Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Power of a Mother’s Prayer

Episode Resources

Watch "The Mighty Influence of a Praying Mom: Rhonwyn Kendrick's Story."

Leslie Basham: As we approach Mother’s Day weekend, listen to this letter from a mother who is preparing to take her family to a potentially frightening place. This mom wrote to Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Woman: I have long considered you a mentor/mother in my life. My own mother directed me to Revive Our Hearts when I was just a teenager, and we often would listen to it together.

Over the years Revive Our Hearts has had direct spiritual impact on my life many times. I’m now thirty-four years old and on the brink of my biggest life transition yet. My husband and I are moving to South Korea to serve as missionaries.

We have three children, ages four, two, and sixteen months—and I’m expecting our fourth baby in June. I’ve been listening to your podcast late into the night as I pack and organize our life into just a few boxes and suitcases.

I can’t even express how much of an encouragement it has been to listen to the series on Titus 2:1–5 during these last weeks, as I prepare our family and my heart to follow God’s call around the world.

I was actually sorting clothes and trying to make decisions about what to ship to Korea for my kids to wear next season as I heard you say that a woman reflects God’s own character as she takes care of her family’s practical needs.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth (from "God's Beautiful Design for Women"): When you go to the time and the effort to be sure that your husband and your kids have adequate clothing that fits . . .

Woman: In that moment, I just stopped folding and praised God that He would speak encouragement to me so directly!

Nancy: What you’re doing is pointing them toward the One who clothed us in His righteousness. You’re giving them a taste for heaven, a taste for the gospel, a taste for Jesus.

Woman: These words were rich with blessing for me in that moment, and the weariness turned to rejoicing and thankfulness.

There is so much ahead for our family. Korea has some of the highest suicide rates in the world—the highest among teenagers—because the pressure to excel is so intense. We are eager to live out the beauty of the gospel in a culture that places a heavy emphasis on worldly success and physical beauty. Jesus is the hope and treasure we long to share!

Every day, my mission field is waiting around my kitchen table—my very own unreached people group—their little faces highlighted with peanut butter and giggles. The view from our Korean apartment on the eighteenth floor is an urban landscape of skyrises and will be a precious reminder of why God has placed us there—to be a light in the darkness.

Someday I hope to meet you in person and thank you for faithfully answering God’s call on your life. I’m grateful to have a place where I can go for solid biblical teaching and encouragement as I follow the journey God as given.

You can know that as you go to sleep each night, God is using your ministry to bless people just beginning their day on the other side of the world. As you wake up to begin the next day know that as I end my day, I’ll be praying for you and the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. 

Nancy: When you support Revive Our Hearts, you’re not just donating to a ministry—you’re providing a lifeline to this young wife and mom learning to navigate a new life in South Korea. You support Revive Our Hearts so we can pour into this woman, so she can pour into those with needs in her new area of ministry.

Did you notice that sequence began with “your support”? That’s crucial! Yet, donations from our listeners have been lower than expected over the last six months, and Revive Our Hearts is facing some significant budget challenges.

That’s why here in the month of May we’re asking the Lord to provide $830,000 so we can avoid making deep cuts in our core ministry outreaches. You can help Revive Our Hearts to continue pouring into the life of this woman getting ready to head to South Korea—and countless more like her.

Visit ReviveOurHearts.com to make a donation at this important time, or you can call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Brokenness: The Heart God Revives, for Friday, May 12, 2017.

Nancy: As we prepare for Mother’s Day weekend, we’re going to focus on the power of a mother’s prayer. You’ve probably heard about the brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, producer and director of movies like: Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and War Room.

Today, we’ll hear about an unsung hero in their lives. I first heard this story from Stephen Kendrick as he shared about his mom, Rhonwyn Kendrick, and how God had used her prayers in his life.

Our team traveled to Mrs. Kendrick’s home some time ago and shot a moving video of this story. You can see that video at ReviveOurHearts.com. As you listen to these next few minutes, I hope you’ll consider the ways that your prayers could help change the next generation.

