On any other day, it would be nearly inconceivable for me to wake up at 6:30 a.m., get ready and walk down to Schimmel in the rain. But not Wednesday.
What was so special about Wednesday?
It was the morning I would meet God at a flagpole. Or rather, huddle around the entrance of Schimmel, seeking refuge from the liquid sunshine. Perhaps it seems strange that anybody in their right mind would weather the Oregon morning drizzle to keep a date with God, but I was not going to stand Him up.
As an awkward 7th grader, I woke up early on September 26, 2007, and made sure that I was at my school’s flagpole ready to greet my friends. I sent instant messages to all my Christian friends on MSN Messenger leading up to the “big day” and had been telling everyone about it at school.
When only a small handful of students joined us to pray around the flagpole, I was disheartened. I had worked so hard to make “See You at the Pole” successful at my school. I even sent a letter to the principal to let him know what we would be doing and invited him to join us. I thought I had done everything right.
Fast forward to my sophomore year of high school. SYATP fell during homecoming week. At first, this was really exciting to me! We would get to celebrate and have a special time of prayer for our school in the same week. However, a turn of events early Monday morning would drastically impact the rest of the week.
A student at my high school had committed suicide on campus early Monday morning. What was supposed to be one of the most spirited weeks of the school year soon became the darkest and most challenging week.
How does a school community respond when a “church kid” commits suicide? What else could we do but show the love of Christ to the rest of our school?
Over 300 students, nearly one-third of our student body, participated in SYATP that Wednesday. Many people asked if we were praying because of the student who took his life. This opened many doors for us to be able to tell people about the One who could comfort their broken spirits and, if I may say, pick up the pieces of our shattered school.
After not participating in SYATP for my last two years of high school or last year here at Corban, I really began to miss it. I was tired of knowing that millions of students from all around the world had spent their morning calling out to Jesus to move in their schools and communities, and I spent my morning sleeping. Couldn’t I wake up early for just one morning?
I have learned a thing or two since my 7th grade experience with SYATP. It does not matter the size of the group—it matters that Christ is glorified. Along the same lines, if I was organizing SYATP so that I could look good, it is probably a good thing that not many people came. I was, and perhaps still am, good at making things about myself.
Perhaps you slept through it, the rain scared you off, or maybe you just forgot. That is okay. When we get to heaven, I don’t think God will tally every time we ruined the school landscape around a flagpole to call out to Him. That is not what it is about. All SYATP is about is a time for students to gather together and pray over their schools. It is not about making anyone seem “holier than thou.”
This year I was determined not to miss SYATP, so I found people to hold me accountable. I am glad I did because God, who is faithful, revealed Himself to me.
The theme of SYATP this year was, “Never Stop Praying.” Ephesians 6:18a says, “Never stop praying, especially for others.” (CEV) I did not realize how desperately I needed this reminder. It is easy to pray for ourselves and for tangible issues for others. But how often do I pray that God would move in the hearts of the people around me?
As a new youth director, I find myself constantly thinking about my students and how it is that I can play a role in their lives. God hit me upside the head Wednesday morning and reminded me that I need not think about what I can do, but rather pray without ceasing for Him to move in their lives.
As prayer time began on Wednesday morning, Kelsea Banks, ASB Ministries Coordinator, shared a suggested list* of what and who we can be praying for. We prayed for our school, for the schools around us, our administration, our student body, as well as for our nation and government officials.
Following this time of prayer was a time of worship led by David Beeghly, a Farrarian RA, and his guitar. Music is one of my favorite ways to connect with God, and as we sang “At Your Name,” I could not help but think once again of the millions who had been crying out to Yahweh because we recognize that He is worthy to be praised.
We concluded the morning’s time of worship with sweet fellowship with one another.
(There was also hot cocoa, apple cider, and donuts provided by ASB. Who knows, maybe next year they’ll serve bacon! One can hope, right?)
If you missed the 7 a.m. time of prayer, below is the list of suggestions for prayer that Banks provided. Go and do what Paul has taught us to do: never stop praying.
– United States
– President Barak Obama
– Governor Kitzhaber
– Mayor Peterson
– Middle East conflict
– Faculty here at Corban
– Local schools (Willamette, Chemeketa, Western, UO, OSU, etc.)
– Local Christian schools (Warner Pacific, George Fox, New Hope Christian, Northwest Christian, etc.)
– Friends and family