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Record numbers of teens gather for SYATP school prayer rallies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Initial reports indicate record numbers of students turned out for the 15th annual See You at the Pole prayer rallies at schools across the world Sept. 15.

They got up early to join some peers in taking a stand for Christ at 7 a.m. in front of their schools, while hoping other peers would notice and see a difference in their lives.

“It’s to witness to friends,” Lauren Liggett of Carthage Senior High School in Joplin, Mo., told The Joplin Globe about why she gathered at the flagpole.

“All of us really want to see our school go out and win the world for Christ,” Jamie Gibson, a senior at Joplin High School, told The Globe.

During the past 14 years, millions of teenagers worldwide have circled around flagpoles for See You at the Pole, taking the opportunity to intercede for their friends, their schools, their countries and prominent issues in the world today. Some pray silently, some aloud. Most sing worship songs as well.

“Ascend: Clean Hands. Pure Heart” was the theme for this year’s rally, based on Psalm 24:3-4, which explains that only those with “clean hands and a pure heart” may enter into God’s presence, describing that place as “the hill of the Lord” or “His holy place.”

See You at the Pole began with a group of students in the Fort Worth suburb of Burleson, Texas, and has grown into a worldwide movement coordinated by the San Diego-based National Network of Youth Ministries.

Final totals for this year’s participation are not available yet, but last year the event drew more than 2 million teens in all 50 states and on six continents.

The See You at the Pole website, www.syatp.com, has set up a forum for reporting what God has done at rallies this year. Reports will be posted on four consecutive Fridays beginning Sept. 17, according to the site.

“The morals of our nation continue to spiral downward at alarming rates,” the site says. “How long will people continue to seek their own ways and live life without God? Will your generation be the one that will cry out to God for your families, friends and classmates to return to Him?

“Don’t simply go through the motions at your SYATP this year. With clean hands and a pure heart, determine to be a part of this mighty movement in your generation!” the site says.

More than 250 students gathered at Burleson High School to pray, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Many wore T-shirts that read, “Get Clean, Get Pure, Get Climbing. See You at the Pole 2004.”

“I hope people will see that we are different and, hopefully, we’ll see a change at the school,” Galan Hughes, the student leader at the Burleson meeting, told the Star-Telegram. “What happens is there’s a spiritual change in the people who are praying, which results in a physical change in the way they live. And then there’s a cultural change in the people around them because they want to jump on the bandwagon.”

Doug Clark, a national spokesman for See You at the Pole, told the Star-Telegram the remarkable turnout at rallies through the years is a credit to God.

“The only explanation is that God wants to raise up students to pray because I don’t think we can humanly create an event to get students out of bed that early in the morning,” he said.

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