My heart breaks today because I fear we have missed the point.
I’m sitting here in my favorite coffee shop with tears streaming down my face (and I’m not much of a crier). Today is a pretty important day in the student ministry world. Students at most school campuses participated in See You at the Pole; a national prayer movement started by a group of students at a retreat in Burleson, Texas in 1990.
The theme for this year’s See You at the Pole is “Awaken”. The website suggests that students, “Pray for an unusual outpouring of the Spirit of God to awaken the hearts of students on campuses throughout your community… and the world! ” Sadly I think we are asleep. With heads bowed and eyes closed, we have missed a hurting world.
I would imagine that this morning around 7am, students at Stillwater Junior High School were gathering to pray around their flagpole, just like any other school today. Right about the time they said “amen”, Cade Poulos fired a fatal self-inflicted gunshot in the hallway of their school just as classes were about to start. I don’t know Cade. Articles are saying he was a “good student” known for his smile and his red hair. Sadly I’m not sure anyone knew and cared about him or noticed that he was hurting until it was too late.
This statement from the school’s principal really got me, “There was nothing in the computer that any bullying had been reported. If there had been, it would have been in our computer system,” We have reduced students to a file that tells us what is wrong with them.I don’t think he took his own life because he was bullied, but because he felt alone. Bullying is a symptom of a broken and hurting generation. We need to bring hope and purpose to the students in our schools to heal the hurting. It’s why we started ACTIVATE. We would LOVE to come to your community with a message of hope for all students. I have been in front of 100s of hurting and broken kids who just want to know they matter. That someone cares about them. That they have potential.
If all we are doing is gathering and praying and giving students a chance to say they are going to stand in a circle and hold hands and pray, then we are wasting everyone’s time. Honestly, I think we are mocking God if the prayers of our lips don’t effect the way we live.
The “amen” to our prayer has to be what it means, “So be it” We have to be the “amen”. If Cade does not matter, our prayers and songs mean nothing.
Please don’t stop praying for our teachers, principals, coaches, and cafeteria workers that are on the front lines 5 days a week serving the group of people in our nation with the biggest potential to change the world. Pray for our youth and children’s Pastors pouring into this generation. Pray for our students because they have the greatest chance to impact the lives of their friends (and those that have no friends). Pray for Cade’s family. But please lets back our prayers with action! Maybe its time we move out of the huddle and move to a no huddle offense and go love recklessly the way that the early church did.
I beg you, if you work with students love them. KNOW them. Call on them to love and know others. The most epic movement would not be us having an annual gathering of prayer, but seeing a generation rise up daily to live and love the way Jesus did.