Sep 29, 2009

3,000 Gather to Pray

by Matthew Coleman

Despite the rainy weather, nearly 3,000 students gathered in the Vines Center Tuesday, Sept. 22, for the annual See You At The Pole (SYATP) to pray for America and Liberty University.

Students from every state in America and others from China, Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and Europe attended. Some bowed their heads and closed their eyes, some stared ahead and raised their hands. Every student united for one cause.

“My wife (Becki Falwell) was so moved by all these kids here voluntarily praying that it brought her to tears when they brought us down to pray for us,” Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said. “It is so encouraging to see young people like this. It gives you new hope for the future of the country.”

America’s government, Liberty’s administration and staff and the U.S. Armed Forces were lifted up in prayer by the students.

“This is a place that believes in the power of prayer,” Vice President of Spiritual Development Dwayne Carson said. “We are saying to our heavenly Father that we seek His face. The hope for this campus and the hope for this country and world is God. We need Him to come through for us.”

“It was really great having everyone pray for all these different things,” junior Anthony Jenne said. “I believe that prayer works, and I can’t wait to see the impact it will have at the school.”

Visual aid provided a deepened reality to prayers the students offered. Six uniformed Liberty University Police Department officers stood before the student body as a prayer was spoken for them.

“(I liked) having the visual aids, the people representing what we were supposed to be praying for,” junior Eric Bell said.

Liberty has kept the SYATP tradition since it began in 1990, according to Carson. Every year since then, it has grown in size.

“People keep telling me that this is so creative,” Carson said. “We don’t just have a quick prayer over one or two things. We are praying over the multitude of different aspects of this university.”

“It is a public time to pray for Liberty, our impact and the nation as well,” Campus Pastor Michael Miller said.

While SYATP was held nationally on Wednesday, Sept. 23, Liberty maintained its tradition of holding its own meeting the day before. Holding the event at night makes attendance easier for students who must contend with 7:40 a.m. classes, and it gives them a chance to pray for those who will be gathering the next day, according to Miller.

“We do SYATP here at Liberty as a support to all of the connections our students have to their home town schools, specifically high schools,” Miller said. “It is a way (for students) to recognize their connections with friends, teachers and coaches back home, who must stand for Christ daily.”

Contact Matthew Coleman at

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