The one circle split into four, and they got bigger and bigger.
By 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, about 125 Evans High School students had joined hands near the school's flagpole for the 14th annual See You at the Pole, a nationwide student-led prayer event.
When students first gathered at 6:50 a.m., dawn was just breaking.
"Lord, I know it's hard for some to be Christians," Laura Fitts prayed. "Help us be a shining light for others. Help us in our walk."
Bryce Massey, the school's faculty sponsor of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, said that without prayer in schools, See You At the Pole is one of the few opportunities students have to share their faith with others.
"Our pole is right in front of our school," he said. "It's a good thing when students walk by and they are inquisitive and want to know what's going on, and you have a chance to tell them."
Evans High School students
participate in the See You at the Pole prayer circle. The event attracted more than 100 students.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
In his prayer, Massey asked the Lord to give the students the strength and courage to stand up for what they believe in.
They showed their commitment Wednesday morning. Evans High student Leslie Awdykowyz set her alarm clock 30 minutes earlier than usual and arrived at school shortly before 7 a.m.
"God, you are so awesome and powerful," she prayed in her circle. "Thank you for loving us unconditionally and giving us this opportunity. Let us not take for granted the freedom we have to worship you."
For her, it was not only a day to offer praise, but a day to share her faith with others.
"This day is important to encourage other Christian friends, and so our non-Christian friends will ask what's going on, and we can share Christ with them, be a witness," she said.
After the group sang praise songs such as Sanctuary and Open the Eyes of My Heart, Kristen Vick prayed, "For those who walk by, let them ask, 'What do these kids have? What am I missing. What makes them want to get up so early.' I hope it burns at their hearts, and they will know they are missing you."
In 2002, more than 2.5 million teens met for See You at the Pole in all 50 states. Many prayed about the tensions in Iraq. On Wednesday, some prayed for the soldiers still caught in the conflict.
"I pray for our country's leaders, pray for the people oversees," Nicole Thomas said. "I know how hard it must be for them to be away from their families for so long. Give them strength and bring them home safely."
See You at the Pole is a student-initiated and student-led movement that started in 1990 in Burleson, Texas.
Coinciding with the one-day observance, youth around the world also observed a global Youth Prayer Week, which is sponsored by the Youth Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance.
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