For the last 25 years, an annual prayer event entitled "See You at the Pole" encouraged students to unite to ask God to intercede for their generation. This year's global prayer observation kicks off Sept. 28 at 7 a.m. local times. "We Cry Out" is the 2016 theme.
All around the globe, in every time zone, students will gather at nearby flagpoles, praying for their school, friends, families, churches and communities. See You at the Pole/SYATP began in 1990 as a grass roots movement with 10 students praying at their school in Burleson, Texas. Now, millions pray on their campuses on the fourth Wednesday each September.
Compelled to pray, the original 10 Texas students reportedly drove to three different schools that first night during a weekend youth group retreat. Not knowing exactly what to do, they went to the school flagpoles and prayed for their friends, schools, and leaders. One issue the teenagers were praying about was the spiritual health of their country and their leaders, in obedience to 1 Timothy 2:1-2. Hence, the location and name of the event. Those students had no idea how God would use their obedience, stated organizers. The global prayer movement now involves student in elementary schools, middle/junior high schools, high schools and colleges/universities.
A global week of student prayer is being held Sept. 25 through Oct. 1 to encourage students to find new and unique ways, places and times to pray throughout the week. It's a time designed to launch on-campus Bible clubs, prayer strategies, and student ministries, according to the organizers' website.
The Baptist General Convention of Texas, with headquarters in Dallas, Texas, owns the trademark for the See You at the Pole name and event. Student Discipleship Ministries in Burleson, Texas, creates and distributes the promotional materials and videos. And the San Diego-based National Network of Youth Ministries coordinates the promotion and media relations.
Supporters of the annual movement post online they enjoy reports coming from various geographies and discovering "there are many at my school who love God the way I do!" Often, the youth who find themselves initiate prayer times for their campus every day, weekly, monthly, and on other special occasions such as the National Day of Prayer (the first Thursday in May). Young people have started Christian clubs, Bible studies, or found other ways to function as the body of Christ at their school.
Many churches set aside the weekend before See You at the Pole to identify and pray for Christian teachers and students in their worship services. Some call this "Campus Challenge Sunday." Resources, including a "Challenge Sunday Tool Kit," are available from the Campus Alliance.
Adults can "pray ahead" by participating in Campus Prayer Journeys, meeting to walk and pray at "every elementary, secondary, and collegiate campus in the United States and Canada" on the night before See You at the Pole. Or one can go on "prayer drives," praying for schools as you drive past them.
Moms in Prayer is an international ministry of mothers meeting an hour a week to pray for the schools their children attend.