Anne Broaddus, Director Columbus Avenue Baptist Church, Waco, Texas
Davina Pennington, Regional Director, South and Southwest, Kids Hope USA
In 2009 our principal asked us to pray for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders as they took the state mandated tests. She assigned each child a number on a master list of student names, sent me the numbers to hand out, and our Kids Hope Pray-ers concept was born! As we prayed, we prayed with confidence that God knew exactly which child each number represented!
The big surprise came months after testing. I would receive messages via text or email: I’m still praying for #1-5 . . . praying for #299 & 300 . . . #150-160 . . . praying for #18. The messages came from far and wide! God’s people were praying for a group of children they’d never met – pounding on the doors of Heaven on behalf of these little ones – adding their voices to those of mentors and prayer partners as we interceded for the children.
God’s word in 1 Samuel 12:23a, is a stark reminder to keep on interceding “…far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you.” To be sure, there are days we fall short and fail to intercede, but on so many other days, God’s people can be found praying for thousands of precious children across our nation.
One of those pray-ers is Virginia, the former mayor of our city, who became a champion for Kids Hope USA soon after our program began growing in Waco. Sharing a passion to help vulnerable children, the two of us soon became good friends. So, in March 2019, when we were looking for a pray-er for each child taking the state mandated tests, I contacted Virginia! And without hesitation, she asked for 8 children to pray for through the March-April testing.
“Anne, know that I keep my students on my calendar and pray at 6:30 every morning. Their names are the first I see when I wake up! I will continue to pray for them during the summer, praying that they will be safe from harm, eating, playing, reading and sleeping well and hugged daily. I thank you for ‘introducing them to me…’ The children are one of God’s precious gifts to our community.”
That August, Virginia reached out again. “I do hope [the students] have had a good summer and are ready for school to begin! I still pray for them at 6:30 each morning.” The following August 2020, 1½ years after her first assignment, Virginia emailed again to let me know she was still praying for the students daily.
What a gift each prayer partner and pray-er have been to our Kids Hope ministry! Prayer is a solitary effort, but I believe it may be the most important component of our Kids Hope USA mentoring ministry! Through the years, we’ve been allowed to see God at work producing abundant fruit in children’s lives, including a number of high school graduates whose mentors are still with them, rejoicing at milestones, giving thanks for their relationship and of course, praying always!
Virginia’s small church began a KHUSA program and she fulfilled her dream of mentoring a child at a local elementary school! Our God can move mountains. Our God does move His people to love and mentor the children, but God also moves us to intercede on behalf of them!
O Lord, hear our prayers.