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Prayers for Church Family

Season Your Church Ministries with Intercessory Prayer

When intercessory prayer is woven into the fabric of your church, your ministries can stand strong and do exactly what God calls them to do. Every ministry of your church, from worship to hospitality, from nursery to seniors, from Bible study to softball, has the opportunity to incorporate intercessory prayer. Not only does this help the ministries to grow in healthy ways, but it also allows more opportunities for church members to grow in their prayer lives.

What are some ways you can season your church ministries with intercessory prayer? 

  1. Open and close your ministry's meetings and gatherings with prayer.
  2. Invite the folks participating in your ministry to share prayer requests through the week. Pray together each week (or at each gathering) for those prayer requests. Remember to include Praises of how God answers those prayers.
  3. Designate a volunteer "prayer chaplain" for your ministry, who can follow up on those prayer needs, and who will help your ministry stay prayerful.
  4. Whatever Bible verses you use in your ministry, invite your participants to begin praying those Bible verses together. Do a quick mini-teaching of how to turn a Bible verse into a prayer.
  5. Encourage different individuals in your ministry to lead the group in prayer, so everyone can have experience in praying out loud. Not everyone feels comfortable praying out loud, so don't pressure them and don't put them on the spot. But make it very easy for them to try. (I offer a free, self-paced online class that helps folks get past this fear of praying out loud.) A small-sized ministry group is often the perfect place for people to practice praying out loud.
  6. Get to know the person who coordinates intercessory prayer at your church. Let that person know the best ways to pray for your ministry. You might write out a few "prayer points" that your church's prayer leader and prayer team can pray for your ministry on a regular basis. You can also post these prayer points in your ministry's location, in your written materials and website, or on a church bulletin board. Even better, ask your church's prayer leader to set up a bulletin board where all church ministries' "prayer points" can be listed. (Remember: These "prayer points" are about your ministry in general. These are not the confidential prayer needs shared by your participants, which should only circulate to the group and possibly confidentially to the pastor and prayer leader of your church.)
  7. Ask participants in your ministry to be praying for the ministry at home during their family prayer time. This means not only praying for the people in the ministry, but it also means praying for the ministry itself. Ask them to share with you what God shows them as they pray.
  8. Choose a Bible verse that reflects your ministry in each season of the year. Encourage your ministry participants to pray that Bible verse together through that season. Post the Bible verse publicly in your church so everyone can join you in praying that verse.
  9. Assign "prayer partners" among your ministry participants. This connects two or three individuals or families so they can pray for each other. 
  10. Choose another ministry of your church to pray for. It should be a ministry with a completely different focus than your own. Ask that ministry's leader how you can pray for them. Lead the participants of your ministry in praying together for that other ministry. Watch what God will do. Even better, encourage your church's prayer leader to coordinate all ministries of the church in praying for each other.

Don't be overwhelmed by this list. It's called "seasoning" for a reason. Try one of these first and then add others as you are ready. Mix and match through different seasons of the year. Follow God's leading. But find ways to season your church ministry with intercessory prayer.

What are some ways you have included intercessory prayer in your church ministry? Would you share them with us in the comments below?

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healng. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Get Out of Town

I was reminded the other day that sometimes intercessors need to get away for a few hours. We sometimes need to drive out of town for a change of spiritual scenery.

Of course, I often forget this wisdom in practice. I was on a particular intercessor assignment recently and became overwhelmed. I didn't think about what might be causing this feeling. I just got in my car and drove to another location. After spending a few hours in the other place, I felt completely refreshed and ready to return to my assignment.

Why? 

Often as intercessors we can feel oppressed by the enemy, especially when we are interceding for a situation that involves prayers to change the atmosphere – e.g., if someone has given us authority to pray over their home or land. We can also feel oppressed when interceding for situations in our church or community.

We know the enemy has critters assigned territorially. As intercessors, we often feel their oppression, even their assaults against us. Sometimes we just need to pick up and move out of their territory for a few hours of reprieve.

