Guest columnist: Moms can lift each other with prayer

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 12, 2019

By Marlae Gritter

Mother is a word that instantly stirs our hearts and universally evokes noble thoughts of love, sacrifice and serving.

Mothers across the nation and throughout the world are putting these virtues into action by investing an hour every week to pray for their children in Moms in Prayer International groups. The purpose of this international, interdenominational prayer ministry is to encourage mothers to meet to pray regularly for their children and the school they attend. Their vision is that every school in the world would be covered with prayer.

Rowan County now has a connection to Moms in Prayer in 162 countries. Until recently, I have served as director for global advancement, and now, Joshua Musser Gritter, my son, has moved to Salisbury with his wife, Lara, as senior co-pastors of First Presbyterian Church.

The Moms in Prayer vision is a meaningful one — “Impacting children and schools worldwide for Christ by gathering mothers to pray.”

It’s focused, specific and needed in today’s culture, and it taught me that the most important legacy I can leave for my family is prayer.

It’s also changed my life. I’m not sure where I’d be today without my weekly prayer meeting, where other mothers have loved my children by praying the very words of God over their lives.

And what about where our schools are at today? Talk about the need to pray for the teachers, administrators and anyone having a touch on the children walking the halls of the schools.

I have had the great privilege of leading many international women and helping them develop groups in their countries. No matter the culture, language or the socioeconomic status, a mother’s heart beats the same for her children. And when she learns to pray with other mothers, she receives much needed hope. I’ve heard that testimony over and over.

Joshua, our youngest son, wrote me a letter while he was in college thanking me for praying for him since he was born. He shared with me a thought that I believe is profound.

”Mama, you have spent your entire life filling my heart and life with scripture prayers. Because of this, I can be confident that when I open my mouth to speak, his very word will come out,” he said.

Not long ago, my husband and I were able to hear our son Joshua preach, and I sat there with such a grateful heart, seeing in front of me so many answers to prayer for my son’s life.

These words are from Joshua, as he reflected on many years of being prayed for:

“Every week of my childhood, for as long as memory takes me, my mother laid Bible verses on my bed for me to read. Whether I was on life’s mountaintop or in the valley of the shadow of death, these words — still do — have held me before God. I suppose one of the odd things about prayer is that the one being prayed for doesn’t often know they’re being prayed for. With my mother, Marlae, these little slips of paper bore witness to a life lived with an unwavering trust in God’s faithfulness. So not only did I know I was covered in prayer but I learned that prayer requires a beautiful trust in the living God. When the days get hard, I still send her prayer requests. I’m pretty sure God has a ‘Marlae phone’ that is answered with some regularity.

“One of my favorite pastors, Eugene Peterson, says that prayer is first an act of listening. First, we let God’s stories and word in scripture speak loudly to us, and in listening, we then learn how to respond. I don’t know if I’ve seen a morning where my mother’s Bible was not opened. Prayer for her has always been first an act of listening to God and then speaking to God.

“To pray for someone is to love them. My mother taught me that, too. She would always tell me about the other moms who were praying for me. Often these were women who didn’t know who I was. To pray for someone you do not know is to live in a world that is expansively held in the arms of God, and to live in a world where God truly so loves all things—even the things that rebel against God.”

Don’t “mother” alone. It’s too hard. Join or start a Moms in Prayer group and begin to agree weekly with other mothers and grandmothers in prayer. I promise neither you nor your children will be the same.

For more information on Rowan County Moms in Prayer groups or to find out how to start a group for your child of any age, contact Barbara Hendrix at 704-213-4776 or

Marlae Gritter is former director of global advancement for Moms in Prayer International. Her son, Joshua Gritter, and his wife, Lara, are co-senior pastors at First Presbyterian Church in Salisbury.