Leslie: On April 13, 2013, Rhonwyn Kendrick wrote a very specific prayer on a sticky note. She wrote it down but didn’t tell anybody. Now, remember the sticky note, because you’ll hear about it again.

She planted that sticky note in her Bible, in faith that—if it were God’s will—He would bring the request about.

A lot of Mrs. Kendrick’s life is spent planting seeds in faith that something beautiful will grow. That’s true for prayers—and it’s also true for literal seeds.

Rhonwyn Kendrick: I love being outdoors. I guess it’s part of growing up on the farm . . . planting something and then just watching it grow.

Leslie: This is Rhonwyn Kendrick’s son, Stephen. 

Stephen Kendrick: You can take the girl off of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the girl. She goes out and works outside all the time.

Mrs. Kendrick: For the spring garden, we planted green beans . . .

Stephen: It’s therapy for her.

Mrs. Kendrick:. . . sweet potatoes . . .

Stephen: It’s a joy for her . . .

Mrs. Kendrick: . . . squash . . .

Stephen:. . . to get her hands dirty and see something bloom.

Mrs. Kendrick:. . . zucchini . . .

Stephen: She has transformed her back yard from an ugly backyard into something very beautiful over the years.

Mrs. Kendrick: Last year I tried corn. That didn’t work!

Leslie: Mrs. Kendrick not only cultivates her garden every day. She also cultivates a close relationship with the Lord.

Mrs. Kendrick: In the mornings I like to take my Bible and I go to my kitchen table. I put my Bible on the table, and I stand. If I stand, I don’t doze off. And I just start praying.

Leslie: Mrs. Kendrick uses a lot of Scripture when she prays.

Mrs. Kendrick: In the mornings I like to read Psalm 23: “The Lord is [our] Shepherd, [we] shall not want . . .” And then, Psalm 25: “Show [us] Your ways, O Lord; teach [us] Your plans” (v. 4). Deuteronomy 28: “We’re blessed in the city, blessed in the field; blessed is the fruit of our body . . .” (vv. 3–4 paraphrased).

The verses in Psalm 34: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. . . . They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing” (vv. 1, 10). Psalm 37: “Delight thyselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (v. 1).

“This is the day the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24). Isaiah 54: “All of your children shall be taught of the Lord” (v. 13). I have quoted this for years. Galatians 3: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law” (v. 13). Psalm 91: “[We] will say of the Lord, He is our refuge . . . He covers [us] with his feathers, and under his wings [do we] trust” (vv. 2, 4).

Leslie: At a young age, Mrs. Kendrick discovered the power of prayer in a very dramatic way. 

Mrs. Kendrick: I was six years old; this was on April 1, 1948.

Stephen: A tornado came, and it hit their property where there was a farm.

Mrs. Kendrick: I remember Mother taking my sister Carol and my sister Bonnie and me, and she put us under the kitchen table.

Stephen: She says she remembers looking up and watching her mother cry out to God!

Mrs. Kendrick: I remember her just crying out to the Lord; she was just crying at the top of her voice, askin’ the Lord to protect us! 

Stephen: A few minutes later, the sound died down. They walked outside, and all around them there was devastation!

Mrs. Kendrick: The roof to our barn, which was next to the house, was blown off.

Stephen: And they never found that roof!

Mrs. Kendrick: Two huge oak trees in front of our house, across the highway, had fallen down.

Stephen: Power lines were down in the front yard. The church across the street was rocked off of its foundation, but their house was left intact—and preserved.

Mrs. Kendrick: Our house was not touched! I think I learned from that that we need to be able to call on God anytime, in any circumstance and that God is near, that He loves us. I saw a very quick answer to prayer!

Leslie: When Rhonwyn married Larry Kendrick and began a family, prayer was a big part of their daily lives.

Mrs. Kendrick: Before our children were born, my husband and I prayed over them, that the Lord would have His will, His way with them.

Stephen: We heard the Word of God, growing up. Some of it we would memorize in Sunday school, some of it was at Christian school that we went to in our later years, and then at home we were hearing God’s Word quoted.

