When I was in 9th grade I remember looking for the flag pole to go to this new event on my school's campus. Our student ministry had been shown videos, posters and T-shirts, promoting a day of prayer. It was to be lead by students, who were concerned for fellow students spiritual status, teachers and their nation. We met. We prayed. We went to class. This continued for my next four years of High School.
Some how and in some time, now things have changed. Bands started showing up. Mass loads of donuts and OJ. Sound systems bumping religious music. Youth pastors began 'sharing'. Lots of fellowship. Lots of surprised looks on faces from SOME students that OTHER students show up. Occasional heckling from non-believers. And if there is time, prayer happens.
Two years ago, I was asked by a SYATP leadership team, "can you bring donuts and a sound system?" Which I obliged along with some other student ministries. Being asked to be there at a certain time, I promptly arrived. To my amazement, I was the first one there. The leadership arrived 10 minutes late. There was no urgency for the time of gathering students to pray. My though is, somewhere along the road, non-students, stepped in, gave too much advice, support and ideas and thus, the pushing out of the original focus of the day, a student led, student initiated day for prayer.
Last year, I happened to be out of town, but did provide an intern to supply with a sound system. This year, I have decided to treat SYATP differently and have communicated to several of my high school students, why they may not be seeing me that day among the student population as I have been in the past, with several other youth pastors.
I am challenging other student pastors and leaders to step back and allow SYATP return to a very raw organic form of student initiated prayer. To encourage students to not turn this event into a mimic of a Wednesday Night Student Ministry Service, or an extension of the campus's religious club. I will support them and encourage them, before and after SYATP and every day following. I will encourage them to step up, practice Christlike living (Philippians 4:8-9), living a life that in ALL ways would point to Christ. But THEY still have to be the ones to stand up and do it; on their campuses, in the heat of the battles, in the face of temptations and various persecutions. No amounts of donuts, breakfast bars, milk or OJ is going to help. What will help? Prayer.
If you are a student pastor, if you are a leader of students, if you are a student who is a leader, if you are a parent, please consider the ultimate reason for See You At The Pole. -Prayer. Student Pastor and Parent, possibly, should you step away from current expectations to make SYATP just another EVENT where we try to get as many kids to show up as possible and awkwardly pray for a quick moment? Or should we hope that this day becomes a moment in time, when students, concerned about the glory of God, showed up to pray and plea with God for His Spirit to move in a life changing way in their lives and on their campus.
Below is a brief list that a student at SYATP may find helpful for them to have a focused time of prayer with other believers. In no way is it exhaustive. Parents and Student Leaders, consider providing your children or students with such a list and encourage them to be spiritual leaders on their campus', leading other students in a time of prayer.
-pray that God's glory be known on your campus this year
-pray for fellow Christian classmates (that they will grow in their Christian walk, boldness to speak out about their faith, that they will lights in a dark world)
-pray for fellow Christian teachers (that they are able to live out their faith, to encourage students, to be a model of a Christ follower)
-pray for fellow Christian administrators (that they remain true to their faith in the daily struggles of their jobs)
-pray for students who will hear the message of the Gospel this school year
-pray for the message of the Gospel to be heard and understood, that the Holy Spirit will have freedom to move in lives
-pray for the seniors who will be moving on
-pray for the new students who have moved to our community
-pray for the international student who is trying to adjust to life in a new culture and language
-pray for the police officers who serve on the campus
-pray for the other school campuses
-pray for parents and families
-pray for those students who will face tragedy this school year
-pray for yourself (that you will move when God tells you to move, that you will have eyes to see those hurting around you, that you will pursue God's glory in all parts of your life)
(I just want students and other leaders to consider the purpose of what happens on the fourth Wednesday of September each year on campuses all over the world. To revisit the idea of it being a meeting of praying people.)
I recently saw an article titled, "What can happen when we see people the way God does?" Turns out it is a book with the title. But when I saw the title it immediately caused me to think...what if we saw ourselves the way God does.
I know there are areas in all of our lives that we keep hidden and secret. Areas that we would all be embarrassed if brought to light. Areas that we all would love to leave in our past and have victory over. We all have parts of our lives where we'd love to be strengthened; whether it be faith, passion for lost, or boldness with our faith, just to name a couple.
Have you ever considered the thought, why don't I see myself the way God sees me? Timidity, fearfulness, faithlessness, and selfishness are all obstacles that we allow to stand in our way in our full-on embraced life of living for God, in the pattern of Christ. I do believe that God does see us as timid, fearful, faithless and selfish. However, it is because we ARE living that life.
When we come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we change! We move from darkness to light. He sees us as his own, as His child. But we allow ourselves to stay stuck in the muck of our world and so easily forget that we are changed. We forget that we have been transformed. We forget that we are dead to sin. We forget that we are new creation. Check out the list below (borrowed: Freedom in Christ Ministries) and realize your identity in Christ...that is if you are a Christian. This is how HE sees you. Will you today, start seeing yourself the way God see you?
If you are a person who is without Christ, you are seen as lost, apart from a relationship with God. (Want to know more?)
I am accepted...John 1:12 I am God's child. John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 I have been justified. 1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God. 1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ's body. Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child. Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. Colossians 2:9-10 I am complete in Christ. Hebrews 4:14-16 I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.
I am secure...Romans 8:1-2 I am free from condemnation. Romans 8:28 I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances. Romans 8:31-39 I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed and sealed by God. Colossians 3:1-4 I am hidden with Christ in God. Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me. Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven. 2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. 1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
I am significant...John 15:5 I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life. John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 I am God's temple. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God. Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm. Ephesians 2:10 I am God's workmanship. Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
Christ Follower, Husband, Father, Student Pastor, and Lover of all things Garlic and Bacon.