This morning I gathered with students, faculty and staff around the flagpole in front of Sunshine Bible Academy to pray for our school, our nation, and students in schools around the country. Other than the fact that we were standing around the flagpole, this was not unusual at SBA. We have the opportunity to pray together every day. Gathering around the flagpole this morning, though, was a good reminder of that privilege, one that is not enjoyed by all students in all schools in the United States or around the world.
Since 1990 the fourth Wednesday in September has been designated for “See You At the Pole,” an opportunity for students and others to gather to read Scripture, pray and sing. The event has grown exponentially in the U.S.–millions of students will have gathered at their schools today–and has spread to other countries, as well.
As I stood in the brisk morning air around that flagpole, I was reminded that (1) we have tremendous freedoms in this country that are too often taken for granted, (2) I serve at a school where I have the opportunity to pray with my students and in my classes every day, and (3) there are thousands of students, parents and others gathering around flag poles all across the country today to pray for our country, our leaders, our schools and our students.
It is important that we not take our freedoms for granted, and that we stand up and defend them when necessary. Despite the fact that SYATP gatherings are protected by free speech and assembly, and have been protected by judicial rulings when challenged, there will always be people who ridicule those who participate, who try to create obstacles for such events, and who will even challenge whether or not such events are legal. When such challenges occur we must not back down from exercising and protecting our freedoms.
So, with millions of others, today I humble ask God to protect our nation, to give wisdom and guidance to our elected officials, to keep the men and women serving in our armed forces safe. I ask Him to give Christians in this country the courage to stand up and make their voices heard when necessary, to educate themselves about the political process and candidates for office, and to vote for men and women who will have discernment and will seek to honor the Lord in the decisions that they make. I pray that God’s will will be done in the elections in November. And I thank God for allowing me to live in a country that does give me the freedom to worship God without fear of extreme persecution or imprisonment.