually. Students in more than 60 countries have participated.
— CNJ staff report