Praying for a Purpose: Students sustain weekly prayer sessions


Students stand around the flagpole, their hands connecting them physically, their faith connecting them spiritually. “See you at the pole.”

In any other instance, students holding hands with their heads down and eyes closed standing in a circle around a flagpole might be strange or out of place, but for founder junior Jessica Harper and co-founder senior Victor Miller, what started out as an annual see you at the pole event held by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) last September turned into a weekly occurrence.

“[See you at the pole] ended up working out really well,” Harper said. “I really liked it. It was cool to see how many Christians could come together and give up some of their time to kind of pray over everybody in the school.”

After this and a SPOTS (student-led bible studies through Prestonwood Baptist Church) conversation about prayer the following Wednesday, Harper said God laid on her heart to extend the prayer meetings to every Monday at the Ninth Grade Campus flagpole, and she enlisted Miller’s help to put the plan in motion.

The group did not meet for a few weeks since the start of the prayer sessions, but resumed April 6 and will continue through the end of the year. They will also spread the word to FCA members about the meetings on May 7, the national day of prayer.

“A lot of people just hate Monday’s in general and I think this was a good way to kind of make it a good Monday,” Harper said. “If you have that prayer, just from the beginning, it just makes it so much easier later on. It’s good to pray for things because prayer can change things.”

According to Harper and Miller, prayer is not simply spoken words aimed at the sky, but they formed the group on the belief that prayer precedes change. Anything and everything is prayed about, big or small, from homework to anxiety about the future.

“Everybody needs prayer,” Miller said. “I felt like one of the main things, as Christians, we don’t do is pray. I always hear about in the Bible all of this big stuff happening because people are praying and how lives are changed because people are praying so I figured if I want to start making a change in my life, if I wanted to do this for other people, I would need to start praying.”

When the first bell rings and feet scurry off to their first period classes after the session, the prayer doesn’t end and then resume the following week. Both Harper and Miller try to pray on a daily basis. For Harper, prayers go up about family arguments and her sister’s friendships. For Miller, he uses a prayer journal to see when “God does things.”

“When I go back through [the journal], I’m like ‘Wow, this one got answered, this one got answered, this one got answered,’” Miller said. “It’s just really incredible to see how God’s actually interacting in your life and how it’s not just something that you’re saying.”

At the end of the day, Harper and Miller welcome scrunched eyebrows, stares and questions  their prayer sessions.

“Really we want them to ask ‘What’s going on?’” Miller said. “Seeing a bunch of people standing around a flagpole is really awkward … but we want people to notice it and … come up and ask us and use that as a leeway to share the gospel with them because that’s really what it’s all about.”

Per school policy, no announcements can be made for religious meetings and since the Twitter page only has about 10 followers, Harper and Miller plan to keep the group going through current juniors. The group will also continue to implement word of mouth advertising to ensure the prayer session’s survival in hopes of making a lasting difference.

“Sometimes that’s all people need to know is that there’s someone out there praying for them … who care about them no matter who they are,” Harper said. “It doesn’t sound like a huge thing but … your faith is eternal, and the life you have on this Earth is not. The life we have on this Earth is just temporary so the opportunity to build something eternal … is just so exciting. I really hope that people can continue this as a little tradition.”