Sixteen years ago, I drove to an unfamiliar church and sat down among a dozen or so women. Looking back, I can say that was the start of a journey that has changed my life.
The first time I heard about Moms in Prayer (MIP) I was drawn to it, not because I was good at praying, but because I wasn’t and wanted to be.
Sitting in the midst of that gathering of women for one hour each week, I learned so much about prayer. There are many stories I could tell, but one story about my daughter, Melissa, is such a clear testimony of the impact of my prayers.
Melissa was a Sophomore in high school and was having constant headaches, getting sick often, and having a tough time. We had seen the allergist, the ENT, the neurologist, leaving each with no clear answers.
I remember going to my prayer hour week after week and crying, every time.
We had a prayer sheet for each week that detailed the Scriptures we praised God with and the intercession verse selected for that week. I took notes on it about the answers to prayer we recognized and the specific requests we lifted up. Each time, I begged the Lord to make her well, to get us through this hard time, to give my husband, Ralph, and I wisdom as to what to do.
But in my notes, I can also look back and see that I prayed Psalm 50:15 for her:
“May Melissa call upon you in the day of trouble. You will deliver Melissa, and she will glorify you.” And, “Do immeasurably more in Melissa’s life than I could ask for or imagine, according to your power that is at work in Melissa.” Also, “Make known to Melissa the path of life.”
Week followed week. We prayed, and I cried. She was in bed for two full weeks around Thanksgiving. After the holidays, she slowly got better, and I never really knew what happened.
It wasn’t until much later – and very recently – that I was privy to the rest of the story, which has become Melissa’s testimony.
While I was praying that nothing Melissa went through would be wasted, she was struggling with, not only physical issues, but a depression that led her to do something that could have taken her life. Instead, it brought about an awakening in her of how valuable her life truly is. Though she had already professed her faith in Christ, this was the time in her life that her faith became her own, and she gave her future completely over to Him.
Through her struggles, the Lord taught her how to walk with Him. During that time, He confirmed to her the calling to be a physician, so she could help others.
As a third-year medical student, Melissa shared with me just this week about a patient whose troubles seemed to have more of a psychological component than the patient wanted to admit. Melissa was able to share about her own struggle with depression and pray with this woman.
Looking back, my cup overflows with thankfulness to God for answering our prayers to carry her through and for indeed doing more than I could even fathom!
I still struggle to carve out my morning prayer times, where I have lists for each day of the week – missionaries one day, our government another day, in addition to others. But I continue to do it, though imperfectly, because I believe God has called me to be an intercessor. And the greatest fuel to that fire I can find is my weekly prayer with my MIP buddies.
Like Redwood trees in a forest, we stand connected as a network of strength, beholding new dimensions of God’s power. We are pulling our children to safety like troops invading enemy territory.
“Moms in Prayer International impacts children and schools worldwide for Christ by gathering mothers to pray.” –Moms in Prayer Mission Statement
There are several things I love about praying with a MIP group.
- We set aside one hour a week to pray together. Starting and ending on time – but with no chit-chat – we pray for a solid hour. We begin with looking at God’s character and praising Him, then silently confessing our own sins and thanking Him for answered prayers. These all set the stage for intercession, and once we get to that point, our problems don’t loom so large.
- We pray God’s Word, which He promises will never return void but will accomplish His purposes.
- Though prayer is extremely important for every aspect of our lives, MIP focuses on prayer for our children and schools. As one grandmother who prayed with us once said, "Just as God has equipped us to labor to bring our babies into the world, so he has called us to travail in prayer for each one." In Galatians, Paul uses childbirth as a metaphor, "my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you." Lamentations 2:19 reads, "Arise, cry out… pour out your hearts like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your children." Has there ever been a time this is more needed?
- Pray TOGETHER. Have you ever noticed that when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He prayed, "our Father"? Much of what the New Testament refers to about prayer is corporate in nature. MIP has discipled me in prayer. I loved hearing those women praise and thank Him, and the most amazing part was to hear how the Holy Spirit would lead another mom to pray for my child. She could not have known what we were going through, but so often another mom brought out aspects of the situation I had not thought of that were right on target. Sharing struggles through prayer, with confidentiality, creates a bond I can’t even describe. These women have wrestled in prayer with me through tough teachers, middle school drama, boyfriends and girlfriends, sicknesses, college and career choices, and so much more. God has been oh so faithful. His faithfulness is often highlighted through the support of God-fearing women who are sometimes quicker than I to recognize God’s hand and His answer to prayers we have prayed.
Lynn and Ralph Parrish have been members of Brook Hills since 2010. They have three adult children, Tiffany, Owen, and Melissa, and they just recently entered the wonderful world of grandparenting. Their favorite ministry at Brook Hills has been their involvement with the East Asia mission team as well as short-term trips they’ve taken and led to that part of the world.
If you're looking for an opportunity to join in corporate prayer, Brook Hills' Church-Wide Prayer Gathering is this Wednesday at 6:30pm. We’ll be praying with and for one another about our threefold task as a church: worship, nurture, and mission. For more info, visit brookhills.org/prayer.