About 40 Christians gather for student-led prayer
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Claudia Jones lives in Sullivan, Mo., so she drives 60 miles every morning to attend Brentwood High School. But she was the first student to arrive at the school’s flagpole on Wednesday morning 45 minutes before classes began.
Eventually Jones was joined by about 40 other BHS students for the annual See You At the Pole prayer gathering. It’s an international initiative that BHS students have been observing for at least a decade. They circled the flagpole, held hands and took turns praying aloud for their school, their country and whatever else they wanted to pray for. They prayed for about 10 minutes, chatted for a while as other students arrived, then held another prayer before heading to their 8 a.m. classes.
The event began in 1990 when teenagers from a youth group in Texas felt burdened to pray for their schools. Though school-sponsored prayers in public schools have been ruled unconstitutional, prayers organized by students themselves are allowed and protected by free speech. Now, according to the SYATP website, each year on the morning of Sept. 23 more than 3 million Christian students participate in more than 20 countries.
Brentwood High School’s SYATP is publicized by the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes club. The word was spread chiefly by the group’s huddle leaders: Jones, Natalie Featherston, Abby Harper, Sophia Rivera and Skylar Sappington.
“My freshman year around 30 people attended this, then the numbers went down,” said Jones, a senior. “This today was amazing because we had 40-plus people. I just think it’s the effort put in by our huddle leaders this year — we’ve been encouraging people to come. The freshmen have been great; they really want to put their hearts out for God and make a campus for God.”
“This is the largest FCA we’ve had in a long time,” said the club’s faculty sponsor, Shannon Koster. She added that BHS students have been praying around the flagpole annually for at least 11 years, since the club started in 2005.