“We had a friend of one of our daughters ask to come over for dinner one night,” she recalled. “We had a nice conversation and then she looked at us and said she wanted to know what it meant to be a Christian.
“When God is the authority in your life, He gives you the opportunity to have these experiences.”
Helping find a friend of her college-aged daughter to lead to Christ was an intentional prayer for Wilfong, one of countless others she said have been answered during her affiliation with the women’s prayer group Moms In Touch International (MITI).
Wilfong is the Indiana state director for MITI, in charge of recruiting, developing and, of course, praying for and with new and existing members. MITI focuses on a process of prayer for children and schools, elementary through college, public, private or homeschooled.
“It’s a remarkable feeling to be able to pray in a corporate setting with other women,” Wilfong said. “With Moms In Touch we stress that you don’t have to feel like you’re being judged. Everything we pray about is meant to stay in our group.
“Kids are kids and they’re going to do all kinds of goofy things. This is safe and confidential. It’s wonderful to be able to lift your concerns up together in prayer and know someone is not going to think of you as a ‘bad mom’ because of something you or your kids are going through.”
MITI is in its 25th year, founded in Southern California by former first-grade teacher and Campus Crusade for Christ missionary Fern Nichols. Nichols began the organization as a response to concerns many parents go through when their children enter adolescence.
“My two oldest sons were going off to a public junior high and I felt this deep burden on my heart for all the peer pressure and the things they were going to encounter that could pull them away from God,” Nichols said. “I prayed to the Lord to help me find another mom to pray with to share some of the same concerns I had.”
Her prayer was answered as she found another mother in her neighborhood with similar concerns. Through word of mouth this mushroomed into an hour-long small-group prayer session in her home.
“This was something I took quite seriously,” Nichols said. “The idea wasn’t that I was going to serve refreshments and we were going to sit around and chat. This was serious prayer lifting up real concerns.”
MITI saw its membership and its mission catalyzed by appearing on the radio with James Dobson and Focus on The Family in 1988. In a time long before e-mail and social networking, MITI received 24,000 responses in a short period of time from women across the country that had the same concerns about their children specifically and kids in general, Nichols said.
In the past two decades MITI has planted seed groups around the world.
“There is no way I ever thought from the humble beginnings of one prayer that this would become a movement in 120 countries,” Nichols said. “It has been an exhilarating journey with the Lord.”
Prayer groups are structured so that women go through a deliberate four-step process–praise, silent confession, thanksgiving and intercession. Intercession includes prayer time not just for children but also for teachers and other school personnel.
“When our kids get older and they’re involved in band and other activities, they spend most of their time at school,” said Nichols, whose husband is also a former educator, teaching and coaching in high school. “We have got to keep not only the kids, but the teachers and coaches and others covered in prayer for all the hard work that they do.”
Similar to Wilfong, Nichols has her own set of testimonies of answered prayers running the gamut from stopping bullying to preventing abortions. Prayers related to dating and relationships also have made a direct impact in the life of Nichols’ family.
“When my daughter Trisha was in high school there were two guy friends she hung around with,” Nichols recalled. “These were two boys who we prayed for their salvation. She asked if we could take them to a (Campus) Crusade event in San Diego. Through that event, one of the boys decided to receive Christ.”
That boy, six years later, became Nichols’ son-in-law and he and her daughter now have two children together.
“We have to pray that our children marry other saved people and accept Christ’s love in their lives,” Nichols said.
That, and thousands of other prayers, are what MITI is hoping will be spoken on Nov. 14th when the organization celebrates the 25th anniversary with its “Arise! Cry Out!” event, where it aims to link women physically and spiritually together around the world in prayer.
“We want women through their churches and groups and with friends to come together in prayer and lift their concerns to the Lord,” Nichols said. “We need people to realize how important it is that we need God in our lives.”
Back in Indiana, Wilfong added that the event is an opportunity for women of all ages to unite in prayer and perhaps become familiar with MITI. She is also encouraged by seeing the daughters of MITI moms join the organization, helping the group grow generationally.
Ultimately though the best way she has seen for the membership to expand is the same way it did originally in California, by word of mouth.
“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard of moms becoming involved by talking in Bible study or at their kids’ baseball games,” Wilfong said. “So many of these meetings end up being answered prayers for the women involved.”