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See You at the Pole mobilizes parents in prayerwalks, daily prayer

Students gather to pray for their school during last year's See You at the Pole event. SYATP photo

SAN DIEGO (BP) – See You at the Pole is engaging parents in prayerwalking schools the weekends surrounding the Sept. 27 event to mobilize families in prayer year-round.

Organizers of the student-founded grassroots event have long hoped it would cement prayer as a daily family practice, spokesperson Doug Clark said.

“We have always been interested in having the moment of See You at the Pole move towards a movement of prayer,” Clark told Baptist Press. “We feel like that’s one of the most powerful legacies See You at the Pole can provide.”

Students across the U.S. and in several foreign countries will pray in groups at flag poles or other prominent sites on campuses at 7 a.m. local time Sept. 27.

In partnership with Claim Your Campus (CYC), one of dozens of groups supporting See You at the Pole (SYATP), a second weekend of prayerwalks is scheduled Sept. 30. Churches are also encouraged to prayerwalk schools, said Clark, who has served as a SYATP spokesman three decades as national field director of the National Network of Youth Ministries.

“We feel like that’s an ongoing challenge to congregations, to just take time to walk and pray for schools,” Clark said. “That adds preprayer for See You at the Pole and also offers supportive prayer for the ongoing mission trip that students are on as they spend nine months of their year on campus.”

Global Week of Student Prayer surrounds the event and continues through Sept. 30, encouraging students to find creative ways, places and times to pray.

SYATP, with high attendance estimated in the millions, continues to rebound from the global COVID -19 pandemic that moved the event online.

“We don’t pretend that during the COVID years,” Clark said, “that we had anywhere near the same number of people participating in See You at the Pole. But it has definitely rebounded since. Last year was significantly greater than 2021, and this year (the resource office) is running out of materials.”

Billy Beachum, SYATP office director and president Student Discipleship Ministries, said interest in event resources has rebounded faster than anticipated.

“We were up over 200 percent last year and another 35 percent this year,” Beachum told Baptist Press. “We aren’t completely to the level we were pre-pandemic, but since so much is done now through social media, etc., most places that do SYATP don’t really need us for anything. So much of the new growth we simply cannot measure. No matter what things we put in place for people to report, most won’t take the time to do it.”

SYATP grew from a 1990 DiscipleNow weekend in Burleson, Texas, when a small group of teenagers were burdened to pray for their friends onsite at several schools. The first annual event months later drew 45,000 students to school flagpoles in numerous states, quickly grew to include a million students in its early years, and has been observed in 66 countries.

SYATP participation has far surpassed founders’ anticipation, promoters said, with the event drawing widespread support. Church support and encouragement are vital to the movement’s success, Clark said.

“When students feel God calling them to represent Jesus every day as ambassadors at their school,” Clark said, “they’re on a nine-month mission trip.

“Our churches are very intentional about supporting missionaries on the field. I don’t think our churches do as good a job of supporting students on their mission field.”

He urges churches to support students in discipleship outreaches to fellow students, with free resources and tips available at syatp.com.

SYATP is celebrated annually the fourth Wednesday in September.