I used to serve as head intercessor of a church. We were also active in praying for the community. I often felt everything. I had my own prayer cover and so did the church. But sometimes, if you stay long enough, you just feel the oppression. So I used to leave the county sometimes just for a break.

I remember a friend texted me one evening, asking where I was. I told her I was two counties away, enjoying time at a bookstore. I live in a beautiful semi-rural county. Here I was, in the midst of Greater Atlanta, lost in the crowds.

My friend said, "That's the place you chose to find peace?"

I replied, "Yes. Sometimes intercessors just need to get out of town."

See, the territorial critters from my county couldn't bother me there. The critters in that place didn't know me. They left me alone. When I returned home, I felt refreshed and ready to go another round.

I do that every once in a while, just to get a break.

If you are an intercessor in your community, and you feel overwhelmed, see what crossing the county line will do. Maybe you will get a few hours' reprieve and a chance to re-set and refresh.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Symbols of Prayer

If you've ever tried to teach about prayer in a church, you have probably encountered the challenge of teaching about something that is largely invisible. Prayer is not something you can see. We know it works, just like we know gravity works. But we can't see the process with our natural eyes.

Have you thought about creative ways you can teach prayer using symbols? While symbols don't replace the power of prayer, they can offer a visible way to focus on an invisible process.

Also, symbols draw our attention. They elicit questions. They make us curious. 

Like the symbols I just saw in our town square. There is a display of war veterans' crosses and flags. Usually we see these lining our streets on national holidays. But here just a few are displayed, not on a holiday. It might be a Pearl Harbor remembrance, but I'm not sure. Even though I don't know the specific reason, the display drew my attention. It caused me to ponder and explore.

What kind of symbols might you display in your church to help people ponder about prayer?

For a season, our church had a candle displayed in a window. The electric candle, which stayed perpetually lit, represented our prayer vigil for the healing of cancer. At the base of the candle, people could write names of people they were praying for. Whenever someone received healing, they could mark "Healed" across the name.

Not every person interacted with the candle. But people saw it as they walked by. They might have stopped to read what it was about. It was something to keep them thinking about prayer.

Prayer stations are another way churches can use to visibly represent prayer. You arrange an area with items that symbolize prayer. Perhaps include a card that invites prayer or lists some scripture verses to pray. Churches often use prayer stations during special seasons, like Lent. But what if you kept a prayer station up all year? Maybe change out the items to mark the seasons. That's a powerful and visible way to keep people remembering and engaged with prayer.

In prayer leadership, it takes time to get people involved in learning about prayer. The placement of a few symbols around the church can help prepare fertile soil.

What kinds of prayer symbols have you used at your church? What other ideas might you try? Feel free to reply and share your ideas, so others can learn. I would love to hear your creative suggestions about using prayer symbols in churches.

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Grow in Prayer … 31 Days of Prayer Starters

If you would like to grow daily in your prayer life, here are some ways to get started.

These are simple but powerful prayers, and you can choose one each day for a month.

You can even choose just one that is meaningful to you, and repeat it each day. You can add more, from your heart, as you begin to pray. Or keep it very simple and just pray these few words.

What's important is that you are talking with God, and allowing Him to connect with your heart. He will do the rest!

These prayer starters can also be a great way to pray together as a family. Or a powerful way for children to begin their school day.

Expect amazing things to happen as God responds to your heart. God bless you.

