Students across Alabama gathered at school early this morning (Sept. 28) for a time of prayer as part of the 32nd annual See You at the Pole student-led prayer observance.
“So very thankful for the opportunity to join with these students in prayer at the pole this morning,” Stephanie Adams of Oxford wrote on Facebook. “It blessed this momma’s heart to see this many young people … show up early before their school day starts, bow their heads in front of their peers and pray boldly to their heavenly Father for each other, for families, our nation and leaders, other countries, school faculty, and fellow students.”
The annual Global Day of Student Prayer is an effort to encourage students to take the lead in a prayer effort. All around the globe, in every time zone, an estimated one million students were expected to meet at their school’s flagpole or another place for a time of prayer for their friends, families, school, city, state and nation.
This year’s theme is “Aflame,” taken from Romans 12:11–12: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
‘Seeking the Lord’
“I love the theme of See You at the Pole this year because it is a reminder to never let our passion grow dim for earnestly seeking the Lord for our schools, city and community,” said Debi DeBoer, ministry director of First Priority Greater Birmingham. “Now more than ever, this generation needs to shine bright and be bold to share the hope of Christ that is within them. Jesus is our only hope to change our nation.”
First Priority Greater Birmingham helped provide resources for SYATP efforts in several communities in Central Alabama. First Priority is a national network of nonprofit youth organizations that support student-initiated, student-led Christian clubs on middle school and high school campuses. First Priority Alabama helps coordinate strategic partnerships of churches, ministers, businesspeople, educators, parents and students who are concerned about the moral and spiritual well-being of students in the state. Several Alabama communities have First Priority chapters.
First Priority students at Clay-Chalkville Middle School and Moody Elementary were among those participating in SYATP 2022.
But SYATP is a grassroots effort, with students leading the way, which is why it’s important that as the students are praying, parents and other Christian adults are praying for them too, said Doug Clark, national field director for the National Network of Youth Ministries.
“Students are in a post-pandemic mental health and spiritual crisis, and the body of Christ can do something about it,” he said. “That means prioritizing student ministry, coming alongside youth leaders to assist them, and praying fervently.”
Clark said See You at the Pole has more momentum this year than pre-pandemic (2019). SYATP engaged students and others with an online event in 2020 before returning onsite at schools and other venues in 2021.
Clark said his organization gauges interest in See You at the Pole by requests for resources, and “it’s been through the roof this year.”
“We have intentionally partnered SYATP with Claim Your Campus to encourage students to take the ‘moment’ of SYATP and make it a ‘movement’ of prayer for their schools,” Clark said.
Though SYATP is a one-day event, Clark said adults can join in the prayer effort on a regular basis by:
- Praying every time they drive through a school zone
- Gathering some other believing adults and prayer-walking a school in their community in the evening or on a weekend
- Engaging with students and teachers in the halls of their church on Sunday morning, asking how they can pray, and stopping to pray right on the spot. It’s a powerful encouragement to students and Christian teachers that they are treated as missionaries by their church body.
The See You at the Pole movement originated in 1990 with one youth group, meeting at night at several schools in the community during a weekend retreat in Burleson, Texas.
In addition to See You at the Pole, Sept. 25–Oct. 1 is the Global Week of Student Prayer during which public, private and home school students pray in unique ways, places and times throughout the week.
A 10-minute livestream will be available on the See You at the Pole website at 7 a.m. on Sept. 28 in every time zone. For more information and resources, visit syatp.com.