Students assembled outside the Arthur S. DeMoss Building at dusk Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. and prayed for the nation, the military, professors and students at a rally in recognition of the annual See You at the Pole event.
To begin the time of prayer, students crowded in groups designated by state and countries in front of the DeMoss steps. Prayer began in small groups for the president and the military then moved on to Liberty’s leaders, professors, teachers and students. Students took the opportunity to meet others from their home states. All 50 states and several countries, including Canada, Ghana, China, Argentina and Brazil, were represented.
“It felt very organic and very real,” said Rory Tyre from Virginia.
Tiffany Hetzlein from Maryland said it was neat “to see we’re not so self-absorbed” as a student body.
See You at the Pole is an event that Liberty has been recognizing almost since it began in 1990, said Dwayne Carson, campus pastor and director of the Office of Student Leadership. The event began in Texas after a youth group felt compelled to pray by the flagpoles of various schools for friends and teachers, according to See You at the Pole’s Web site, www.syatp.com. The event quickly spread to other schools across America, including Liberty. Today, millions of students in all 50 states and over 20 countries take part in See You at the Pole every year, according to the Web site.
“I think it’s awesome to get the body of Christ together and pray for some specific stuff,” said Chris Deitsch, campus pastor and director of Prayer Leaders.
Deitsch said a flagpole is a central rallying point, a good place to gather for prayer, and thus an American flag waved atop the DeMoss steps as a backdrop for the event.
See You at the Pole is held every year on the fourth Wednesday morning in September. However, Liberty students gathered the night before, the most obvious reason being that it would be difficult for college students to wake up before 7:40 a.m. classes and pray for an extended period of time.
Deitsch said another reason for the switch to the evening was so that Liberty students could pray in advance for the other millions of students praying the next morning.
“We prayed for boldness for the next morning. We prayed that students would be able to use it as a testimony to the lost and that God would honor the schools,” said Deitsch.
Keith Anderson, director of the Office of Student Conduct, led a time of prayer specifically for students in education and coaching. Students emphasized in their prayers the future role these students will have in the teaching environment.
Campus Pastors Carson and Johnnie Moore and others mentioned the role Liberty can play in bringing the Gospel of Christ to a nation and world in dire need.
“May Liberty University be a lighthouse,” Carson prayed.
Students also prayed for their particular home states’ school needs as well as for God to grant security and protection to Christians in public environments.
In an interview, Carson noted that 2 Chronicles 7:14 was a good verse for the evening.
The verse quotes God saying to Solomon, “If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
According to Deitsch, an estimated 3,300 students attended the hour-long event.