1. God, I love You.

2. God, I want to put You first in my life.

3. God, I want to talk with You every day.

4. God, I want to listen to You.

5. God, I want to know You better.

6. God, I want to hear Your heart.

7. God, I want to obey You.

8. God, I need Your help with everything.

9. God, I can't do anything without You.

10. God, help me to love You more.

11. God, teach me how to pray for my family.

12. God, bless my family.

13. God, help the people in my town get closer to You.

14. God, help me get closer to You.

15. God, thank You that You are everything I will ever need.

16. God, help me trust You.

17. God, help me know how much You love me.

18. God, help me see You in a new way.

19. God, help me believe Your Word is true.

20. God, help me believe in Your promises.

21. God, thank You for Jesus.

22. God, change my heart.

23. God, help me experience Your love in a new way.

24. God, fill my heart with Your love.

25. God, grow the fruit of the Holy Spirit in me.

26. God, thank You for my life.

27. God, thank You for loving me.

28. God, help me love people with Your love.

29. God, help me talk with You every day.

30. God, fill me with Your peace.

31. God, help me shine with Your light today.

In Jesus' name. Amen

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Prayers for Sweet Sleep

Several of my friends and I are struggling with sleep. Sleep deprivation is not only exhausting but also unhealthy. We have each tried different remedies – even prayer! – and nothing seems to help. 

One of my friends reminded me that God put us in relationships, and we need to pray for each other. When one of us struggles, our family and friends need to pray, and vice versa. 

So my friend offered to send the three of us a group prayer text at night, praying over us for good sleep. What a wonderful idea! Her reminder was so important: When we struggle, we need to ask folks to pray. We are all in this adventure called "life with God" together, and He has given us the support we need.

What are the things you struggle with, where prayer would help? Who can you ask to pray through those things with you?

Don't be afraid to ask! God created us for relationship, and that means we get to help and pray for each other. You might be surprised that when you ask your family and friends for prayer, they will also share their prayer needs with you.

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Conversation Starters with God

These conversation starters are offered to help you begin talking with God. Set aside 15 minutes of your morning or evening. Choose one of these each day that speaks to your heart … or try some ideas of your own! Enjoy your time with God.

1. Make a list of 3 things that happened today that you want to talk to God about. Take a few minutes now to talk to Him about one of those things. Then sit quietly with Him. You might feel a response from Him, or not. Either way, He is responding to your heart. The more often you do this, the more you’ll begin to notice His response, and how it changes you.

2. What is the highlight of your day that you want to share with God? Share that with Him now.

3. Take out a photo album, or pictures on your phone, or photos you have framed. Talk to God about one or two of your favorite photos.

4. Set a chair for God at your table and share a meal with Him today. Just enjoy that time with Him.

5. What is your favorite thing about YOU? Share that with God, and thank Him for it.

6. Invite God to go on an errand with you today. As you do the errand, keep remembering He is there with you. Can you feel His presence? If that's hard, ask Him to help you be aware of His presence, and His constant love for you.

7. Go to the dollar store; pick up a coloring book and crayons. Color a picture! Smile as you realize God is watching you, and know that He is smiling too as you color. What would you like to talk to Him about?

8. Sit with God. Silently. Just enjoy each other’s presence.

How is that for starters? What other conversation starters can you try out? 

Make it a plan every day to spend time talking with God, and sharing your heart with Him. He loves this time with you, and you will feel so blessed spending this time with Him.

Next, you might want to visit 31 Days of Prayer Starters, as you continue your conversation with God.

When you are ready to go deeper in your conversations with God, the 40-day Amazing Prayer Adventure is waiting for you. But don’t stop your daily conversations with God. It’s the best time in the world.

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Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Karen Castleberry serves as head intercessor at The Highlands Church in Gainesville, Georgia. Join us on our journey to a deeper relationship with Jesus through prayer.

 

