MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The governor of Alabama declared Friday to be the statewide ‘Day of Prayer Over Students Across Alabama,’ urging people of faith to lift up youth in the state in their prayers that they may live godly and honorable lives.
“Whereas Alabama students face extreme challenges, such as peer pressure to abuse drugs and alcohol, negative influences in the media, school violence and gang activities, and low self-esteem,” the proclamation issued by Governor Robert Bentley read, “… Alabamians are encouraged to pray for God’s protection, guidance and peace, and for opportunities and blessings on the students of Alabama.”
“And whereas that prayer be offered for our schools, teachers and administrators for God’s wisdom and knowledge as they impart to the students of our state the greatest lessons of life and morality, and the education that each student deserves,” it continued, “Now, therefore, I, Robert Bentley, Governor of Alabama, do hereby proclaim March 28, 2014 as [the] Day of Prayer Over Students Across Alabama.”
The proclamation is the ninth issued by the governor, as the first Day of Prayer Over Students took place in 2006. The occasion was launched by the group First Priority of Alabama, an organization that coordinates the Christian clubs that meet weekly before school and various prayer activities, such as “See You at the Pole.” Moms in Prayer also worked with First Priority to organize this year’s observance, which is held on the last Friday in March every year.
The groups urged Christians across the state to get involved in one or more activities, such as becoming a “prayer zone partner” by praying each time one drives past a school, planning a prayer vigil at church or organizing a prayer walk around their local school.
“We are thankful once again for the governor’s proclamation,” First Priority of Greater Birmingham Executive Director Matthew Wilson told AL.com.
“Praying for students is not just a privilege, it’s a necessity. They face an enormous amount of peer pressure to become part of what is considered normal by the world’s standards,” he said. “Without prayer, these students will not be able to stand against the insurmountable odds they will face from childhood until they leave this world.”
The organization states that thousands have participated in the Day of Prayer Over Students in years past. A tally has not yet been provided for Friday’s observance.
Governor Bentley, who issued the proclamation, is a Southern Baptist and serves as a deacon and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa. He has also served on the Youth for Christ Advisory Board, and was the 2009 recipient of the Christian Coalition of Alabama’s Statesmanship Award.
Photo: Southerland Boswell