Students rally for global prayer event
Local youth gathered at Community Covenant Church in Eagle River on Sunday, Sept. 20 for a rally in advance of the following week’s See You at the Pole events.
The events were started in 1990 when a handful of teenagers from Burleson, Texas, gathered to pray at their local public school. The events, held around the flagpole on public school grounds under the American flag, has since grown to include about 3 million students from more than 20 countries praying annually before school at their local flagpoles for their friends, families, schools and nations, according to the SYATP website, www.syatp.com.
About 147 middle and high school students representing seven local schools and homeschooling programs participated in the rally to build anticipation for SYATP.
“I see great value in youth who follow Jesus seeing how big their family is,” said Mike Alverts, CCC’s high school and young adult director.
“The pre-event rally is really a hope to strengthen relationships, build connections and to provide some level of motivation for students to participate in the prayer time on their campuses.”
Youth groups from CCC, The Crossing in Chugiak and Alliance Christian Fellowship in Eagle River also participated in the event, allowing students to see how many others attending their schools also have similar beliefs.
“One of my hopes for students is to live a seamless and whole life,” Alverts said. “There’re certainly a lot of pressures to act differently to match the people we’re around. Often Christian students will live a fragmented life, having their ‘church life’ and their ‘school life’”
ACF Youth Pastor Josh Talbot said it can be difficult to not only represent your faith at school, but to have the courage to visibly pray in support of others at SYATP.
Eagle River High School freshman Keryl Korzan said prayer is important.
“I believe that there are a lot of people who really need to be prayed for,” Korzon said. “I know friends that have a lot of people at home who could really use Jesus in their lives to help them through the hard times.”
Others felt prayer could have a visible impact on schools.
“I might pray to see God work in the school in such a way that people from the outside looking in can see a difference in Eagle River High School,” said 17-year-old homeschooler James Bodolosky, who planned to pray alongside ERHS students at SYATP.
Students may find significance by publicly declaring their faith as well, Alverts added.
“I think one valuable experience for students is to identify with Jesus in front of others,” he said. “This is a pivotal experience for anyone who wants to live a whole life.”