31 Days of Prayers for our Children

These prayers were written for Gisele, a little girl in Burkina Faso. As you pray, you can speak the name of the child/children you are praying for, and let's pray together each day for God's love to change these kids' lives … Your prayers mean so much!
1st
God, thank you for Gisele. Thank you for how precious she is. Thank you for how much you love her. God I pray that you will help her to know you better each day. That she will always feel safe and secure in your love. That she will know she belongs to you.
2nd
God, please help Gisele accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Help her to learn your Word. Help her always to walk in your ways. Thank you that Psalm 1 says she is like a tree planted by fresh water, that bears amazing fruit. God bless her.
3rd
God, help Gisele know she can talk to you anytime she wants. Help her to learn how to listen to you, how to recognize your voice. When the enemy tries to talk to her, God, tell him to be silent. Make your voice loud and clear for her, and let her come to love the sound of your voice.
4th
God, please help Gisele’s family with their daily needs. Give them food and shelter, warmth and cool in season, meaningful work, joyful experiences, love in community, and everything else you know they need. Help them to feel your presence and your love daily. Lead them, guide them, strengthen and encourage them.
5th
God, help Gisele to have good dreams at night. Dreams created by you, just for her. Encourage her through her dreams. Let her see your power and love. Inspire her. Help her to follow your path. Give her visions of how amazing you are, and how precious she is to you.
6th
God, help Gisele smile today. No matter what is going on, no matter what she experiences, help her to smile, just for knowing that you love her. Fill her with the joy that comes only from Jesus. Sow seeds of the joy of the Lord deep into her heart.
7th
God, thank you that your Word says in Zephaniah 3:17 that you sing over Gisele. Help her to hear your song of love for her. Teach her to sing in her heart back to you. Let her spirit dance and soar. Fill her to overflowing with your love. Let her day be blessed.
8th
God, help Gisele to learn and grow as your child. Let her know that you have an amazing plan for her life, and that you will help her to walk on the path you’ve set for her. Give her the daily nourishment – in body, soul and spirit – that she needs to thrive as your daughter. Let her know that she matters to you, that your heart is for her, and that she is the great love of your life.
9th
God, help Gisele to see you in nature. To see your presence, your fingerprints, your handiwork all around her. Whatever she sees today – trees, flowers, grass, clouds, sky – let her see you in all of them. Fill her with awe and wonder, as she recognizes that you are right there with her. Your Word says in Hebrews 13:5 that you will never leave nor forsake her. Fill her with that assurance today, deep in her heart, and seal it with joy.
10th
God, let Gisele enjoy ordinary experiences today. The stuff of daily life – help her to find your presence in it. Let her enjoy just sharing her day with you. Help her family, as well, to put you front and center of their daily life. Strengthen them, God, and let them know that every part of their life matters to you.
11th
God, as your Word instructs in Matthew 6:33, help Gisele and her family to seek you first, today and every day, in all things. Help them turn to you for answers, for encouragement, for comfort. Give them your wisdom and direction. Let them know that you want to be close to them, and help them draw closer to you.
12th
God, thank you that you are Gisele’s provider. Help her to learn to trust in you, that you will always provide what she needs. All she has to do is ask. Don’t let her fall into discouragement that she lives in a place of poverty. Let her know that you are more than able to provide all she needs, and that you love her so much.
13th
God, give Gisele hope for the future. Stir excitement and peace, deep in her spirit, to know that you have planned an awesome life for her, and that you will see her through it. Help her, day by day, to take each step as you lead, and to grow as your precious child.
14th
God, your Word in 2 Timothy 1:7 says Gisele has not been given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and sound mind. Help her to not be afraid. Help her to trust in you. Silence the voice of fear, and bring her freedom and peace. Help her to sleep through the night peacefully, as your precious daughter. Give her strength each day to face every circumstance, knowing you are right there with her, and she does not need to be afraid.
15th
God, help Gisele learn that she is a valuable part of your kingdom, the Body of Christ. Give her ways, even now, to serve others. Help her to follow your lead, and serve in ways that bring her joy and grow her gifts. Teach her even at a young age how to be a servant leader. Help her to wash the feet of others, just as Jesus did, by thoughts, words, and actions.
16th
God, surround Gisele with godly people to instruct, mentor and guide her, and to encourage her daily. For her family and the folks who teach her in church and in school, give them your words of life to speak over her. Help her to flourish as your daughter. Keep her in safe, healthy community in the Body of Christ. Let her know how much she matters to you.
17th
God, keep Gisele in good health. Protect her from the diseases and environmental toxins in the land where she lives. Speak life daily to every cell of her body, and fill each cell with the joy of Jesus. Help her to grow strong and healthy, and teach her the things she needs to know to live a healthy life. God, please provide what  is needed to bring good health to her family and her whole community.
18th
