Revive Our Hearts Podcast

How to Pray for Your Children, Day 1

Leslie Basham: Marlae Gritter says moms can get more out of prayer when they’re praying with other moms.

Marlae Gritter: When you’re accountable to another mom, or a group of moms, you begin praying. You begin to learn to be vulnerable. You learn that everybody else’s kid isn’t perfect like you think they are. You begin to see week after week. You hear that God answered that mom’s prayer. I go to Moms In Touch and it gives me hope every week. My prayer life has totally changed. It’s been revolutionary. We hear that over and over.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Monday, July 18, 2016.

We’ve been in a special emphasis on prayer here on Revive Our Hearts. You’ve heard several series on prayer this year. Today we continue that emphasis by learning how to pray for our kids in a consistent, effective way. We’ll hear a classic conversation Nancy had with Marlae Gritter and Fern Nichols from Moms in Prayer International. You’ll also hear that ministry referred to as “Moms in Touch . . .” because that was it’s name when this conversation was recorded. Here’s Nancy in a series called "How to Pray For Your Children."

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: I received a letter from one of our Revive Our Hearts listeners. A few days ago this came to my attention. This is a woman who says, “My heart goes out to all our orphans,” and then she explained what she means by “our orphans.” She said,

Those kids without a mom or a dad to give them security and love and the way to Jesus. My personal reason to live is to pray for them and to pray for my own ten adult children and their children. I pray first for my twenty grands and one great-grand, to come to Jesus and then to go out to share the wonderful good news of Jesus’ love. By now you have guessed my advanced age—late seventies—and living for eternity.

Is that not precious? Here is a woman in her late seventies who has a reason to live. Her reason to live is Jesus. Her reason to live is eternity. Her reason to live is those ten adult children and those twenty grandchildren and that one great-grandchild, so far, that the Lord has entrusted to her care and her intercession, as well as all these others that she’s aware of who don’t have a praying mom or grandmom.

As I read that note I thought, “Thank you, Lord, for Madeline. Thank you for this woman in her late seventies who still has a huge, significant mission and purpose in life.” She's fulfilling the purpose God has her here on this earth.

We have women today from all seasons of life. We have many who are married and are moms and grandmoms. We have some who are single. They are sisters or aunts or friends of those who have children and grandchildren. There are a lot of different roles—some with gray hair, some who have lots of children in your own home. Women are in all these seasons of life. Regardless, this is an opportunity for us to be challenged about the role of prayer, in believing God to capture the hearts of the next generation.

I look back here and I see Olive Jackson. Next month she will be seventy-four. She is an intercessor. She and her husband, Stan, pray for the children and the grandchildren in our ministry. They know more of those kids' names than I do. They pray specifically and earnestly. Stan came up to me a few days ago and said, "How is so-and-so doing?" He asked about a specific request that they had been praying about.

So here is a couple in their seventies. We have people who are praying and believing God. Today, as we talk with our friends from Moms In Touch International, we’re going to be challenged as to how we can pray more fervently, more effectively for our children and our grandchildren.

Hardly a week goes by, sometimes not a day, that I don’t have moms or grandmoms pouring out their heart to me about their concerns for their children and their grandchildren and the fact that they are in such a great spiritual battle.

It is a battle. We’re here to do war and to say we’re not going to let the enemy have our children and our grandchildren. We’re going to claim them for Christ. We’re not just going to throw up our hands in despair and say, “Look at what’s happened to this generation! Isn’t it tragic? Isn’t it a shame?”

I see moms in this room who have had some real significant struggles with some teenage and young adult children. We have prayed together, and I have prayed for some of your children. I know you’re grateful for others who have prayed for those children.

It’s not just your own kids. It’s praying for those children who are represented corporately and saying, “Lord, we believe these children need to belong to You, and we want to see You receive glory through their lives.”

I am so thankful that God many years ago raised up Fern Nichols with a burden for the children; to pray for the children. Fern has been a friend of mine for a number of years. I love to listen to Fern. I love to pray with her. I love to hear her heart. Fern, thank you so much for being with us on Revive Our Hearts and for joining us here in Michigan today.

