Fern Nichols had the right idea nearly 37 years ago. She called a friend and asked her to pray as she sent her previously homes-schooled children to a public middle school. She had concerns about their adjustment process. Since then, her intentional prayer time for all schools, teachers, staff and students has blossomed into an international organization known as Moms In Prayer (MIP).
Mothering is hard, and I know there isn’t a momma out there who believes she’s done a perfect job at the end of any given day. I’m only eight years into this now, so I need some perspective. There are beautiful moments of wonder and joy and there are those bone-tired, fist-clenching moments of what on earth have I done?
I was struggling with my then three-year-old one morning last year when an organization called Moms In Prayer popped up in my social media feed. Never heard of it. With a million other things on my mind, I ignored it. But there it was again, a few days later. My curiosity got the better of me, so I clicked on the link and was immediately drawn in by the plethora of opportunities, and its mission.
Mothers gather together for one hour to pray for each other’s children, for their schools and for their teachers and staff. But why? Why can’t moms pray on their own? After all, this is a personal thing, right? What if moms don’t want other moms to know their business? “If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven,” (Matthew 18:19). Because gathering together as believers is powerful. Gathering together keeps us accountable to practicing a habit. God creates unity and knits our souls when we come together.
In praying together, there is strength in numbers when things get rough. Whether we realize it or not, spiritual forces of darkness are real and eager to influence our kiddos. “Remember that while God has a perfect plan for our children’s lives, Satan has a plan for them too,” writes Stormie Omartian in The Power of a Praying Parent. Moms In Prayer can represent an army of women going into spiritual battle.
Our kids, our children, our precious little ones are more vulnerable than ever. Not only to illness, but to believing the lies of the devil, such as worthlessness, and giving into suicide, drug abuse, bullying, violence and the list goes on. Changing school policy or politics isn’t the answer. God is the answer.
Hope rose with the early morning sunshine at a Moms In Prayer conference in West Des Moines, where 265 moms and grandmothers gathered for worship and inspiration. Specific and structured prayers were taught. We practiced prayers out loud that were written with scripture to overcome any awkwardness over “not knowing how to pray.” We learned that using scripture with our prayers is what releases the Holy Spirit to work on our behalf. Speaking the Word of God out loud breaks the power of Satan. “Jesus’ death on the cross broke the back of the accuser, but the evil one will still harass all who don’t know their God-given authority over him. This is where our prayers come in. Our children will stand accused until we break the stronghold of the accuser in prayer, using the Word of God as hard evidence against him.” (Omartian, The Power of a Praying Parent).
I sat next to two women whose kids are teenagers and college age. They knew each other well and shared an understanding of a troubled kid. The speaker told us to form groups of three, and those two women were closest to me. The three of us gathered in a huddle to practice a structured prayer, and one of them just wept as she pleaded to the Holy One. The other pulled her into a hug. Moms were on their knees, interceding on behalf of teenagers making unwise choices. I blinked back my own tears, having just glimpsed 15 years into the future challenges. Grandmothers were praying for their grandchildren. All ages and stages of motherhood were there, and a variety of speakers offered story after story of how years of actively praying in the MIP format yielded amazing results that only God can bring about. Lives are transformed through Moms In Prayer and I am determined to be a part of it.
Sally Burke, current President, pictured on the right, pulled me into a warm hug when I told her I was about to start leading a MIP group at my daughter’s preschool. She beamed and said, “Oh thank you, thank you so much! I’m so excited for this! Let me pray over you right now.”
The hour is spent in prayer, not simply sharing requests. It is intended to be a worshipful time. I have been amazed at the difference in my attitude and mindset after going through praise, thankfulness, confession and supplication with guided scriptures on behalf of my daughter! During my second MIP gathering, I pleaded to the Holy One for patience, wisdom and the willingness to be present for my now four-year-old. For the rest of the day, I knew I was speaking more gently to her, engaged in more play and was able to say no more firmly when she needed discipline. My attitude and behavior had changed. Isn’t that the point? We pray not to change others more to our liking, but to gain a better perspective of what we already have. After our hour of prayer was done, the fellowship was sweet and refreshing. I learned that my four-year-old is normal. You know what? The other mom was dealing with the same issues. That alone was enough to lift my spirits.
MIP builds relationships, spreads the Gospel, changes lives and helps strengthen our faith. What mom wouldn’t want to be part of this amazing organization?