BIRMINGHAM (Neisha Roberts) — I woke up extra early that fourth Wednesday in September to make my way to Falcon Middle School by 7 a.m., situated just off Highway 24 on the golden-yellow plains of Colorado. I was ready to participate in my first See You at the Pole (SYATP).
As my dad dropped me off, I hopped out of the car and made my way to the circle that was forming around the school’s flagpole. Several students from different grades were gathered. We huddled close together and grabbed hands. We prayed for our state, our school, its staff and students and for that day to be all about God and glorifying His name.
“Amen,” I said aloud, recognizing what a privilege it was to freely pray in public at my school. The whole prayer time was “ours.” Just students gathered together. It brought with it a sense of accomplishment, freedom, honor and responsibility. We may have been young but we took a stand for our faith and learned the importance of prayer along the way.
Eighteen years later, Sept. 23 marks the 25th annual SYATP, a student-initiated, student-organized, student-led event that started with just 10 students in Texas in 1990 who wanted to pray for their school and make a global impact. In 25 years the movement has grown to see more than 3 million students participate in more than 20 countries, including all across the United States.
With the theme “UNITED,” pulled from Acts 1:14, SYATP 2015 encourages a time “to commit to global unity in Christ and prayer for this generation,” said Matt Wilson, executive director of First Priority Greater Birmingham, an Alabama sponsor and coordinator of SYATP, who estimates 25,000–30,000 people will participate in Alabama this year.
“We are encouraging students, school faculty, families, businessmen and women, everyone, to unite together as a community in prayer for our nation,” he said.
SYATP coincides with the annual Global Week of Student Prayer (Sept. 20–26), where people are encouraged to find new and unique ways, places and times to pray in groups throughout the week for the world, community leaders, schools, staff and families.
To learn more about SYATP, go to syatp.com.