Everyone can agree that a team of dedicated Christian teachers and staff is essential for a successful school year, but when you combine that with student leaders who deeply love Jesus and who want to share Him with their peers, you have a powerful force!
Upper Columbia Academy is blessed this year with just such a team. As Upper Columbia Conference kicked off Vertical: 40 Days of Prayer on Sept. 1, 2022, Jeff Deming, principal, asked the faculty to pray daily at 9:31 (morning or evening). This specific time of day was chosen by Deming because of Spangle’s zip code, 99031. The Associated Student Body team enthusiastically joined in with their own twist on the concept of daily prayer. They created a prayer board, positioned prominently in the Campbell Administration Building.
During the 40 days of prayer, students were encouraged to post requests and praises. Torin Smith, ASB historian, shared, “The hope is that we will get in the habit of praying for each other. We intend to continue the prayer board throughout the school year.”
“I believe that prayer unites us as a community and brings us closer to God,” said Sidney Folkenberg, ASB president. Each Monday just before lunch, students gather in front of the cafeteria for prayer on the plaza, another student-lead event inspired by the 40 days of prayer. Folkenberg continued, “This prayer time adds to the spiritual life at UCA. Students and teachers join together to share struggles and praises and to pray for guidance. When the weather gets cold or rainy, the group meets inside, but the blessing is the same.”
The ASB officers arrived on campus several days early to work and pray with their sponsors in preparation for introducing the 2022–2023 school year’s theme, “A Journey Together.” It was apparent from the beginning that the students had put time and thought into what it means to be leaders.
Madi Divers explained, “My role as an officer has nothing to do with being ASB chaplain. That is just a title. What being in this position really means to me is living out my life the way Christ did. This leadership position has given me a chance to serve others daily. I used to find myself thinking I was unworthy of this position because of who I was. However, God calmed my mind and humbled my heart, and now I view my role as an officer as a calling God wants me to fulfill during my senior year at UCA.”
“ASB officers have provided church services and worship talks,” Folkenberg said. “These programs bring us all together and closer to God. Events are important, but I don't think there has to be an event in order to impact others. Anyone can represent Christ through their character in day to day life.”
Even though Vertical: 40 Days of Prayer has finished, there are definite plans to continue making prayer a daily practice. ASB officers are recreating the prayer board with a theme of Thanksgiving and praise, and several staff members’ phone alarms continue to ring at 9:31. “What a gift it is to have staff and students invested in the opportunity of connecting through the power of prayer,” says Deming. “We are daily asking for God to be the leader of our Journey Together.”