On Wednesday, September 27, a million students gathered around flagpoles at their schools for the annual See You At The Pole event. During a time when our country is experiencing extreme division, there is one main thing that Christians are turning to: prayer.
See You At The Pole (SYATP) was started as a global initiative to rally students for prayer. Every year, the SYATP organization reveals a specific theme, and millions of students gather around their flagpoles at school to pray and seek God.
SYATP works in conjunction with The Global Week of Student Prayer. This year, Sunday, September 24 - Sunday, September 30 is dedicated to prayer and encouraging students to find ways to activate their faith throughout the school week.
This year's theme is "Fix Our Eyes," based on Hebrews 12:2. It says, "Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God," (ESV).
Doug Clark, the national field director for the National Network of Youth Ministries, a ministry highly involved with SYATP, discussed the significance of the theme. He told the Christian Post that the theme is in response to the many distractions that students face throughout their days.
He said, "Like those who were following Christ in the first century, there are plenty of distractions for students and adults: political and cultural conflict, the recent hurricanes, and much more. Only as we 'Fix Our Eyes' on Jesus will we find peace and have the opportunity to be a part of the solution instead of the problems in our country and world."
While SYATP has been an ongoing tradition in many public and private schools since 1990, it has faced several legal battles, especially at its inception. In 1995, the American Civil Liberties Union concluded that the event is in fact constitutional.
The ACLU said, "Student participation in before or after school events, such as 'See You At The Pole,' is permissible. School officials, acting in an official capacity, may neither discourage or encourage participation in such an event."
Clark said that while legal challenges consistently rise up, he and the other organizers are adamant about helping students and officials understand their rights. He said that the U.S. Dept. of Education has officially recognized SYATP as "a legitimate expression of protected free speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution."
As a country, we should all "Fix Our Eyes" on Jesus. Through prayer, we can align our perspective with God's and understand how to proceed in the world with love. It is inspiring to see this tradition continue to grow.
What do you think about this? If you love seeing students gathering around our country's flag to pray, share this on Facebook! For a breaking news story, read our latest article about the NFL former quarterback and current General Manager who just released a statement about standing up for the flag.