This morning, hundreds of thousands of students gathered around their school flag poles to participate in the 24th annual, See You at the Pole. Among the hundreds of thousands who stood in circles, holding hands, offering up prayers, singing songs; students demonstrated their faith, their boldness, and their love for their God. As a
youth pastor, I have been to dozens of See You at the Pole events. Some circles included close to a hundred students and some circles were just a handful. But regardless of the numbers, it has always been an event that reminds me of the importance of teaching our students (and our children) the importance of prayer.
This afternoon this photo popped up on Facebook. This is Matthew. He is 9 years old and in the 4th grade. At 9:00 his morning he took to his knees to do something amazing. He prayed. By himself. At his schools flag pole.
Matthew is the son of Matthew and Christina Greco. He attends school in Coram, NY. Matthew (the father) is the Lead Pastor at Real Life Assembly of God in Wading River, NY.
I asked young Matthew, "Why did you want to go to the flag pole at your school this morning?" His response, "because (I) wanted to serve (my) Lord and Savior."
Matthew's father noted on Facebook, "His youth pastor, Keith Indovino, has done amazing job pouring into their lives and teaching them the importance of moments like this!!!" This picture is evidence of that.
When asked what he prayed for, Matthew said, he prayed for his school and specifically for his principle, so that he could be used to be a great principle and that he'd enjoy the time he spends with the kids.
Matthew's father said, "I was rocked to the core when I saw this. I never anticipated what I was going to see. All praise goes to God!!!! Just the night before I caught him stealing a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup off the counter before heading to bed, with this picture I forget all about that...LOL!!!"
And Matthew's mom, Christina? Well she was just overwhelmed with pride!
Too often we get caught up in the national spotlight of events such as See You at the Pole. We post pictures of groups of students from all over the country and around the world. And we get excited by the various numbers present. But then we see something like this. Faith lived out in a powerful way. It should remind us of the power of one, when he is on his knees in prayer... I think it's worth taking a minute to think and remember, it's not about the numbers, it's about the heart. Clearly Matthew has already discovered the value of his heart and what it means to honor God with his life.
I asked Matthew's father, "What would you say to encourage other parents as they train up their children in the discipline of prayer?"
He responded, "Training your children (Prov 22:6) is so much more than bringing them to church on a Sunday morning...it is about modeling it before them day and night. They repeat what they see. Don't only teach them but show them!!! And then cling to the promises of your Savior. Proverbs 22:6 is one of those PROMISES!"
I should mention that Matthew's sister also participated in this morning’s prayer events. She gathered with a friend of hers and they prayed together at their middle school.
I'm sure there will be other stories about students gathering around their school flag poles. But sometimes it's the simple reminder of just how powerful ONE can be on his. Matthew, you are a hero among heroes. May God bless you and grow you into a might warrior!
*Special thanks to Matthew and Christina Greco, for sharing their son's story with me today. It was truly a blessing to be able to tell it.
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