I don’t remember what I was doing at the age of 18, but I was definitely not praying for my school. Not that I didn’t want to – it just never even crossed my mind to do so.
That’s why, as I listened to Shania and Jakin – who are both 18 years old – share their burning desire for revival in their schools, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of regret.
Shania Joy, a student from the School of the Arts, shared: “My personal conviction for the need for prayer in school started out in a youth conference I attended two years ago. Back then, I had no burden for my school at all. I never attended any prayer meetings.
“During the conference, the speaker asked us to ask God to put a burden in our hearts for something. God then broke my heart for my school.”
Shania sensed that many in her school did not know how much God valued them, which gave rise to a lot of feelings of self-hatred and depression. That also caused them to lead a life that wasn’t fruitful. This prompted her of the need for repentance and to bring the message of hope to the students.
“It was as if God was sharing a bit of the pain He felt over my school with me. I knew I had to do something about it, so I’ve been actively involved in my school prayer group ever since.”
Shania’s story is familiar.
Some 30 years ago in Texas, US, a group of American teenagers also felt a deep compassion for their friends and teachers. They didn’t know exactly what to do, so they went to their school flagpoles to pray.
Unbeknown to them, this simple act of faith would now ripple its way to become a worldwide annual event called See You at the Pole (SYATP). SYATP is being held this Wednesday, September 25, 2019.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE SMALL STEPS OF FAITH
In recent years, schools in Singapore have also jumped on the bandwagon, with Christian students, teachers and parents gathering yearly to pray on one morning for the school and the nation.
Not every school holds theirs on the same day – but the common goal for this student-led initiative is to build a stronger culture of prayer and worship in schools, empowering believers to be salt and light and seek the welfare of their schools.
“With each subsequent SYATP we hold, people become more open to worship and pray,” said Shania. “Parents and teachers have become more involved in their respective prayer groups and even join the students for some of these events.”
She added: “We want to see revival in the form of daily living and not just a once-off event; to see students of all backgrounds uniting as one body of Christ in prayer.”
For the first time this year, Shania and five other junior college students also came together to start a monthly inter-school prayer leaders’ meeting called School House of Prayer (SHOP). SHOP’s vision is for every school to be a house of prayer and to see lives being transformed every day.
Through this initiative, they also hope to encourage more schools to participate in SYATP as well as to reach out to schools who don’t have their own prayer groups.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A PRAYING SCHOOL
With students facing a bombardment of responsibilities from all corners, from exams to CCAs, it’s easy for faith to be pushed to the sidelines.
Jakin Tan, a student from Anglo-Chinese Junior College who is among the six who started SHOP, said that this can result in Christians in school becoming very used to living in their own bubble, such that they become unaware of “what God is doing and what He can do”.
That’s why prayer groups are so important.
“If you have Christians who are alone, it’s like taking a hot coal off a fireplace – it just becomes cold.”
He said: “It’s like an anchor for Christians. They can meet other Christians and share their experiences of their spiritual growth, and ultimately encourage each other to continue living like Jesus and impacting their friends around them.”
Shania added: “Each day we fight many battles in the spirit and often we are unaware of them. But prayer groups are like the vanguard of a school, which seek God’s protection and guidance for the whole school population.
“By praying in groups, we’re acknowledging Jesus’ Lordship over our schools and seeking His covering over our lives, amid all that we may be going through.”
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE A UNITED BODY OF BELIEVERS
Jakin said that believers could end up feeling lonely and isolated if they’re not connected with others in the same school.
He explained: “It’s important to have a community of people with the same passion because if you have Christians who are alone, it’s like taking a hot coal off a fireplace – it just becomes cold.
“You can have it in church and cell group, but (your school) is a really specialised environment with other people who can understand what you’re feeling and what you’re going through.”
If you viewed your school and the people in it through God’s eyes, what would you see?
Would God see a lukewarm community of Christians? Or would He see a group of believers who are deeply in love with Him and praying together as a unified body of Christ?
In Shania’s experience, many Christians just don’t seem to be passionate about corporate prayer – a culture that SHOP hopes to change.
“They don’t see a need to join, or they feel that it’s awkward to pray with other people from a different church. So I believe it’s not about creating more presence, but getting people to see the need for prayer,” she said.
“My vision is that it won’t just be me, but there will be other Christians who come alongside. And that the juniors will catch the vision and take over from us, so that the fire won’t go out.”
Some schools will be holding prayer meetings this Wednesday, September 25, 2019 for See You at the Pole (SYATP). Not sure if your school has a prayer group or is participating in SYATP?
Or perhaps you’re interested to start a prayer group in your school, but not sure how? Drop SHOP (@prayingschools) a DM on Instagram or connect with them to find out how you can rally your school to pray.
- Are you able to see how God is working in your school?
- What are some things you can pray about for your school?
- Do you have a community of believers in school whom you can connect with?