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See You at the Pole marks 24 years

NASHVILLE (BP) — An estimated 3 million or more elementary through college Christian students gathered at flagpoles on campuses across the United States and many foreign countries Wednesday (Sept. 24) to pray for moral and spiritual awakening for their schools and communities.

“See You at the Pole” marked its 24th year. The global prayer meeting was held on campuses preferably at 7 a.m. local time. Last year event organizers added Global Week of Student Prayer to the event, set this year Sept. 21-27, to accommodate schools closed or engaged in other events on the 24th.

Founded in 1990 by a group of students from Burleson, Texas, the student-led event seeks to encourage students to continue in prayer and ministry as a lifelong discipline, event promotion coordinator Doug Clark told Baptist Press.

“What it is intended to be is about prayer and humbling ourselves before God, but in a united way,” Clark said. “The uniqueness of See You at the Pole is its students from all different backgrounds, different churches, who come together and then can dream together in this attitude of prayer — ‘God what would you have us to do next?’

“What we hope is that See You at the Pole is a launching pad for students being missionaries to their campus,” he said. “What it’s not intended to be is a demonstration, a show of faith — because Jesus condemns that in Matthew 6 — or an exercise of free speech.”

Never Stop Praying is this year’s theme, based on Ephesians 6:18. Students are also praying for individual friends, students and family members, indicated by posts to the event’s Facebook page and on Twitter, at #NeverStopPraying and #SYATP. Those posts, along with the individual reports Clark has received, indicate participation in all 50 states, Guatemala, Turkey, Canada, Australia and Berlin, Germany, Clark said. Many students have committed to pray every day of the week.

The grassroots nature of the event discourages an exact participation account, Clark said, but the Global Week of Student Prayer has allowed more students to observe the event this year.

“Having the Global Week of Prayer allows for flexibility,” Clark said. “In fact that worked real well for us with the DR, because the Dominican Republic had a holiday yesterday. This is their day today [Sept. 25] and they’re observing it. The Global Week has worked well for us.”

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. Participation has continued to grow, Clark said.