One morning, a woman received a frantic message from a friend telling her to get online because a picture had gone viral. When she saw the photo, she knew what the uproar was all about.
Stacey Philpot had taken a break from social media to focus on her family when a friend sent her a message urgently telling her to take a look at a photo that had gone viral. The picture in question depicted a young man in front of the local high school. Confused, she took a closer look.
As it turns out, the boy in the photo was Stacey’s son, Hayden. The young man was standing completely alone, facing the flag pole in front of Lake Minneola High School. As she read through the comments, she realized why the photo of her son had garnered so much attention.
“As I scrolled through the pictures, it hit me—the boy who stood alone at the pole was my boy,” Stacey wrote in her blog. “They were talking about my son.”
Hayden had shown up before class for “See You at the Pole” day when students gather around their school’s flag pole to pray for their community. However, this year was different. When it came time to begin, no one else showed up. It was then that Hayden realized that he would be standing alone in intercession for his family, school, and city. So he did just that.
“My son says at first, he thought he would simply pray until someone else came along. Eventually, he realized no one else was coming. Then, the cry of his heart changed. He asked that God would do something with his standing alone,” Stacey wrote.
Despite having no support, Hayden’s faith wasn’t shaken. Without a second thought, the teen bowed his head and cried out to the Lord on behalf of his community.
Indescribably proud of her son, Stacey Philpot immediately texted him, telling him that his solitary moment of prayer had been captured and that people were praising his perseverance.
Stacey texted her son at school and told him, “You should know that people in our community are going crazy about a young man who stood at a flagpole alone and prayed this morning. They are talking about what an amazing young man he must be and how proud his parents should be. And I want you to know that your parents are so proud of you. You are an amazing young man. I love you so much.”
When Hayden got home from school, he read through the social media comments. With tears in his eyes, he explained to his mom what he had prayed.
“He told me with sheer amazement in his voice that as he stood alone and prayed the cry of his heart had been, ‘God, as people drive by, let them wonder, let their hearts be pricked.’ He laughed and said, ‘It’s crazy because it’s like he answered in this big way!'”
Out of everything Hayden could have asked, his only prayer was that God uses him as a light to those around him. Incredibly, his prayer was answered in a much bigger way.
Little did Hayden know that his simple act also brought peace and joy to his mother. Stacey had been feeling like she hadn’t been giving her children enough time and energy, and her son’s faithfulness has since given her hope.
“So to you, wherever it is in your life you stand alone, be it a flagpole or a marriage, a place of work or a seemingly impossible situation, I believe my son would like to remind you God can do big things with your standing alone,” Stacey concluded. “Perhaps, for now, you are praying until someone else shows up or takes notice. God sees, He knows, and He can do big things.”
Hayden expected his prayer to be answered, but he never knew just how big of an impact it would have on his community. While he has served as an example to his fellow classmates, his fervency has also served as a beacon of hope to people across the nation.
All it takes is one simple, selfless prayer to completely transform lives. Hayden’s faithfulness is a beautiful reminder to us all that God hears us and answers our prayers according to His perfect will, even if we don’t see the big picture at first.