Short prayers make a difference, too

Published 2:36 am Saturday, September 20, 2014

Students across the nation and around the world will gather for prayer at their school flagpoles on Wednesday morning, Sept. 24, before classes begin.

Millions of them will join hands and hearts to pray for their friends, teachers, schools and nation. Students in elementary schools, middle/junior high schools, high schools, and colleges/universities participate each year.

“See You At The Pole,” described as a student-led, student-organized event, began in 1990 with a small group of teenagers in the Ft. Worth suburb of Burleson, Texas. They felt compelled to pray for their fellow students. The group took their idea to other schools in Texas and challenged 20,000 students at a youth rally in Dallas to pray at their schools.

The first year 45,000 students met at their flagpoles and the next year one million gathered to pray. Participation in the annual event has grown to more than three million students in all 50 states, in addition to students from 20 countries.

As their website states, “God used the obedience of a small group of teenagers to ignite what has become an international movement of prayer among young people.” SYATP “is still about students humbling themselves, turning to God, and interceding for their generation.”

This year’s theme, “Never Stop Praying, Especially For Others” comes from Ephesians 6:19a (CEV) “challenging and encouraging Christ’s followers to stand strong in the Lord and be His representatives to share the Good News of the Gospel.”

During the 10 to 15-minute event before school starts that morning, students who choose to attend are asked to pray for God to bring moral and spiritual awakening to their campuses and countries.

According to the San Diego-based National Network of Youth Ministries, who coordinates the promotion of SYATP, “Every year, we have seen this day serve as a springboard for unity among teenagers.”

Organizers say that “See You At The Pole” isn’t about which grade a student is in or what church he or she attends. It’s not a political rally or a stand for or against anything. It’s about coming together to pray.

Facing the peer pressure to try alcohol and drugs, students need prayer to stand strong against temptations to these addictions – not just through their own prayers. This generation of young people needs our prayers too. Most of their music tells them to be promiscuous – risking STD’s and HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancies. Some songs, movies, and video games encourage violent behavior.

“The greatest thing anyone can do for God and for man is to pray,” writes author S.D. Gordon. Someone once said, “Don’t underestimate two minutes with God in prayer.” On Wednesday morning, Sept. 24, when students gather to pray around their flagpoles, let’s join our hearts with them and pray for our children, their teachers and their schools.


Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist. She can be reached at