SAN DIEGO (BP) -- Students in more than 60 countries are anticipated to pray in schools Sept. 25 at numerous See You at the Pole (SYATP) events and during Global Week of Student Prayer Sept. 22-28.
"If ... ," this year's theme drawn from II Chronicles 7:14, encourages students to find new and unique ways, places and times to pray throughout the week, and to pray in groups at 7 a.m. local time Sept. 25 at school flag poles.
The 29th annual event birthed from a student-led DiscipleNow prayer movement in Burleson, Texas, encourages disciplined prayer among public, private and homeschooled students, event coordinator Doug Clark said in promoting the event.
"See You at the Pole is a 'moment,'" said Clark, national field director of National Network of Youth Ministries in San Diego. "We hope adults and students will consider turning that moment into a movement by praying every day."
Joel Smallbone of the Grammy Award-winning pop music duo For King & Country encourages students to organize SYATP events, recommending a downloadable planning guide among numerous free resources available at SYATP.com.
"One of the coolest things about prayer is what it does to us. It's so unifying," Smallbone said in a video posted at SYATP.com. "There's so much division so often in life, in school, in relationships, and prayer really unites our hearts, not only with God, but with each other.
"And that's why it's so important to have people there, to have a group there, because it's about praying together," Smallbone said, referencing Matthew 18:20.
SYATP partners with Claim Your Campus, a 10-year-old student-born movement that actively encourages daily student prayer in 1,000 U.S. schools, according to ClaimYourCampus.com. Clark encourages churches to promote the outreach this weekend with "Pray for Schools Sunday" during worship services Sept. 14-15, praying for students, educators and schools. Church resources are available at PrayForSchools.com.
Events are constitutionally protected, but students are encouraged to notify school officials in advance and to cooperate with school leaders. If SYATP causes any contention among school administrators, organizers encourage students to meet elsewhere. The event's website details students' rights and offers free legal advice from many, including Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Center for Law and Justice, and Advocates for Faith & Freedom.
SYAPT participation reached 3 million in its early years, Clark has said, but participation has leveled at a million annually. More than 100 groups and Christian ministries support SYATP, according to organizers.