God, give Gisele safe, fun things to do each day. Even when she is working – at chores, at school – help her to have fun. Let her spirit sing and dance. Let her find joy, even in the mundane, even in the difficult things. True and lasting joy, from the Lord Jesus Christ. Help her to carry that joy in her heart, that others around her will be affected as well.
19th
God, teach Gisele that she carries your Holy Spirit everywhere she goes. Help her to know that she is a lantern of your goodness and peace, that she can change an entire atmosphere, just by being herself. Don’t let her conform to the ways of the world, and don’t let her feel pressured to perform for you or for anyone. Help her to know it’s enough to be your child, and to be just the way you made her. Help her to know that your presence in her will help those around her.
20th
God, help Gisele discover the unique gifts you’ve given her. Help her to see where she fits into the Body of Christ. Help her family and teachers to recognize and encourage her unique gifts, and not to try and fit her into a mold. Help her to live and thrive in true freedom and joy, as your daughter.
21st
God, help Gisele know that nothing is impossible for you. Help her to grow through each challenge she faces, and to see how you show up each time. Help her to rejoice in thanksgiving and praise for all that you are, and all that you do in her life. Teach her how to praise you at all times, in all things.
22nd
God, help Gisele’s community to be safe and thriving. Fill her whole community with the presence of your Holy Spirit. Give wisdom to the leaders of the community, and to the spiritual leaders of each family. Help them to make wise decisions and to be good stewards. Give Gisele a sense of peace and hopefulness, to know that you are working on behalf of her whole community.
23rd
God, fill Gisele with an excitement and desire to learn more about you, and to grow closer to you. Teach her how to grow and live in relationship with you. Help her to share you with others, in whatever ways you’ve equipped her to share. Let her relationship with you become as much a part of her life as breathing. Let her rejoice in your presence.
24th
God, fill Gisele’s life with laughter. Give her good friends that she can laugh with, and play with, and enjoy each day with. Help her family home to resound with laughter. Even as she grows older, help her to keep the childlike joy you’ve given her. Let that joy spread through the land like wildfire.
25th
God, when Gisele has difficult days, let her know you are there. Let her know she matters to you. Wash her clean of all traumas, all fears, all sorrow, all discouragement. Fill her with your unshakeable peace. Let her know that her tears matter to you. Help her to learn how to ask for you in all difficult times, and to trust and know that you are there.
26th
God, let Gisele know you are fighting for her. That she doesn’t have to be enslaved to the lies of the enemy, or to the poverty that surrounds her. Let her know that you are moving mountains on her behalf. Give her the courage to step into the life you’ve created for her, and not to be knocked down by the enemy, or by her family’s past. Loose the generational blessings that you’ve intended for her family and for her nation.
27th
God, give Gisele a voice in this world – the voice you intend for her. Help her to learn how to use her voice, by the strength and leading of your Holy Spirit. Let her know that what she has to say matters, and will be heard. Prick people’s ears and soften people’s hearts to listen to the way you speak through her. Give her favor in all areas where you want her to speak. Help her to know when to speak, and when not to speak. Give her the courage to speak truth in love as you lead.
28th
God, give Gisele’s family the assurance of knowing how much you care for her – as well as for them – and that they don’t need to worry. That you will provide all she needs. That you will fulfill your plan in her life. Help her family to believe your words in Jeremiah 29:11, that you know the plans you have for her, plans to prosper and not to harm her, plans to give her hope and a future. Help her family to praise you for all that you are doing in Gisele’s life.
29th
God, help the wealthy nations of the world to respond to your call to help the people of Gisele’s nation, and other nations in poverty around the world. That the Body of Christ will grow stronger and purer around the world, lifting up each other and loving each other to life. Let those who have enough trust you in sharing what they have with other children and families in Gisele’s community and nation, and in other places where poverty is deep. Dramatically increase the number of children around the world who find sponsors to help them, to hope for them, and to encourage them.
30th
God, help Gisele to know that you are her best friend. Let her know that you would love to talk with her every day, about whatever she wants to talk about. Let her know that you cheer her on each day, and that you love to celebrate with her. Help her to feel your comforting arms around her on the tough days, when things don’t go right, when she gets discouraged. Help her to know you’re a friend she can count on through all things, and that you will always be there, forever, loving her.
31st
God, let Gisele know that Jesus died for her to live forever with you. To be reconciled with you, and forgiven for her sins. Help her to know the power of the cross in her daily life, and that she does not have to live in a yoke of bondage. That freedom in Christ is your gift to her. Keep her in a healthy Christian church that has life, that walks in godly ways, in genuine relationship with you, in active service in the community, in discipleship and missions. Help her to find her place in the Body of Christ, and to be encouraged and excited about her life, and about her eternity with you.
IN JESUS' NAME. AMEN