Fern Nichols: It’s such a joy to hear your passion for prayer and to get this word out. This is life-changing. Thank you.

Nancy: We’re going to hear more about your story and about how God put this on you. I’m sure that thirty years ago you didn’t dream that you’d be seeing what you’re seeing today, with moms all over the world in 120 different countries, praying and seeking the Lord.

But God took a mom and put His hand on her and said, “I have a mission and a purpose for your life.” You’re going to hear more about that story.

But let me introduce our other guest, Marlae Gritter, who is the executive vice president of Moms In Touch. Fern is the founder and president of Moms In Touch International. Marlae has become a friend and lives not too far from our headquarters here in Michigan.

Marlae, thank you for being a part of this ministry and for joining us here on Revive Our Hearts today.

Marlae Gritter: Thank you. It’s been wonderful getting to know you and your ministry and partnering together to encourage women. Thank you.

Nancy: When we talk about Moms In Touch, we’re talking about being in touch with the Lord; in touch with other moms; and in touch with the children and the schools—and a lot of touching we’re doing there in those groups.

But I want to hear from some of you moms who’ve been involved as to what your experience has been and why you’d encourage other moms to get involved in that.

But Fern tell us first—back in the eighties, you had four children. How did God start to birth this vision in your heart?

Fern: It was one glorious day, but I didn’t know it was going to be so glorious when my two older sons were heading off to junior high school. I prayed for them. I’ve always prayed for them from the womb. My husband and I prayed for them. I’m sure I prayed with a few other people for them.

But that one particular morning, as they were heading out to that junior high school, this incredible, huge burden came upon my soul for their very lives. It was like I was sending them into darkness, to surrogate mothers and fathers who may or may not know my Savior.

The influences of the peers in their life—I mean as a mom your mind just goes. If it isn’t corralled in to Jesus in prayer, all of a sudden you can get worried and fearful. It’s a releasing. It’s a releasing of our children to a day that we don’t know what’s happening out there.

I said, “Lord, there must be another mom who feels this same way that we must pray for our kids at this school, for the teachers, for the coaches, for the librarian, for the principal. Everything that touches our child’s life at that school needs prayer.”

I said, “Lord, who would pray with me?”

I knew the power of corporate prayer—that when two or three are gathered together, not only is He in the midst (I mean there’s a special presence of Jesus when we pray together in the Body), but He says, “You pray an agreement prayer and I will answer you.” So I said, “Lord, who is this woman who will come and agree with me in prayer for our kids and at school?”

He laid upon my heart a mom, and her name was Linda. I called Linda and I shared with her my concern, my fear. She said, “Fern, I’d love to get together with you.”

I’d already decided, as a former school teacher, that that hour was going to be an hour of prayer. We weren’t going to talk. We weren’t going to drink coffee. I know. Can you believe that? But we were going to really battle for the lives of our children. Satan wanted them, and we were going to stand in the gap powerfully for them.

We thought of a few other moms that might be interested in coming and praying for the hour. That next week, about five moms met at my home and we prayed that hour in a four-step format. From that humble beginning, which really started selfishly, I guess you could say, for my kids. I wasn’t really thinking of all the kids in the whole world at that moment. It was my two sons and God used that and knew what He wanted to do with that because He wanted all the children of the world prayed for.

Today, almost twenty-five years later, there are almost 20,000 groups in the United States and in 120 countries throughout the world. God is truly raising up a mighty army of moms saying, “Maybe I may not be the best pray-er in the world, but I know the Jesus that I pray to and He will hear me and He will answer my prayer.” That’s how the ministry began.

Nancy: You met in your house. Did you start meeting weekly, initially?

Fern: Yes. Every week we met except for holidays and when the kids are off, even though we pray in our own closets for them.

Nancy: I think moms never stop praying.

Fern: We never stop praying. It’s an unceasing thing. I mean it truly is.

Nancy: But this was a little more intentional and focused in your praying.

Fern: I love you saying that word—it was intentional. Because we need accountability in this area. Not only is there power in the corporate prayer, but there’s accountability.

I know when I was running with my neighbor, we ran a half marathon just because we were accountable to each other, knowing that if I wasn’t out there at 5 a.m., she’d be standing there by herself.

