The Voice: Winter 2001

The Voice

Gritter leads Moms in Touch

by Sonya Jongsma Knauss

Every Tuesday morning, Marlae Gritter ('79) asks her children if there is anything she can pray about for them. They know that Tuesdays are the day she meets with Moms in Touch, a group of women that gets together once a week to pray for their children and their schools.

Gritter has been involved with Moms in Touch for nine years, and has recently been named the national director of coordinators for the interna- tional women's organization, an interdenominational prayer group. In its sixteenth year, Moms in Touch is made up of 30,000 groups of women throughout the world who meet together every week to pray for their children and their schools.

Gritter got involved with the group after attending a Moms in Touch prayer retreat in Texas with her sister.

“I had heard about the group earlier from Focus on the Family, and I thought it sounded like a great idea, but I didn't do anything at that point,” she said. She describes her experience at the retreat in Texas as “life-changing,” explaining that even though she grew up a Christian and had always believed in the power of prayer, she had never seen prayer work so clearly.

“I saw something different that weekend,” she explains “women who really believed in the power of prayer and knew their prayers really mattered. I heard all weekend long what God was doing in response to their faithfulness to pray in their lives, in their children's lives, and in their schools.”

Gritter went home to Holland, Michigan, committed to starting such a group in her own community. Now, nine years later, in part because of her work, fifty-five out of Holland's sixty or so schools have Moms in Touch groups praying for them every week.

Gritter's role with the organization has changed over the years from an informal organizer to her current, part-time staff position where she helps develop strong leaders. She works to arrange contacts in each state to oversee the state's program, and she encourages them to find a coordinator for each city someone who would try to coordinate a Moms in Touch group for each school in the city.

While Gritter admits this is a monumental task, she notes that about one-fifth of all the schools in the nation have Moms in Touch groups praying for them. The organization's goal is to have a group for every school in the United States by the end of 2003.

“This goal has really given us impetus and urgency,” she says. “We want to have a specific group for each school so the moms can really focus on that school.” There are approximately 150,000 schools, private and public, in the United States.

Moms in Touch is a group equally committed to praying for private and public schools, Gritter emphasizes. She says public school parents who are Christians often see the need for prayer for their schools as obvious, but sometimes Christian school parents don't see the need right away.

“I believe Christian schools need prayer just as much,” Gritter says. “We pray constantly in our Christian school groups that our Christian schools will be 'distinctly Christian,' not just in name, but in action and planning that they will be places of spiritual aliveness and Christ-like- ness.”

The format each Moms in Touch uses is fairly standard each school's group meets once a week for an hour, and they usually meet at a member's home. The women start out the hour with praise, discussing one attribute of God, reading a passage that deals with that attribute, and praising him for it. Next, they silently confess their sins. After confessing, they thank God for what he's done and for how he has answered specific prayers in the past. Finally they intercede for their kids, the schools, and the teachers.

“We have a specific Bible verse we pray for our children each time,” Gritter said. For example, where it says in Ephesians 4:29 “do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,” the women would pray for their child by name, that no unwholesome talk would come out of his or her mouth.

Gritter says learning to pray scripture was a new thing for her when she got involved with the group, and she appreciates it. When she gets home on Tuesdays, she types out the verse she has prayed for each of her children and leaves it on their pillow so they know what she has been praying on their behalf.

While some dads have expressed interest in being part of prayer groups for their schools, Gritter says the organization is really for moms. She encourages dads who want to pray for their children and their children's school to form prayer groups with other dads.

Gritter says the women are very intimate in prayer with each other, and many moms find that not only are their prayers answered on behalf of their children and their schools, but they have been changed as well.

“What I hear over and over again is, 'I never knew how much God wanted to change my heart,'” she said. “God has changed the lives of many women because of their prayers.”

The ministry has also changed the lives of teachers. A few years ago Gritter got a call from a middle-school teacher in her area who wanted to thank the group for their prayers. “Please don't stop praying for me,” she asked. "Your prayers are my lifeline as a Christian teacher in the public school.”

Moms in Touch also has a “Words and Deeds” aspect to their ministry, in which they encourage women to do little things for the teachers and the school bring a plate of cookies or some apples, anything to let them know they're appreciated.

“Teachers have a tough job today. There's so much we should do to support them,” Gritter said.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about Moms in Touch or in forming a Moms in Touch group may call 1-800-949-MOMS or look up the group's website at www.momsintouch.org.

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