High school students at Southeast Christian Church’s Blankenbaker Campus know prayer changes things.
Many students, during their last week of summer break, gathered to hold prayer walks on school campuses, asking God to move throughout their schools.
They believe He will.
“Students are seeing that when we pray, God moves,” said Cambron Rich, NextGen pastor at Southeast.
The act was the first of four challenges that will be given to students throughout the current student sermon series titled “Battle Ready: preparing to fight for what matters most,” which draws from Ephesians 6.
Each sermon encourages students to enter into the spiritual battles of their lives with the armor of God.
For many, those battles take place at school.
In class, on athletic and academic teams, at school events and in friend groups, students face the pressures and temptations of the world each day.
“School is where students spend the majority of their time,” Rich said. “It’s their biggest battlefield, so students are asking God to move there and asking how they can partner with Him as they head back for a new year.”
At the end of the first service, students broke into school groups and made plans for the prayer walks.
More than 10 schools were represented—public schools, private schools and home schools.
On the day of the prayer walks, students covered entire campuses in prayer. They walked from the parking lot to the football fields and from classrooms to cafeterias, asking God to touch the hearts of those who will step foot there.
Some teachers, coaches and Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsors joined the students in prayer. Together, they prayed for the safety of teachers and students.
“Students in 2018 don’t always feel safe at school,” Rich said.
They prayed for peace, for protection and for those who don’t yet know Him.
Rich added that knowing the enemy is a crucial piece.
“Putting on the armor of God is not about fighting other people about their faith,” Rich said. “It’s about fighting for other people.”
The enemy is not the teacher or classmate who argues the validity of Christ, the student who is different or the quarrelsome teammate.
“The only enemy is Satan,” Rich said.
Students were reminded that in each battle, Christ is victorious.
They walked hallways and prayed over lockers and classrooms.
They prayed that God would work in the lives of students who deal with anxiety and depression each day. They prayed for those experiencing identity crises and those without hope to come to know it through Christ.
Many Southeast students had life-changing experiences this summer.
More than 1,000 students attended Bible & Beach, Southeast’s annual six-day conference held in Daytona Beach, Florida. Some made first-time decisions for Christ. Some were baptized. Some students served on U.S. and overseas mission trips. Others volunteered at MIX, Southeast’s annual summer camp for middle school students, and Camp Freedom, the camp for adults and children with disabilities, held at Country Lake Christian Retreat in Underwood, Indiana.
Students are encouraged to reflect on how their faith has grown over the summer, and then step back into schools ready to share their hope with others throughout the school year.
Anna Spruell, a junior at Eastern High School, is eager to see God move in her school in the same way she saw Him work in the lives of students at Bible & Beach.
On the day of the prayer walk, she prayed for God’s heart for Eastern.
“When you walk into a school the size of Eastern, it can feel overwhelming,” Spruell said. “I’ve walked through these hallways so many times, but praying for students intentionally as I walked the hallways that day I was reminded of how many students fill them each day and that God has a plan for each one.”
A group of students who are homeschooled gathered to pray in the Block at the Blankenbaker Campus.
The group prayed over the seats. They prayed for other homeschool students, teachers and their families.
Some in the group are pursuing internships, cooperative education opportunities and part-time jobs.
“We asked God to give us His heart for our coworkers in our jobs, and to be a light to those around us,” said Hunter Simpson, a junior at Christian Educational Consortium. “It was a great experience to be more intentional with classmates in prayer, to know you’re not fighting the battle alone and to be in community with the people who are in it with you.”