Nancy: Okay, Fern. You can talk about accountability for praying, but let's not get into the running stuff. I don't want any accountability for that. (laughter) Actually, I need some accountability for that. What happened?

Fern: I became stronger and more physically fit. I needed the accountability of that other woman.

It’s like that in prayer sometimes. I really believe that when the Body gets together and you know that other mom is going to be praying for your child—we don’t want to miss out on that.

Then God expanded our vision to other people’s children—the children they would be playing with—their peers. Then we got a list of every child at that school, every teacher at that school.

We really believe that our schools will change no matter if it’s a public school, private school, Christian school, or your little old home school. It will change when lives are changed. We do a lot of evangelism praying in that hour, praying for the salvation of the children and the teachers and the staff.

Nancy: We are now going to talk about how Moms In Touch functions and how we can pray for our children. Let me get Marlae in here for a moment. How did you become involved in getting a burden about praying for children and being involved in Moms In Touch?

Marlae: I was a praying mom—I believed in prayer.

Nancy: How many children?

Marlae: Three children. When my youngest was actually only two years old my sister—it actually came through my sister. Her oldest was in high school. She lived in Texas. I lived in Michigan.

She began to talk about Moms In Touch. I could tell it was something that was really making a difference in her life. I kept hearing it.

She invited me to a Moms In Touch retreat in 1991. I often say, “We know what it’s like in Michigan in February." The conference was in San Diego. I’m not sure my motives were entirely pure, but I went to this Moms In Touch retreat. It was life-changing because at that retreat there were 300 women from around the USA. All weekend I heard, “God did this miracle for my child. God changed this teacher’s heart.”

I was around these women. I said, “Lord, I want my prayers . . . I believe in prayer, but I want my prayers to step-up. I want to have more faith that my prayers as a mom for my children can make difference.” I saw that and I heard that.

God burned a vision on my heart and used a time of confession for myself, in my marriage, actually, that really was life-changing. I caught the vision. God pressed it on my heart that my prayers could make a difference.

I came back—it’s a long story of God’s appointments of meeting people. But God showed me that my prayers mattered as a mom. I just took a hold of that. I said, “I want to do it. I want to learn.” I just began to share with others.

Nancy: It’s interesting, Marlae, that you say your prayers have not only impacted your children, but from the outset, God used your prayers to change your own heart.

Marlae: Very much so. I love the stories we hear from women who’ve been involved in Moms In Touch. Over and over and over, we hear, “I got into Moms In Touch because I wanted to pray for my child.” We’re all there. We want to do that for our children. “But I never knew how much God wanted to change my heart.”

When you’re accountable to another mom, or a group of moms, you begin praying. You begin to learn to be vulnerable. You learn that everybody else’s kid isn’t perfect like you think they are. You begin to see, week after week, and you hear that God answered that mom’s prayer.

I go to Moms In Touch and it gives me hope every week. My prayer life has totally changed. It’s been revolutionary. We hear that over and over. That’s the great side benefit of it.

Nancy: Fern, I know you’ve been for many years now a woman of prayer. How has prayer changed your life?

Fern: It’s changed my life. It continues to change my life. When you grow more and more in love with Jesus and you spend time with Him, you become more like Him. Your desires become, “Lord, I don’t want to do anything that displeases You. I want to love the things You love and I want to hate the things that You hate.”

These four steps of prayer that we use in Moms In Touch are principles of prayer. We call them four steps, but they are just principles of prayer that are in the Word of God.

When I think about the changes that continue to take place in my life—that’s happening and has happened, God continues to show me how to live victoriously in Christ. I’m growing in maturity in the Beloved. I am knowing God intimately because of the attributes that we praise Him for every single week.

He’s so patient with me. When I see where I was, where I am, and where I want to be, I have a long way to go. But He so tenderly takes me each step of the way. What’s been so powerful, I think, about having all these wonderful prayer friends in Moms In Touch is they are so lifelong and so deep.

Many other moms throughout the years have loved my children and thousands have prayed for them. I know why they are where they are today and their families are because of the prayers of many.

