Students across the nation and around the world gathered at their school flagpoles on Wednesday for the annual ‘See You at the Pole’ day, a student-led prayer event that has been a much-observed tradition for over 20 years.
“See You at the Pole means to me a chance to get together and pray for our world and everything that is going on right now,” Camryn Johnston of Brownsboro High School in Athens, Texas told reporters. “There are a lot of things and struggles that we are going through right now. Being able to come together and glorify God through all of that is special to me.”
“Usually our biggest group is on this day of the year, and the fact that the whole world is doing it I find it pretty powerful to be connected to the world that way,” Silas Clymer of Meridian High School in Meridian, Mississippi, also remarked.
Attendance varied widely from school to school, with hundreds gathering at some locations, and just a few dozen at others. In Duncan, Oklahoma, an estimated 100 students, parents and school faculty gathered to pray at Empire High School, and in Marion, Ohio, approximately 60 students from Pleasant Middle School met before school to seek God.
At Oak Mountain Middle School in Birmingham, Alabama, an estimated 300 students prayed together, and over 60 students prayed at Mechanicsburg High School in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
Adult leaders stated that they were pleased in witnessing the youth’s desire to pray for their school, community, state and nation. But they outlined that the students also wish to put feet to their faith.
“To see the students have a desire to seek him and to truly want to follow Him is just really humbling and amazing,” Michelle West, teacher at Meridian High School and Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsor, told local television station WTOK.
“We have students who are wanting to raise money to send nets over to Africa, and actively wanting to hand Bibles to their fellow classmates, and they want to serve one another, and it is just an amazing experience to be on a campus where God is moving,” she explained.
“I have to go preach basically to this school because this school needs God,” Keyshawn Veail of Permian High School in Odessa, Texas told the Odessa American. “We’re in this time of revival, that we want God’s revival in this school. I believe this will start to happen.”
Peyton Neill, worship pastor at Central Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas, said that he believes the event helps to build boldness in the students.
“I think with them, it’s really important right now to be bold specifically with their faith, because that’s what it’s going to take for them to live a life of Christ as they grow older and get into the world,” he outlined.
“See You at the Pole” began in the town of Burleson, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth, and has since spread to all 50 states and 20 countries worldwide, including Canada, Australia, Japan and South Africa.
“A small group of teenagers in Burleson, Texas, came together for a DiscipleNow weekend in early 1990,” the event website explains. “On Saturday night their hearts were penetrated like never before, when they became broken before God and burdened for their friends. Compelled to pray, they drove to three different schools that night. Not knowing exactly what to do, they went to the school flagpoles and prayed for their friends, schools, and leaders. Those students had no idea how God would use their obedience.”
The gathering later was dubbed “See You at the Pole” by area youth leaders, and the concept of students praying around the flagpole was shared that summer during a large youth event. By September, over 45,000 students gathered to prayer for their friends, teachers and country.
The event has now grown to over three million participants. This year’s theme was “We Cry Out: A Generation Seeking Him.”