Students from around the world gathered around their school flagpoles this morning to pray. It’s an organized effort called See you At The Pole…and organic prayer movement that began in Texas over 20 years ago.
This year, my kids didn’t go. And I’m OK with that.
If you’ve read back issues of this blog or my latest column in Group Magazine, you know that I see issues with the way SYATP has morphed in the past ten years. You also know that I wholly place the blame for that derailment at the feet of well-intentioned youth workers. That said, I have always designated a generous portion of my budget and ministry-calendar to promote SYATP. I have relentlessly encouraged my students and my own children to participate. An opportunity to pray is never a wasted moment, regardless of how youth pastors have hijacked the effort.
This year, I let my children sleep in. Encouraging students to gather around the pole one day a year does not make them ‘warriors for Christ’ or bastions of faith. It’s the students who walk their halls daily – praying for, loving, and serving their friends in the name of Jesus – who are the revolutionaries. Anyone can show up 30 minutes early, once a year, for doughnuts and a show. (And if you’ve been to a SYATP event in the last few years – you know how true that statement is.)
That’s not to insinuate in any way that kids who are showing up at the pole have ulterior motives or are, in some way, less than spiritual or righteous. Many Godly students spent this morning honestly interceding – and I love that.
I wish more students were making a decision to pray – at the pole or anywhere else at any other time – without the show, promotion, or pretense. And I have to wonder if more of them would if youth workers were promoting that lifestyle as seriously and intentionally as they do efforts like SYATP.