First Posted: 9/24/2014
Backpacks, Krispy Kreme boxes and Bibles lined the front lawn by the flagpole at Abington Heights High School around 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 24, as students of various Christian denominations gathered to unite in prayer. A circle formed as more people arrived, the group growing to over 40 people.
Just a half hour before, a similar scene unfolded at the middle school, with between 50 and 60 students in attendance for the annual See You At The Pole (SYATP) prayer event.
Eighth-grade students Bryan Barlow and Jeffrey Barlow and seventh-grader Joshua Roselle said, for them, the event is about gathering with others in their school who share their faith in God.
“Everyone can come together and pray with people they know,” said Bryan, “and hopefully become better friends with them.”
Anna Brock, eighth-grade, likes the event because it is “a way to pray for all the things that you love and pray for your school.”
SYATP, according to its website, syatp.com, began in 1990 with a small group of teenagers in Burleson, Texas, who were “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.”
Today, millions of students around the world gather for this student-run event at their local schools.
Students at both Abington Heights Middle School and High School first prayed in a large circle at their respective flagpoles, then split into smaller groups to pray for more specific or personal requests. The students prayed for everything from a win in the upcoming field hockey game, to wisdom for the school administrators, to courage for American leaders. They also thanked their God for the beauty of the day, their friends and the opportunity to meet together.
Phil Gattorna, the student leader who organized the AHHS event, said SYATP is a reminder to leave everything up to God, as it’s all in His hands to begin with.
The high school junior jas participated in the event every year since he was in fifth grade.
“We believe,” he said, “that prayer can make a huge impact.”