Students met Wednesday, Sept. 28, outside at school flagpoles throughout the world to come together and pray during the 'See You At The Pole' (SYATP) Rally. There were 60 students, teachers and adults who attended the student led prayer service at California High School with another 25 who attended at California Middle School.
Carl Edwards, a youth pastor at Lebanon Baptist Church, McGirk, has attended the event for several years. He said the event started in Texas with a group of students who attended a Bible study and wanted to make a change at their school. The student-led prayer service has continued on for over a decade. Edwards said the event went really well.
"We saw students really make a stand for Christ today," Edwards said. "What they did really meant a lot. I have said for years this area is on the brink of revival and I think it is going to start with the youth. They are growing and I'm seeing genuine leaders step up who will make a change in this area. The more SYATP is out here and established the more some of the young students will step in and grow as leaders."
Alyssa Wright, a junior at California High School, has been involved with SYATP since her sixth grade year. She said it is important to her because she feels the students are showing people they do not have to be ashamed of their faith in Jesus.
"We can all unite," Wright said, "pray for our school and show people there is a way and Jesus is there. People do not have to be scared or ashamed or worry people will judge them."
She felt the event went well and was happy with the turnout. During the school day, Wright said the prayer service and the bracelets they wore marking the event led to several conversations with other students.
"I did not go to a single class where I did not have around five people asking me about SYATP," Wright said. "People would see us with our bracelets and would ask where we got them and we would tell them about SYATP and encourage them to go next time."
Wright said it was great to see teachers praying with and supporting them as well. By seeing teachers come out and show their faith, Wright said it could lead to students having adults at the school they know they can relate to on a spiritual level.
"If I have questions," Wright said, "I could go to them and not feel weird or worry they would say things like they are not a Christian and do not know what I am talking about. It was also convenient having them out there because we did not have to worry about time because they were watching the clock too."
Having teachers there was great, but Wright said it really is helpful the students are leading it, as other students do not feel the pressure to have to pray. She added in the future she would like to see the event eventually be held each month or grow to such a size it would have to be moved.
"It is awesome," Edwards said. "Corporate prayer and prayer of agreement are the most powerful thing the Lord promised to us. When He said where two or more are gathered in My name, I am there. That is exciting, and to see the youth come together and be a part of that is a good thing."
In the future having things like juice and donuts sponsored by local groups such as the Kiwanis could be a possibility.
"I would say do not be ashamed," Wright said. "It is not something to be ashamed about. It is actually really fun. You go and make connections with people who you may have never thought were Christians in your school. And then you see the example in others and you can start conversations where it is not awkward or inconvenient. Because there are conversations you can start around SYATP."
For more great stories and photos check out issues of the California Democrat.