An estimated million or more students in the U.S. and 63 foreign countries publicly gathered around school flagpoles on Sept. 28 and prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The annual See You At the Pole (SYATP) interdenominational Christian outreach was augmented this year with the launch of the I Am Hope outreach leading up to the Oct. 21 release of the film “I Am Not Ashamed.”
Private and public school students of all grade levels were encouraged to gather at their respective school flagpoles at 7 a.m. local time for prayer, and many have documented their participation on Facebook and Twitter.
In Oklahoma, many across the state participated in SYATP and posted photos of prayer gatherings on school grounds. There were groups of 100 students or more, and there were small prayer circles, but all desired to live out their faith.
At Northwest Classen High School in Oklahoma City, student pastors Chris Gulley and Tony Mullican met before sunrise with a group of young men who are hoping to make a difference at their school.
“We encourage our students to gather together and simply intercede for their school,” said Gulley who serves at Oklahoma City, Northwest, “to let this be kind of a catalyst, a rallying point to ongoing prayer, making sure it’s not just a once a year event, which is important, but an opportunity to birth a heart of prayer for this school.”
Gulley teams up with Mullican who serves at Oklahoma City, Portland Avenue to have weekly gatherings with Northwest Classen students to encourage them and help them find hope in Christ.
“We’ve seen a lot of young men who are hungry to follow Christ,” said Mullican, who sees SYATP as an important annual event for students. “(SYATP) gives students the opportunity to see other students in their school who are following Christ, who have a heart for praying for their school. Many times you feel like you’re they only one and no one else is following Christ, so you get to see kids from other churches who are believers and trying to battle for Christ in hard situations.”
The annual SYATP event grew out of a 1990 DiscipleNow weekend, when a small group of students prayed at flagpoles at different schools on a Saturday night. Inspired by the small event, youth leaders across Texas organized SYATP in 1990 and drew 45,000 students to prayer meetings in four states. By the next year, an estimated 1 million students gathered in prayer at flagpoles across the nation, according to the SYATP website.
The event does not violate U.S. laws against prayer in schools, as all prayer is student-led, before school hours and outside of any school building, according to the SYATP website. But the site encourages students to pray off campus if school administrators object to the event.