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Praying at the pole

Students in Suffolk next week will be gathering around the flagpoles before school to pray.

The annual See You at the Pole rally is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 24 at schools across the United States. See You at the Pole is a student-initiated and student-led movement that started in Texas in 1990. SYATP brings students to their school flagpoles before school to pray for their leaders, schools and families. In 2007, more than two million teenagers met for SYATP in all 50 states.

“We think that See You at the Pole is important because as believers, we want students to be looking around at their peers, their school, their environment, and do what they can to represent the love of Christ to their friends,” said Doug Clark, a spokesman for See You at the Pole, which is promoted by the National Network of Youth Ministries.

Clark said prayer is essential for students of all ages to connect with one another, especially at public schools.

“There’s something about the coming together in a spirit of unity that is just really powerful,” he said. “The world sees enough division in the church, and See You at the Pole represents not division, but unity around the call to prayer.”

Clark said students typically pray for their friends, their schools and school division, teachers, principals, and government officials, and upcoming elections at See You at the Pole. However, it is not restricted to just those subjects; people can pray for anyone or anything, silently or out loud, in groups or alone.

See You at the Pole began in 1990 when a small group of teenagers in Burleson, Texas, got together on Saturday night to pray. They were moved to drive to three different schools that night and gather around the flagpoles and pray for their friends, schools and leaders.

Later that year, the idea was shared with 20,000 students at a youth rally in Dallas, Texas. At 7 a.m. on Sept. 12, 1990, more than 45,000 teens met at school flagpoles to pray before the start of school.

A few months later, youth ministers from all over the country gathered together for a national conference in Colorado. They reported that their students had heard about the prayer movement in Texas and wanted to join in. On Sept. 11, 1991, at 7 a.m., one million students gathered at their flagpoles to pray. Since then, the movement has spread to all 50 states and more than 20 countries, including Canada, Guam, Korea, Japan, Turkey and the Ivory Coast.

Clark expects this year’s See You at the Pole to be especially powerful. Taking into account the upcoming elections, the ongoing war overseas, the hurricanes that have slammed the nation’s coasts and more, the power of prayer can be used to greater advantage, he said.

“Prayer honors a God who has infinite power,” Clark said. “God is eager to respond to us if we humble ourselves before him.”

For more information about See You at the Pole, visit www.syatp.com.