A mom. She’s a provider, an encourager, a nurturer, a pray-er.

A pray-er? Maybe it’s not the first thing many people think of, but being a praying mom is a high priority for tens of thousands of women in this country and around the world.

Weekly, through the ministry of Moms in Touch, International, these women assemble in groups of two or more to pray specifically for their children and their children’s schools, with each group identified by the school or schools it prays for. And two of these groups meet right in the Lakes Region.

As area coordinator for the organization, Windham resident Gayle Clarke says she’s witnessed answers to prayers from the group, although many of them cannot be shared publicly because of their confidentiality. Clarke believes that if a mother brings her concerns for her children and their schools to God in prayer, that it will result in a “positive difference in the way a child’s school career goes.”

“I pray because I believe God does answer prayer,” she said. “I believe God wants his best for our children and their educational process.”

Following specific prayer guidelines, each Moms in Touch group meets at a member’s home for one hour every week. Their four-step prayer process begins by praising God for who He is. Praise is followed by confession, a time of silent prayer. After confession come prayers of thanksgiving – a time to thank God for his answers to prayer. And the last of the four steps is intercession – praying for the needs of their children, teachers, schools and for the Moms in Touch organization.

Raymond resident Diane Shively is a member of the group that prays for Windham High School, Windham Middle School and Raymond’s Jordan Small Middle School. Shively says she appreciates the structure of the prayer time.

“I think it conforms our hearts and requests with God’s will,” she said. “And God really knows what’s best for the school and the children. That way, we’re not just praying for what we want but for what is truly the best.”

Shively first discovered Moms in Touch when she attended a National Day of Prayer event in Windham. Feeling that God was “calling (her) more to prayer,” Shively tried to slow her life down a bit to allow her to focus more of her time on praying.

Although a definition for “feeling called by God” can be hard to pin down, Shively compares it to having an interest or a hobby.

“Every time you hear about it (the interest) you think, ‘ooh, I’d like to do that,'” she said. “But the other piece to that analogy is the idea of having that feeling and then making sure it’s substantiated by the Bible.”

While some moms might “feel called” to pray for their children, they might not all be as eager to pray for teachers and schools. But the Moms in Touch groups believe that intercessory prayer for them is crucial.

“It’s about encouraging faculty and staff – not criticizing,” Clarke said. “We realize what an important charge they have. We pray for God’s wisdom and guidance in their days. They don’t just teach their subjects – they’re social workers, too.”

Part of that encouragement comes in the form of what the group calls Words and Deeds. Members periodically write notes to teachers, letting them know they’re appreciated and that they’re being prayed for. They also bring in snacks or baked goods for the faculty and staff to share.

“We try not to be intrusive in the schools,” Shively said. “But I’m in fairly regularly because of the children and their activities so it helps me to know what some of the needs of the school are.”

Often, faculty members will share anonymous needs with a member of a Moms in Touch group. Often, members of the group will ask for prayer regarding a confidential issue. Consequently, an essential element of each group is the need for discretion.

“What’s prayed in the group stays in the group,” is a central theme, written on every Moms in Touch prayer sheet. Members must know that they can trust the others in their group not to pass along what was shared in private.

Those interested in joining a Moms in Touch group can get more information by accessing their Web site, www.momsintouch.org, or by calling area coordinator Gayle Clarke at 892-4461.

“I like Moms in Touch because it’s Christian but it’s non-denominational,” Shively said. “It’s for any mom who has a heart to pray for her kids.”

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