The power of prayer in schools
Tragedies in schools are prevalent across the U.S. In 2018, there have been more than 35 school shooting incidents reported almost every month. In addition to gun violence in schools, illegal drug distribution and drug use are on the rise while standardized test scores are on the decline. Suicide among youth—a national health crisishas increased significantly in recent years and is now the second leading cause of death for ages five to 24-years-old, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. In 1962, when the Supreme Court decided to remove prayer from public schools, some would resolve the absence of prayer is the cause of these school tragedies we hear about almost daily.
There are multiple reports about the positive effects of prayer in schools: the disappearance of drugs, the rise of test scores, improvement of school rankings, and the depletion of school violence, to name a few. Student advocates for prayer in schools appear to be the common denominator in many of these cases. Young people throughout the nation are taking a stand on issues where leaders have failed. Their efforts mirror the efforts of the small group of students in Burleson, Texas who decided to gather around the flagpole to pray.
The action of these students eventually evolved into a movement known as “See You at the Pole.” One year later, more than one million students gathered at their school’s flagpoles across America. More than 28 years later, the movement is still alive and is now world-wide. The cause is awakened on the fourth Wednesday every year.
Olney students gathered at the flagpoles at their schools on Sept. 26, and later that night they gathered at the Refuge to continue the prayers in a worship service. 2018 is the second year the Refuge opened their doors to motivate the students to stand on the power of prayer. The message throughout the night was “prayer changes things.”
Attendees had dinner followed by a praise and worship service led by C.J. Frazier. He explained the importance of following Christ, quoting the Biblical scripture Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Frazier asked the students to think about what it would look like for students to take up their cross to follow Jesus. His main point to the students was to allow their actions at the flagpole to be a daily effort.
Following the praise and worship service, Rodney Nantz, executive director of the Refuge, delivered an encouraging message that pulled students in from the beginning. Every student listened intently; some sat on the edge of their seat grasping at every word.
Nantz expressed how he was moved emotionally by seeing the students unite for prayer. He shared that the purpose of his message was to empower students to learn about the importance of the Word of God, offering examples of various Biblical figures, such as Moses, who stood up for God in the face of adversity. Later, he tied together his main points by emphasizing the commonalities and struggles shared by all generations.
In the spirit of forging ahead with prayer in school, or learning how to pray for students, teachers and leaders, reach out to community organizations like the Refuge and your church and school leaders. Continue the conversation on Facebook.com/olneyenterprise. Do you support prayer in schools? Let us know why or why not?