Students across the United States and worldwide gathered in prayer Wednesday morning as ministry groups work to ensure that Christian outreach on school campuses lasts the whole year.
The 33rd annual See You at the Pole event held today was a student-organized "global movement of prayer."
Each year, students gather in a circle around their school's flagpole to pray together on the fourth Wednesday of September. Students can participate in elementary, junior high and high schools, as well as at universities worldwide.
Adults can also participate by praying at the same time at their work, church or at their local city hall.
The theme of this year’s See You at the Pole event was “Aflame,” specifically focusing on the Bible verse Romans 12:11-12 proclaiming, “Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive … PRAY!”
Student activists affiliated with the group Claim Your Campus hosted a livestream featuring prompts for participants in See You at the Pole to consider. They called on students to “turn this moment into a movement,” pointing to the ministry’s app and free campus prayer guide as tools to continue to “gather with your friends to pray for change in your school.”
Following each prompt, participants had 90 seconds to reflect in prayer. The first prompt asked students to “pray for what God is doing in us,” “receive God’s joy in our own hearts so that we may experience revival in our own lives” and “ask Jesus for a fire and passion so that we may surrender to what God has called each of us to do this year.”
After participants had a chance to reflect on the prompt, Aondover from Michigan led a prayer requesting that God will “fill us up with a fire and a passion for you.” He also prayed “that our schools will be changed” and that He “will give us boldness and courage this upcoming school year,” expressing a desire that “we may be as lights in our hallways, that we may be the salt of the Earth.”
The second prompt encouraged students to “pray around us for our schools.” Brayden from Kansas, who led the prompt, urged participants to “know that God is using you to be a light on your campus and a light to everyone that you meet.”
“Be patient as you pray for change [at] your school. God is working even when we can’t see it. Pray for all the things you want to see differently on your campus, entrust in God that it will happen in His time, not in your time,” he added.
Following a 90-second pause, Brayden prayed to God that everyone at “all the campuses, all the schools around our nation” will “just be filled with you and they will all come to know you.” Additionally, he prayed for “all of the tough things that people are going through in our schools, that it will just end” and that “all the struggles, all the depression, all the anxiety” will subside “because you will reign over our schools.” He concluded by reiterating his hope that See You at the Pole participants can “be a light in their school” sharing the love of Jesus with everyone.
The third prompt, led by Kristiana of New York, encouraged participants to “think of those who are sick, neglected, forgotten and unreached” and “continue to pray for what is going on in our world, our nation and our communities.” She also asked students to “think outwardly, pray big and pray without giving up because God has not given up on the world.”
Following the 90 seconds set aside for reflection, Kristiana offered a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s mercy, graciousness and goodness in addition to “the ability that we as believers have to come before you in prayer.” She prayed that God would intervene on behalf of those who “have yet to hear your Gospel,” requesting that He “change their lives as you’ve changed the lives of so many people.”
The annual event dates back to 1990, when a high school youth group in Burleson, Texas, felt compelled to go to the flagpoles at schools in their area and pray for their friends, schools and leaders. Shortly thereafter, youth leaders across the state envisioned simultaneous, student-led events at school flagpoles statewide. The first See You at the Pole event occurred on Sept. 12, 1990, with 45,000 teenagers at schools in four states participating.
The following year, the movement expanded to include approximately 1 million students nationwide. In the past 30 years, See You at the Pole has spread to 64 countries and about 1 million students take part each year.
While See You at the Pole does not have an official sponsor, the Baptist General Convention of Texas has the rights to the trademarked phrase “See You at the Pole” and Student Discipleship Ministries in Burleson, Texas, creates and distributes promotional materials for the event such as videos. The National Network of Youth Ministries handles media relations for the event.
See You at the Pole is not the only event held annually to encourage students to share their faith. Bring Your Bible to School Day, scheduled to take place on Oct. 6 this year, “empowers Christian students of all ages to speak God’s grace and truth into the culture around them, starting with two simple steps — bringing their Bibles to school and sharing what God’s word means to them.”
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org