Decidedly Academic. Distinctively Christian.
I wouldn’t have believed it, but I saw it with my own eyes and personally experienced it. It happened on the steps of the Supreme Court building on the National Day of Prayer in Washington D.C. I joined hands with fifty Foothill Christian School eighth graders to pray for our country. No sooner had we begun when a law enforcement officer intervened, insisting we stop. We weren’t blocking access or causing a commotion, but simply praying and forbidden to carry on. While our tour guide and I kept the officer preoccupied with a conversation of disbelief, a parent chaperone discreetly moved among the students and whispered, “Keep praying. Don’t stop.”
It was a poignant moment I’ll never forget. I mention this because today students at Foothill gathered around our flag pole to pray as part of the “See You at the Pole” event. Prayer is something we accept as commonplace at FCS. It’s something we do every day. It’s part of our distinction as a Christian School. But…“See You at the Pole” provides an annual opportunity for Christian students at public schools to meet at the flagpole in front of their school for prayer, scripture-reading and worship, during the early morning before school starts. What began on a small scale in 1990 is today nationally and internationally celebrated and annually embraced.
Here’s a brief primer on prayer in schools. Prayer was banned from public schools in 1962. The ban was reaffirmed and was broadened to include graduation ceremonies in 1992. In 2000, the courts outlawed student-led prayer at public high school football games. Now in many states public school districts and some universities have even banned athletic team chaplains from praying with the players. In fact, they can’t even be called chaplains anymore. Instead they are called “life coaches.” But they cannot pray and they cannot use Scriptures for inspiration.
“Keep praying. Don’t stop,” the parent chaperone exhorted. Those words still echo in my mind today. They remind me of Paul’s encouragement to the believers of Thessalonica centuries ago: “Pray without ceasing” (I Thes. 5:17). Without question, we daily enjoy the privilege of open, unapologetic prayer. And you can rest assured that here at FCS, we will keep on praying in our classrooms, before lunch, at our chapels and at every sporting event. It’s who we are!
Prayer at the Half Day Preschool