Our mom often would say, “Our children will be taught of the Lord; and great will be the peace of our children. No weapon that is formed against them shall prosper, but their righteousness is of the Lord. . .and whatever they do will prosper, for they will be like trees planted by the rivers of water” (see Isa. 54:13 and 17, and Ps. 1:3).

They would just incorporate Scripture into their prayers over our lives.

Leslie: Stephen Kendrick remembers the way his mom used to pray for him and his brothers before school.

Stephen: We heard Psalm 91 just about every day, it seemed, going to school, growing up. We would be in the car and she would make it personal. When Mom would personalize the chapter, she would say, “We dwell in the secret place of the most High: we shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. We will say of the Lord, He is our refuge, our fortress: our God; in Him will we trust. Surely he shall deliver us from the snare of the fowler, from the noisome pestilence. He will cover us with His feathers; under His wings we will trust” (see Ps. 91:1–4).

And then, she would go through the whole chapter, as we’re in the car: “Only with our eyes will we behold and see the reward of the wicked. A thousand may fall at our side, ten thousand at our right hand; but it will not happen to us” (see Ps. 91:7–8).

At the end of the passage it talks about the Lord’s blessing and protection over our family. Having sons caused my mom to pray for protection a lot. She would pray Psalm 91 protection over us as we would be out in the woods—swinging on vines, trying to be Indiana Jones as kids.

A mom could look at her children saying, “I’m trying to protect them and keep them safe”—but your prayers will go with them. There were many times where we almost died as kids, growing up—runnin’ the car out into the street, driving it as a three-year-old. I backed the car out in the street two different times.

Over the years, the things that we have experienced . . . But Mom was always praying for us behind the scenes, asking the Lord to put His angels’ charge over us and keep us safe. And so you may be looking at your kids thinking, I’m so worried or fearful about them because I can’t always be with them wherever they go.

Well, the Lord is with them and His guardian angels can be charge over them. When you pray for their protection, they’re in the Lord’s hands, and you can rest at night knowing that He has a better plan than you do for their lives.

Mom and Dad made prayer a part of everything they did. We’re not only praying before meals, but we’re praying before major decisions. One thing that we would see in our parents was, they wouldn’t hold back in their prayer lives.

They wouldn’t pray just small prayers, but they believed that God could provide, He could protect, He could do things. So, there was a sense of, “The Lord is able to carry us through this and provide what we need.”

Leslie: Today, all three of the Kendrick brothers—Shannon, Alex, and Stephen—are involved in filmmaking. Their films include Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous. On the set of each film prayer has been a crucial part of their process.

Stephen: All five of the films that we have produced have really been a string of one answered prayer after another. We’re praying as we’re writing. We haven’t had the script writing training so we’re laying it before the Lord, saying, “Would You enable us to develop these characters?”

As we’re casting, we’re praying over the casting process. Every day on set, we’ll have a prayer team be part of that: “We’re dedicating today to the Lord.” And then, we have prayer warriors that we will email each week and say, “Here’s how you can pray for us; here’s what’s coming up.”

We have seen again, consistently, that when we bathe things in prayer, when we fight our battles in prayer first, the Lord is faithful to answer those.

Leslie: Their most recent film, War Room, went to number one at the box office. It was specifically about prayer.

Stephen: We didn’t know what was going to happen with it, but War Room was more successful, the impact has been even more far-reaching than the other films. We can see now that the timing was perfect for a call to prayer to the church!

Leslie: War Room shows the relationship between a younger woman learning how to pray from an older woman—Miss Clara.

Stephen: I think the character, Miss Clara, was the combination of many godly elderly women that we’ve known over the years, and our mother is definitely one of those who helped inspire that character. Oftentimes, we’ll call and we’ll say, “Mom, here’s what’s going on. Here’s how we need your prayer support.”

As we’re travelling, as we’re working on production, she’s praying for us—and we consistently see the rewards of that. You can sense sometimes, “There’s somebody who’s been praying for me.” I am so grateful for a praying mom!

