James A. Smith Sr.
Director of Public Relations
Students, faculty, staff and families gathered around the flagpole in front of the Memorial Building in the early morning of Sept. 27 to join the “See You at the Pole” prayer movement taking place at schools across the nation. In the spirit of Ephesians 6:18, they prayed for the student body at Southwestern, the other believers gathered at middle schools and high schools around the country that morning, and the upcoming Youth Ministry Lab, which will equip students and youth pastors to reach people for the Kingdom.
“See You at the Pole” began in 1990 when a small group of teenagers in Burleson, Texas, came together for a DiscipleNow weekend. The movement was then organized and promoted by Student Discipleship Ministries, under the leadership of its founder and president, Southwestern graduate Billy Beacham (Master of Religious Education, 1980). Thousands of students now gather annually around the flagpoles at their schools every fourth Wednesday in September to pray.
This year at Southwestern, Landscaping Supervisor Joey Cruse led the prayer gathering, inviting those assembled to simply pray aloud as they felt led. Cruse himself opened the prayer time, lifting up the thousands who were meeting all over the country—“that [God] would come down and be with each one and bless each gathering this morning as they cry out to [Him].”
Student ministry professor Richard Ross lifted a special prayer for youth pastors. “Lord Jesus,” he prayed, “I am asking you specifically this day to break their hearts for lost young people. … These teenagers, they don’t know you, they are full of pain—lives that are broken—and not only that, they’re heading for an eternity of torment. Father, I just pray that you would break hearts for that, and that as the youth ministers try to decide how to spend their minutes and hours even this week, that their eyes would be lifted to the harvest for your name and your glory.”
Prayers were also uplifted for local schools and home schools. Bachelor’s student Chan Young Lee prayed especially for the students at Southwestern. “Lord, help us to go out from our Christian bubbles so that we may be able to reach out to those who have not heard of you,” he prayed. “And I pray also that we’ll be better equipped for your Kingdom’s sake, for your name’s sake, so that we may be able to preach the Word and reach the world. Lord, help us to be clean vessels so that we may carry on the Gospel message throughout the whole world—to preach the Good News.”
Echoing this sentiment, vice president Charles Patrick concluded the prayer time by praying that Christians would “stand in the gap” for the lost. “The youth are not going to come to you unless we share the Gospel message, unless we get them into the Word of God, unless we provide a living testimony for them,” he said. “May we do so, Father, with an urgency and with passion.”