See You at the Pole was first started in 1990 and since then hundreds of thousands of students have gathered on this one day in front of their school at the flag pole to pray. They are instructed to pray for their school, their fellow students and their country. It all sounds like a noble and harmless cause, but what are we truly communicating to our kids?
I think SYATP is dangerous for the message it sends to students, those inside and outside the prayer circle. Before I go on, let me say that I do not have a problem with the students who are involved with SYATP. My beef is with the adult organizers and youth pastors that support SYATP. I know first-hand how manipulative these type of events can be and the subtle messages that they send to students.
See You at the Pole is all about being “seen”. For everyone keeping score at home, there is nothing that could be more unbiblical.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:5-6
Jesus is pretty clear about where we are to pray. He tells us to keep our prayers private. We shouldn’t be praying to draw attention to ourselves…that isn’t the purpose of prayer. The very act of praying is for the exact opposite purpose of creating a scene or a making a spectacle of ourselves. Praying in front of your school with one hundred of your closest friends is not quite the same as praying in your room with the door closed. This is pretty simple people.
According to the SYATP website, here are some reasons your students should be involved with See You at the Pole.
Do you really want to see and experience an unbelievable wave of awakening on your campus? What is going on at your school that can only be explained by the power of God? How desperately do you desire for God to come in power? Is your heart truly broken for your non-Christian friends and the sin on your campus? When you are seriously sold out and passionate about God He will honor your humble, broken, desperate cry. He wants to hear from you!
Oh my! Where do we begin? Do people really talk like this? Is it just me, or does anyone else out there have a problem with this? Are youth pastors nuts? Seems like all of the problems in your local school is because your kid just doesn’t pray enough. Shame on them. Get on your knees Billy and Betty, forget your homework, you’ve got some praying to do!
The more I think about what to write next, the more filled with disgust and outrage at the “stupid church people” that think SYATP is a great idea. This event is so myopic, hyopcritical and obnoxious that I don’t know what to say…for once I may be speechless. Or just tired of it all. You know, I think that’s it. I am just really tired of the stupid things we Christians plan and do and then believe that God is behind, or involved with, or supporting, or “moving through” or whatever. Ugh…I gotta go to bed.
P.S. Listen to our podcast on See You at the Pole here.