Students voice opinions about prayer in school

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - A bill dealing with school prayer in Mississippi is awaiting Governor Phil Bryant's signature. The measure would allow students to pray at school assemblies and during morning announcements.

WLOX News got some feedback from high school students Friday morning, at a meeting of Christian athletes in Ocean Springs.

"Let us pray. Lord God, thank you for this day," the Rev. Chris Cumbest prayed, as he opened the student breakfast gathering.

Guest speaker Greg Smith, known as "The Strength Coach," motivated and inspired the young people with his personal story of accomplishment and faith.

Things like prayer and Bible verses are expected inside a church, but what about prayer at school?

"We've had a couple of conversations in class, we'll have like a debate about whether we think it would be necessary to have it or not. Or if it should be allowed. And usually they're pretty opinionated," said high school student Lindsey Paul.

Andrew Walker is president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He says matters of faith are important always; not just within the confines of a church.

"I think school prayer should be allowed. Because it brings us together as one school body. And I feel anything we can do with Christ in it will help us succeed," said Walker.

Some students say they're surprised that state lawmakers seem to make such a big deal about prayer in schools.

"Earlier this year, it was an issue. Praying before a football game. And everyone was like, what? Because prayer has always been around and always will be," said Katelyn Bishop, who says her cheerleading squad prayed before every event and competition.

"I've had groups before that just joined in the lobby of the school to pray when they were told they couldn't. Those kinds of things are important and always demonstrate the real essence of what prayer is about when kids are able to do it from their heart, and know that God is with them," said Rev. Chris Cumbest, the senior pastor at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Ocean Springs.

Despite what lawmakers may decide, most students will choose to follow their hearts and their faith.

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