At the request of First Priority of Alabama, Gov. Bob Riley proclaimed the first statewide Day of Prayer Over Students in 2006. First Priority will once again be coordinating this prayer emphasis encouraged by the recent proclamation of Bentley.
First Priority coordinates hundreds of local school Christian campus clubs. First Priority is encouraging Alabamians to pray for students as they are faced with challenges such as peer pressure to abuse drugs and alcohol, negative influences in the media, school violence and gang activities, fear and low self-esteem.
Although schools in the St. Clair County School System are on spring break this week, First Priority groups are planning something special at a later date.
Levi Dorsett is the student leader of the Saints For Christ at St. Clair County High School.
“We will organize something once we get back,” Dorsett said. “It makes me feel good to know there are leaders in Alabama who care about us and care about what we believe in.”
Dorsett said they average about 40 students per week at their Saints For Christ meetings.
“We have guest speakers come in from time to time,” Dorsett said. “We have three local pastors who help out as well.”
They are Scott Ray from Destiny Life Church in Odenville; Chase Porter from North Valley Church in Margaret; and Chuck Lackey from Calvary Baptist Church in Odenville.
Ragland High School junior Chase Welborn speaks at a lot of the First Priority meetings at his school. Welborn said he was pleased with Bentley and the stand he has taken.
“I’m glad we have someone in office who will acknowledge Jesus Christ,” Welborn said. “I had heard he was a Christian. From what I’ve seen, I like what he stands for and believes in.”
Welborn said there are 15 to 20 students on average who attend the weekly First Priority meetings. They meet every Wednesday from 7:30 to 7:45 a.m.
Josh Isley is a sophomore at Springville High and the assistant leader of First Priority meetings.
Isley said it is great that the state recognizes a day of prayer for students, and it is a great opportunity to reach out to other students.
“Allowing the student body to step up and pray in the schools is awesome,” Isley said. “Prayer is something that should have never been taken out of our schools.”
Roosevelt Mendez, a senior at Ashville High, is the student leader of First Priority at his school.
“It makes me feel awesome that our leaders are taking an interest in the students and praying for them,” Mendez said. “Although we will be on spring break, I will ask all our students to take time out of that day to pray and thank God for all he’s done for us.”
Mendez said they average about 20 students at First Priority meetings and meet every Thursday at 7:20 a.m.
Moody High senior Chris Pattillo is the student leader of First Priority that meets every Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m.
“I think this is excellent what Gov. Bentley has done, and I support it,” Pattillo said. “I encourage prayer anytime we can have it. Once we return from spring break, we will do something special for this day of prayer.”
Pattillo said they average 30 to 40 students on any given Wednesday morning, but if they are having something special, about 60 to 70 students turn out.
First Priority is offering assistance to churches, schools and individuals to recognize the “Day of Prayer Over Students Across Alabama”
First Priority is encouraging individuals to turn school zones into prayer zones by praying over schools every time they pass by them.
Churches are hosting prayer chains with members praying continuously during school hours and some during prayer vigils.
First Priority is encouraging individuals to contact the principals of local schools to let them know their schools are being lifted in prayer. First Priority also encourages people to ask for a list of faculty members so they can pray for each member by name.
First Priority is about reaching every student on every campus in every community across our state. For more information and “Day of Prayer” resources, visit www.gofirstpriority.com, e-mail email@example.com or call 205.871.8886.
Contact Gary Hanner at firstname.lastname@example.org.