Nancy: I’m thinking, Fern, about an illustration that you share, an incident that you share in your book. Your husband went on a canoeing trip with one of your sons. You really saw the importance of being responsive and sensitive to the Lord when He prompts you to pray.

Fern: I’m so glad you brought up that particular story. I think it's when you are intentional about praying and praying for others that your heart really gets in tune with the Holy Spirit. When we confess all known sin, then it's the Holy Spirit who is in control. The Holy Spirit teaches you things that you wouldn't know otherwise. Many times I would confess sin just because I didn't know if my children need my prayer at that time. If I was full of myself, I wasn't hearing what they needed. 

My husband and my son were asked to go on a canoe trip. This was in Canada and it was when the flood season was high, but this fellow that was from our church, he was the canoe man. I mean he’d been down the Frasier River many, many times and he felt it was ok to go.

As they were stepping in their canoe, a group of men coming back said, “Don’t go out. It’s really not a good scene out there. You’re taking your lives in your hands.”

Orley looked at our friend—and not blaming our friend, but the friend was the expert. They got in their boat. As they were going down, it did capsize and they were all in the water. At that time, I was at home; I think I was dusting.

Nancy: Of course, you didn’t know what they were facing.

Fern: No, I just knew they were on this wonderful little canoe trip.

I just had this strong impression of the Holy Spirit that I needed to stop and just pray for the lives of my child, Troy, and husband and the other father and his son so much so that I put everything down.

If you knew me, when I’m headed somewhere or cleaning something, it’s like it’s getting done. But I dropped everything, got the Word of God, went to the book of Psalms and just starting crying out for their safety that God would deliver them. I had no idea what was going on.

Later that evening, my husband called and told me this story. About the time that the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray was when the canoe capsized. They were just thrown from the canoe. The miracle of all miracles was, as I was praying. I believe because God says He sends ministering angels. I don’t know where. I don’t know how, but it is a spiritual wonderful thing that God says He does when we cry out to Him.

I believe that angel kept my son and my husband close together. In fact, when Orley became aware of what was going on, Troy's feet were on top of his shoulders. Then he was able to get up with Troy, and the canoe was right there. What's that all about? The canoe should have been down the river!

The other son and father were a little further away. They connect, and they all got to the boat. They were in the middle of the river. I just so happened that a couple was on the side looking, seeing this whole thing and they called 9-1-1. A rescue helicopter was coming, which they didn't know at the time.

The miracle too is this: In the middle of this Frasier River, there was an elevated piece of land. Their feet just stepped on this piece. The water was over the land. But they were able to get up and out of the water. They were rescued within five minutes.

I will never know until I get to heaven how much different, if anything would have been different, if I hadn't prayed, if I hadn't felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit and stopped what I was doing. The salvation of those four was a result of prayer, of release. Not my great prayers. To intervene in that situation the way He wants—His will, His purposes is a beautiful reminder that we never know when we pray for someone, when we intercede on somebody’s behalf how God intervenes Himself or sends an angel or two or three—I don’t know.

Maybe only one—because the one in the Old Testament it was only one who killed 185,000 of the enemy. I don’t know if you need a whole bunch. These are pretty strong angels.

But to be a part of what God’s heart is for earth, even in your own family on a river; He wants to include us. That’s how sovereignly He’s done it. It’s amazing. Yet, it is our privilege, and it is our command.

He says, “Call unto me and I will answer you, and I will show you great and mighty things” (Jer. 33:3, paraphrase). Hallelujah.

Nancy: Marlae, it’s interesting to me, as Fern was prompted to go to prayer, she said she took her Bible and she went to prayer. As I’ve read about Moms In Touch and how the moms pray, and Fern’s wonderful book on Every Child Needs a Praying Mom, the Word of God really needs to be central in our praying. How do you use the Scripture as a mom, in your prayer times and with the Moms In Touch prayer groups?

Marlae: Amen. God’s Word—I love what God’s Word says about it being living and active. We really take that, and we really believe it. As moms, there are lots of things we can pray.

But what we do is every week, when we come together and get to the intercession time, we literally open up the Word of God and we have it right in front of us. We focus on a Scripture, and we put our child’s name right in that Scripture.