Leslie: Over the years, as her sons gained a national platform to speak about the Lord, Mrs. Kendrick has preferred to stay at home. She’s been spending her time caring for her husband, who’s been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, praying for hours in her kitchen, and—of course—working in her garden!

Stephen: One thing that we saw happen, though, is she would be out there working hard by herself—she’d be carrying buckets and she’s in her seventies! She'd carrying fertilizer and those kind of things.

We would say, “Mom, you need to be really careful! If somethin’ happened to you, since you take care of Dad, you know, it could be tough on everybody! We want you to be safe and to be healthy, and to be in a good place.”

I woke up on a Saturday morning, the day of her birthday, and I sat up in bed, and I had this strong feeling that I needed to go buy Mom a golf cart. So, I called my brothers and my dad and I said, “A golf cart’s thousands of dollars. What if we all pooled our money together and got her a golf cart?”

And they all said, “Yes, let’s do it!”

So we all went over to Mom’s house—all nineteen grandchildren were over there—mom and dad were there. We said, “Mom, we have a birthday gift to give to you.” So we took her outside, we said, “We need you to close your eyes,” and we pulled this golf cart around.

Mrs. Kendrick: In just a couple minutes he said, “You can open your eyes.”

Stephen: She opened her eyes and then . . . mom started to cry!

Mrs. Kendrick: He had driven up in a red golf cart. I looked at it, and it was hard to believe.

Stephen: She said, “I just can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!”

Leslie: Now, do you remember the prayer that Mrs. Kendrick wrote on that sticky note I told you about it earlier in the program? She had written it down about a week before her birthday. When she received the golf cart, she went and got that note out of her Bible and read it to the family.

Stephen: And it said, “Dear Heavenly Father . . .”

Mrs. Kendrick: ". . .based on John 16:23, I ask for a golf cart for my birthday. I ask for a golf cart in excellent condition, a beautiful golf cart that I will love. So I’m asking You, Lord, if you would give me—for my birthday—a golf cart.”

Stephen: She had prayed that and written it down and not told anybody. It was just between her and the Lord. We were so excited! We brought all the kids around and we said, “Listen to this! Mama K was praying for a golf cart for her birthday. She didn’t tell anybody, and this morning, the Lord prompted us to go buy her a golf cart!”

God can do whatever He wants to—He is Sovereign. There are times in Scripture when you see David praying for the baby to not die, and it dies. Or you see Paul saying, “Remove the thorn.” And the Lord says, “My grace is sufficient for you in this situation.”

The Lord can veto any prayer that we pray. He has every right. In His loving mercy and kindness, He chooses to do what He knows is going to be for our good and His glory. But we see in Scripture that He has the heart of a loving Father. He does not withhold anything good from His children.

Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not withhold his own Son . . . will he not freely give us all things?” Jesus repeatedly would use the analogy of a loving Father when He was discussing prayer. When we come to Him, He wants to give us good things. When we are right with Him, and we’re asking for good things, He won’t hold back.

God’s timing is always up to Him when it comes to prayer. There are things that we would pray for and the Lord answers right away. There are some times when it’s like planting a seed, when you pray and you wait and nothing happens for a while.

It may be months, years, decades down the road before the Lord decides to answer that prayer in His perfect timing. Alex and I had been praying for the Lord to be glorified through our lives; our parents were praying over us as we were growing up.

He had a vision for making Christian movies one day—a dream that he wanted to do that. But it was over a decade later, after he was praying, before the Lord answered that prayer and enabled us to make Christian films.

When we look back now, we weren’t ready when we were young to do that. But God’s timing is perfect, and we can see that all the years of ministry, serving in the local church, studying the Word of God was helping to prepare us to be able to make movies that hopefully demonstrate biblical accuracy but also a sense of a love towards God and a fear of the Lord, and the discernment of what is appropriate, in the film.

I would say to young moms that if you know Jesus and you will get right with Him and be in a daily abiding relationship with Him, you are positioned through Christ to approach your heavenly Father with boldness and with freedom. 

