Students at Star City High School gather for See You at the Pole Sept. 27. SYATP encourages students to gather at their school flagpoles for prayer at 7 a.m. local time. Typically, many churches will host SYATP-related events in the evening, allowing students to share prayer reports from their individual schools.
Arkansas students pray during SYATP
View a photo gallery of SYATP events across Arkansas here
ACROSS ARKANSAS and the nation, tens of thousands of students – including many from Arkansas Baptist churches – participated in the 27th annual See You at the Pole (SYATP) event at public and private high schools, middle schools and elementary schools Sept. 27.
SYATP encourages students to gather at their school flagpoles for prayer at 7 a.m. local time. Other prayer events were also being held throughout Global Week of Student Prayer Sept. 24-30. Typically, many churches will host SYATP-related events in the evening, allowing students to share prayer reports from their individual schools.
In Arkansas, reports and photographs flooded in from across the state from youth pastors, other church workers and sponsors at local schools.
The Arkansas Baptist News received various reports from Dover, Murfreesboro, Ashdown, Jacksonville, Manila, Smackover, North Little Rock, Bergman, Sherwood, Star City, Camden and Rose Bud. View a photo gallery of SYATP events across Arkansas here.
Nearly 100 students and other participants were in attendance this morning for See You at the Pole at Star City High School in Star City, according to Lynda Greene. "After the prayer, several area churches, including Yorktown First Baptist and Star City First Baptist, teamed up to serve the students donuts, milk, orange and apple juice," Greene said.
"Donuts and juice were provided at both schools and Hebrews 12:2 was read," according to Glenda Riddle, student minister at First Baptist Church, Ashdown.
"We had a great time of worship and prayer this morning," was posted to Sherwood’s Abundant Life School Facebook page. "A big 'Thanks' to the senior class for helping plan this annual event. Our Lord was praised today as we were encouraged to 'fix our eyes upon Jesus.'" Abundant Life is a ministry of Sylvan Hills First Baptist Church.
A large group of students gathered at Rose Bud High School for the prayer event.
“The youth program HH5 at Rose Bud First Baptist Church helped sponsor the event which included worship in singing, praying and eating breakfast together,” said Becky Henry.
In Camden, Fairview High School gathered for prayer with many students from Cullendale First Baptist Church and Grace Baptist Church present, along with students from other area churches.
At Bergman High School in Bergman boys from the Arkansas Baptist Boys Ranch joined other students praying at the flagpole, according to Stella Prather of Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries.
SYATP promoter Doug Clark, national field director for the National Network of Youth Ministries (NNYM), expected students to pray especially for national unity this year, and for communities hit by hurricanes and earthquakes. Still, organizers avoid dictating prayer points, Clark said.
"I believe students will be praying about our culture wars, and also focusing on the areas of the U.S. (Florida/Texas), Puerto Rico and Mexico that are groaning right now," Clark said. "The theme this year is 'Fix Our Eyes,' from Hebrews 12:2. Our nation needs more than ever before to get our eyes off our divisions and fix them on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of faith."
While participation in SYATP reached as high as 3 million in the 1990s, Clark said, it has leveled to 1 million in more recent years and has included as many as 64 countries.
In Texas, where students organized the first SYATP a year after a 1990 DiscipleNow weekend, Butler still expected students to pray this year. But he didn't know of any churches planning to hold events this evening, as most congregations are focused on disaster recovery work.
"There still will be a lot of kids gathering at their flag poles," he said. "Our concern [as veteran youth workers] is that we were really trying to encourage the youth pastors in the different communities to work together to provide training ahead of time so that when the kids showed up at the pole they already had a plan in mind."
SYATP does not violate U.S. laws against prayer in schools, as all prayer is student-led, before school hours and outside of any school building, according to the SYATP website. But the site encourages students to pray off campus if school administrators object to the event.
This article was compiled from reporting by the Arkansas Baptist News and the Baptist Press.