Let me just give an example. I think that’s the easiest. We had a daughter who went through some prodigal years that were very, very tough. The verse of Scripture that I as a mom grabbed on to and in the times when I didn’t know, I didn’t see what God was going to do, was Isaiah 61:3. This is how I prayed with those moms and often prayed also myself.

But I prayed like this: “Lord, I pray that You will bestow on my daughter a crown of beauty instead of ashes.” She was in the ashes. She needed beauty. “The oil of gladness instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

She was depressed. She was sunk. “I pray, Lord, that some day Michelle will see herself as an oak of righteousness, a planting of You, Lord, for the display of His splendor” (paraphrase).

That’s what praying God’s Word—when we don’t know what to pray, is full of promises. God’s Word is what doesn’t return void. It’s what He says. It’s the truth of His Word. We claim it and claim it and claim it for our children. We just stick their names right in it, and it is the most powerful thing.

Not only for us to pray, but to hear another mom agree with me and say my daughter’s name with that verse and agree that God is doing to do this. In my Bible it says, “9-1-2000 answered” right by that verse because God answered that very prayer, and I’m seeing today in front of me those characteristics that I prayed from that verse.

Praying God’s Word has changed my praying. It’s taken it out of “I don’t really know what to pray, Lord. You know what my child needs.” He does know because His Word is full of it.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been talking with moms on the power of prayer. Marlae Gritter is the Director for Global Development for Moms in Prayer International and she will be joining us September 23 for Cry Out! The National Prayer Event for Women.

We also heard from Fern Nichols, founder of Moms in Prayer International and the author of Mom’s Little Book of Powerful Prayers. In this book, you’ll find Scripture-based prayers for different aspects of your child’s life. You’ll find prayers related to their protection, challenges they face, their health, friendships, anger, fears, and a lot more. If today’s program has encouraged you to pray for your kids more, this would be a great way to take the next step.

We’ll send you a copy when you help keep the Revive Our Hearts program coming to you. How can you help? Make a financial donation of any size. Ask for A Mom’s Little Book of Powerful Prayers when you call with your gift of any amount. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Nancy’s here with another way you can follow up on what you heard about on the program.

Nancy: I love how Marlae Gritter talked today about an “army of praying moms.” And I think you’d agree that we need those praying moms as much today as we ever have. Our young people are sorting out what they believe in a world that is sending all kinds of confusing and wrong signals. We need moms—biological moms, adoptive moms, spiritual moms—to be on our knees together asking the Lord to develop conviction about the truth of God’s Word, and that those kids would be an example and a light in a world that is moving further and further from that truth.

Marlae Gritter is going to be joining me and thousands of others on the evening of September 23 for a very special prayer meeting. I’m hoping there will be an “army of praying moms” and other women that will join hands and hearts on that evening to pray together for revival in our land. In fact, I’m asking the Lord to raise up at least 100,000 women to pray on September 23. We're believing that that night might be the launching point for women to stay on their knees, trusting the Lord to revive His people and to move in an historic way in our land. On that evening, September 23, Revive Our Hearts, along with other ministries such as Moms in Prayer will be hosting a free simulcast prayer event for women called Cry Out! 

Here’s how it works. You gather your friends, in your home or church or a venue in your community. You connect with the Cry Out! event through a simulcast online. You just need to have an Internet connection for this to work. I’ll be with a group of about 6,000 women—including Marlae Gritter—who will be praying in Indianapolis, and you will be fully participating right there in your community.

You may have already put together a group. If so, I want to encourage you to go to ReviveOurHearts.com and register that group so we'll know where groups are praying that evening. And if you'd like to find a group in your area, go to ReviveOurHearts.com and you'll be able to find out if there are any groups planning to meet in your location so you could join with one of them.

Please be praying that the Lord would draw more women and more groups to join us and that it will be a historic evening of fervent prayer. Again, you can get all the details at ReviveOurHearts.com about how to participate in this special evening of prayer and how to put together a group in your area. Thank you for your heart to cry out to the Lord for such a time as this!

Leslie: Prayer can be hard. Learn how moms can persevere in prayer tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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