Ask for the moon for your children. Ask the Lord to do more than you can ask or imagine. Whatever is in your heart, lay that before the Lord. Pray for their protection, pray for wisdom. And find Scriptures that you can stand on, and pray those before the Lord.

Just keep knocking on heaven’s door with those requests. God loves your children more than you do, and He will be with them throughout their lives, beyond your influence and beyond your control. But your prayers will go with them.

The Lord can do wonderful, mighty things through your kids, if you will trust the Lord with them. I am so grateful for a praying mom! We don’t deserve it. We don’t deserve all that she has done for us, but we are grateful for her.

Oftentimes we will call and we’ll say, “Mom, here’s what’s goin’ on. Here’s how we need your prayer support.” Or, "Will you pray for our protection in this situation?”—and she will. We’re very grateful for what God has done through her!

I believe the enemy is attacking in a greater degree. Evil is upon our generation. We cannot rely upon our best efforts or just the human counsel that we have around us. We have to be relying completely upon the Lord for our children and for our grandchildren—watching God take them and do with them more than we could ever imagine or do on our own.

Leslie: You’ve been hearing the story of one specific answer to prayer, but what’s striking when you get to know Mrs. Kendrick is that this kind of thing happens all the time. She has a lot of stories of answered prayer, just like this golf cart.

The golf cart story just illustrates a bigger principle: that God hears our prayers. Mrs. Kendrick and Stephen both realize that we need people who will be crying out in prayer like never before!

Mrs. Kendrick: I believe that God wants women to pray over their homes, pray over their husbands, to pray over their children every day—that God will have His way, will have His will with us.

Stephen: When we look at our country, we look at how dark our world is right now—how the Church, with broken wings, is sick in so many ways—it is “for such a time as this” that I believe the Holy Spirit is calling people—and calling women—back to prayer . . . for their husbands, for their children, just like our mom has done for our father and for us over the years.

My prayer is that God will grant repentance to the Church across the nation and that as believers are praying, the Holy Spirit will move in, in power, and change hearts and shift the course of our country!

Mrs. Kendrick: [speaking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election] This is probably the most important election that we’ve ever had, and I think we need to cry out to the Lord!

Stephen: Believers right now need to be humbling themselves and seeking the Lord, crying out to Him in prayer, and I believe that we’re going to see a great harvest in our generation.

Nancy: Well, we’ve been hearing about the power of a mother’s prayer from film producer Stephen Kendrick and his mom, Rhonwyn Kendrick. I think that story can encourage us in a few different ways.

First, it reminds us that we have a God who actually listens to our prayers. He cares about a mom who needs a golf cart to get around her property . . . and He cares about you!

Second, each of us can go the throne of God on behalf of others just as Mrs. Kendrick did. If you have children or grandchildren, you can do just what she’s done by lifting then up to God in prayer. And even if you don’t have your own children, you can still be crying out the Lord for the next generation.

I pray that the Lord will raise up thousands of women just like Mrs. Kendrick, who will daily, consistently cry out to the Lord to revive His people and to bring about a spiritual awakening in our day!

On this Mother’s Day weekend, I hope you’ll show your thanks for your mom and for other important women who’ve helped to shape your life. And would you pray for Revive Our Hearts? We’re facing a significant budget gap right now, and we need to see the Lord provide in a big way over these next few weeks. You can get all the details at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: On Monday, we’ll explore "Faith Frontiers" with Dan and Melissa Jarvis.

Melissa Jarvis: Surrender is not a one-time choice—it’s a lifestyle. So this is not just one time saying “yes.” It’s just a constant, like, “I’m going to keep saying yes to the things that God prompts my heart to do.”

Dan Jarvis: So, along the way, that did lead us to try to make our home into a haven for kids in need. It ended up defining our whole future and building our family. We’ve ended up adopting six kids out of foster care.

Leslie: Where would you boldly go if no fear were to hold you back? Join us for that Monday, on Revive Our Hearts. 

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth celebrates praying moms everywhere. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.