 

Pockets of prayer

Pockets of Prayer

There are certain stretches of highway that I love driving. One runs through Macon, Georgia, and another through Gainesville, Georgia. Those I travel frequently so I'm aware of them. But I believe many other pockets exist.

These are pockets of prayer on the highway. The result of someone(s) praying in that vicinity for years. It may be a church. It may be an individual. It may be a business. It may be a family. But someone is praying. A lot.

The best way I can describe the feeling of driving through that area is Peace. Rest. Exhale. An awareness of nothing but God's presence, all around. A lifting of every burden. A reminder that His Kingdom is real, and now.

When you pray, your prayers not only change your heart, your family, and even the world with the ways you're inviting God to move. Your prayers affect the atmosphere around you. Spend an hour just sitting in God's presence, soaking Him in, then go to Wal-Mart. You might not see the results but I guarantee you that people's lives will be affected for the better that day.

It's like the scripture verse where people were healed as Peter walked by and his shadow brushed over them (Acts 5:15). When you pray, you affect the atmosphere and the people around you in the very same way. They may not know it's your prayers that just brushed over them, but what they will know is an awesome encounter with the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ that day.

I could sit all day in those pockets of prayer along the highway. It is so refreshing. One of them is good for local business – I always stop for gas there, because I can spend more time breathing in that Peace of Christ. 

Do you love to pray? I'll bet you have a pocket of prayer around you and don't even know it. Keep praying! The world needs your prayers. God bless you.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Praying for families in your church

One of my favorite prayer times is going through the church directory and praying for families.

If you would enjoy praying this way, here is a simple way to get started.

Open your church directory and ask God to draw your attention to a family's name. Or go alphabetically, one at a time.

Start with just one family.

Place your hand over their name or photo.

Pray this prayer for them:

God, thank You for this precious family. Bless them, Lord. Help them feel Your love for them today. Thank You for meeting their needs and for drawing them closer to You. Encourage them, strengthen them in Your love, and give them peace. In Jesus' name. Amen

I guarantee you they will feel your prayers, like a wave of peace washing over them. They will know God is with them, and how much He loves them.

Your church family needs your prayers today. Thank you for praying.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Summer prayer for our children and their families

Dear God, I pray for our Pre-K-12 students and their families, as they transition from school to summer. Give children and parents a smooth transition and a joyous, safe, nurturing summer. I pray that every child has the meals, the daily care and protection they need for the summer. Help each child with their summer reading. Be with our graduating seniors during this big change, and with our Pre-K, 5th and 8th graders as they move up to the next school. Bless our teachers and school staff. Give them rest and renewal. Give each child good friends and amazing experiences this summer, and help them discover more about You. Thank You for watching over our kids and our schools all year. In Jesus’ name. Amen

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.