Prayers for Prayer Club

The current club president examines the history of this “quiet” club that, although not often talked about, has had a great impact at DHS.

A student spends time in prayer during a club meeting.

The Spectator Archives

A student spends time in prayer during a club meeting.

Have you ever arrived at school in mid-September and wondered why there were a group of students and teachers circled around the main flagpole?

Maybe you’ve heard singing coming from the science hallway. Perhaps you’ve heard of an organization called YoungLife.

You might not even realize it, but if you’ve experienced any of these things, you already know a little bit about Prayer Club.

I am currently a co-president of this Dallastown club, now officially called First Priority Prayer Club.

In the past, it has been called First-Priority Dallastown and Bible Club. Now, it just goes by Prayer Club.

In my Local History class, we were tasked with writing articles about aspects of Dallastown’s history, and, since I’ve attended and/or led this club for 4 years, I was excited to dig into old records to find out more about its history.

In the 1999-2000 edition of The Spectator, Dallastown Area High School’s yearbook, a whole spread is dedicated to this club.

Back then, the club met Wednesday mornings before school; the meetings were filled with donuts, games, discussions based on the Christian faith, and of course, prayer.

Participants came from all different denominations of Christianity, but they all shared the same purpose in going to the club – to meet and fellowship with other Christians and to grow in their faith.

Megan Schultz, née Megan Blum, is a 2014 graduate of Dallastown High School and a former president of Prayer Club.

She found out about the club through the morning announcements’ mentioning of See You at the Pole and Megan’s sister’s piano teacher.

Megan fondly remembers the worship time in Prayer Club saying “I remember I liked singing praise songs in prayer club the best.”

She also remembers See You at the Pole as a major event in the livelihood of the club.

SYATP is a nationwide annual occurrence in mid-September where Christian students, teachers, faculty, and community members gather around their school’s flagpole before school begins to pray for the school year and to sing worship songs.

At Dallastown, this event is typically well-attended, even more so than Prayer Club.

In fact, many times in the past, the entire green surrounding the flagpole has been filled with people praying and worshipping God.

Personally, it is one of my favorite events of the school year.

Getting to pray and sing to God, usually beneath a gorgeous sunrise, is a wonderful encouragement and a great way to start my day. I am so thankful that we have the freedom to hold such an event.

Megan’s sister, Katie, a 2015 DAHS graduate, followed in her sister’s footsteps and also led Prayer Club during her senior year.

A van stacked with Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes awaits delivery to children all around the world. (Elizabeth Baker via Wikimedia Commons)

Katie “most enjoyed hearing other people’s testimonies, whether it was a guest speaker, a teacher, or another student.”

In addition to the regular club meetings, Katie’s group also got the opportunity to meet at a substitute teacher’s house to pack Operation Christmas Child boxes.

Operation Christmas Child is a program run by a Christian organization that encourages people to pack shoeboxes with school supplies, hygiene items, and toys like dolls and soccer balls.

These boxes are then sent to impoverished children all around the world, where they get to open a Christmas gift they probably would not have gotten.

In addition to the fun and practical items, the children also receive a Gospel booklet and the chance to learn about God.

Throughout its history, Prayer Club has had many different faculty advisors, but the current teachers in charge of the club are Mr. Motter, a science teacher, and Miss Doyon, an art teacher.

Motter has been advising Prayer Club for 16 years and says that he decided to become an advisor because “my faith in God has been important in my life, so I feel it is important for students to have the opportunity to express their faith…pray together, and sing praises to God in a student-led setting.”

I feel it is important for students to have the opportunity to express their faith…pray together, and sing praises to God in a student-led setting.

— Mr. Bryan Motter

He also said that some of his favorite parts of Prayer Club are watching students from various [faith] backgrounds interact with each other, support one another, and have fun while growing in their faith.

In the past, Prayer Club has also been involved with various Dallastown programs like Caring and Sharing and the York Food Drive, as well as visiting and singing for the residents of Country Meadows Retirement Home. Overall, “every year is unique,” Motter says. 

Doyon has been advising Prayer Club for 14 years and chose to get involved with it because she “[likes] the idea of being a positive influence to and with students and helping them with their faith needs.”

When asked what her favorite part of Prayer Club is, she responded that she loves “the student leaders and students’ willingness to participate in activities in Prayer Club and beyond the club time. I like hearing their hearts and what they want to share.”

Paul Adams, former DAHS science teacher and Prayer Club advisor (The Spectator Archives)

While working on the original draft of this article, a name that kept getting mentioned was that of Mr. Paul Adams.

Adams was a science teacher who retired in 2016. He was a well-respected and loved member of our school community who also advised Prayer Club for many years.

Megan interned for him during her senior year of high school. “He was a kind, gentle man who was very faithful to the prayer club,” she states.

Katie adds that he was extremely patient, and Doyon says “He was great!” Motter knew Adams before the former began his teaching career at Dallastown, and credits his success as both a teacher and a Prayer Club advisor to Adams’s mentorship.

“Paul Adams was the advisor of Prayer Club for many years and was my mentor as a science teacher and Prayer Club advisor. Paul always provided incredible leadership for the Prayer Club and I was honored to work with him,” Motter says.

Today, Prayer Club is not that different.

Instead of having to meet before school, the administration has allowed the club to meet during the school day.

Currently, Prayer Club meets every cycle on Day 1 during Wildcat period in Motter’s room, #219, for a Bible-based lesson, worship songs, snacks, and games.

This snapshot captures the opening minutes of Prayer Club, where members enjoy snacks and each others’ company. (Lydia Flemmens)

This year, the club mainly consists of freshmen with a few upperclassmen. This is encouraging to me because it means that the club will be well-attended for many years to come, even after the older ones graduate.

As mentioned, I am a co-president of Prayer Club, and I lead alongside Emma White. At the beginning of this school year, we alternated teaching; one of us taught one week and the other taught the next.

This process worked out fairly well, but we soon realized that since we will be graduating in just a few short months, we will have to pass on the leadership to others.

Thankfully, when approached, many of the other members of the club volunteered to plan, write and teach weekly lessons, while some opt to lead the games or choose the worship songs for that week’s meeting.

Emma and I still teach occasionally, but it is very nice to not have to worry about planning a lesson as often.

However, as enjoyable and refreshing as Prayer Club is, it isn’t the only place where Christian students can worship and have fun with each other.

All throughout its history, members of Prayer Club have been involved in YoungLife, an organization that reaches out to middle school, high school, and college students in the United States and more than 100 countries around the world.

YoungLife meetings are held weekly in the homes of local leaders, and there are even whole camps dedicated to students who are involved in YoungLife.

One such camp is located at Lake Champion, New York, where, oddly enough, I will be traveling to at the end of April.

At Lake Champion, campers can participate in a variety of activities including boating, climbing, disc golf, a giant swing, nine square, swimming in either their pool or the nearby lake, traversing a ropes course, and the forever-loved zipline.

Throughout the years, Prayer Club has been a place where students, whether they are Christians or are simply interested in learning more about Christianity, can meet to feel seen, heard, and loved.

In a sea of over 2,000 students, it is wonderful to have such a club where we have the freedom to talk about God and share His love with others.

It is my prayer that First Priority Prayer Club will continue strong for many years to come.