Students on school campuses across the country are gathering today to pray for their friends, school, communities, and the unsaved as part of the annual See You At The Pole (SYATP) prayer event.
For the last 32 years, students have gathered at their school's flagpole on the fourth Wednesday in September to pray for their friends, teachers, government, and nation.
"Historically, in the times where there have been a moral and spiritual awakening in our country it has almost, always been led by young people," Doug Clark, National Field Director of SYATP, told CBN News. "We don't want to lose our vanguard."
This year's theme, "A Flame", comes from Romans 12:11-12 and encourages students to be passionate about serving the Lord, no matter the challenges they face.
Clark said many students have endured isolation, depression, and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As CBN News has reported, the mental health of America's youth has recently deteriorated to never before seen levels of concern because of the pandemic.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found emergency hospital visits for suspected suicide attempts increased by nearly 51% among girls 12-17 years old in early 2021.
"Anxiety and depression were at epidemic levels before the pandemic," Christian psychiatrist Daniel Amen told CBN News. "Then if you add on top of that fear, loss, social isolation. What we saw was anxiety and depression double over the last 20 months."
"Our youth are just being devastated by the enemy and it is so important for us to focus on that and pray for them," Clark said.
"We want to pour into them," he added. "They are the very best missionaries to reach their high school and junior high campuses makes it really important to pray for them."
In a live video, students took the opportunity to encourage each other to pray.
"Let's receive God's joy in our own hearts so that we can experience revival in our own lives," Aondover from Michigan said. "Let's also ask Jesus for a fire and passion that we may surrender to what God has called each of us to do this year."
"I pray you fill us up with a fire and a passion for you God," he prayed. "I pray that our schools will be changed. I pray that you give us boldness and courage this upcoming school year. That we may be as lights in our hallways, Lord. That we may be the salt of the earth Lord. I thank you, in Jesus' name, Amen."
Brayden from Kansas also encouraged fellow students to shine God's light at their schools.
"Know that God is using you to be a light at your campus and a light to everyone you meet," he said. "Be patient as you pray for change at your school. God is working even when we can't see it. Pray for all the things you want to see differently on your campus and trust in God that it will happen in His time and not in your time."
A student named Kristiana closed the video by reminding students to pray for unbelievers.
"Think of those who are sick, neglected, forgotten, and unreached," the New York native said. "Continue to pray for what is going on in our world, our nation, and our communities. Think outwardly, pray big, and pray without giving up. God has not given up on the world."
"I thank you God for the ability that we as believers have to come before you in prayer Lord with unimaginable requests," she prayed in the video. "I would like to pray right now for those of us that have yet to hear your Gospel and hear your amazing Word. I pray, Lord, that you would send your believers and disciples out into those places to be vessels for You and to touch the lives of those people."
"You are our God, You do exist and You care for each and every one of us," she added.
Clark told CBN News he is encouraged by the students' enthusiasm and hopes this momentum will turn into a movement of prayer.
See You At The Pole has partnered together with Claim Your Campus to help students organize prayer meetings 5 days a week on school grounds.
"When students come together and they are looking across the circle they will see people they didn't know were Christians," he explained. "What we hope will happen, and what has happened in a lot of cases, is that students see others that are believers, and from the moment of 'See You At The Pole' then they start talking about a movement of prayer on their campus."