With school starting Aug. 18, Sara Major of Hillsboro is hoping to raise awareness about a prayer organization designed to bolster children, teachers, administrators and others at area educational institutions.
?Moms In Touch Inter?national began in 1984 when a California mother of four was concerned about her two oldest children starting junior high school,? Major said.
Twenty-five years later, the organization is represented in all 50 states and 140 countries with more than 150,000 mothers gathering in any of the 20,000 meetings held weekly to pray for the safety and protection of their children.
Prior to moving to Hillsboro, Major and husband Bruce lived in Salina for five years, during which she first learned about the prayer group.
?Our children weren?t in school yet,? she said.
But last year, she and two other mothers started a MITI group to pray for their children and others at the elementary school.
?I think it?s the only group in Hillsboro and Marion County that I know of,? she said.
While praying for children isn?t a new concept, the MITI prayer hour does take it to a different level.
In order to ensure sufficient time is allotted for someone?s child and all the other school personnel at a particular building level, Major said the hour-long meeting is divided into four steps of prayer: praising God, thanksgiving, Scripture passages and silence for confession.
?After we pray for our children,? she said, ?we pick a teacher, principal, bus driver, kitchen staff, para-professional, superintendent, etcetera, to pray for.?
Major said she also prays for specific issues the school might be facing, for example, safety during school field trips, flu-season or budget decisions.
?Each of these things or people are picked each week, so that by the end of the school year we have possibly gone through the list twice,? she said.
Mothers or grandmothers can start a group anywhere except on school property, she said. Gatherings focusing on homeschool, preschool, special-needs children, faculty, teachers, colleges and career meetings can be formed.
Major and her small group meet once a week between 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m.
?For working moms who can?t do morning meetings, maybe evenings or on the weekends is better,? she said.
Major decided to start a group when her child entered school. Sometimes children are nervous or scared about their first day of school because everything is new.
MITI offers mothers a way to pray not only for their children, but also for the teachers, counselors, principals, superintendent and others who have a direct impact on them.
?There are no costs involved,? she said, ?and a group can start with two or more women.?
Each group prays for their children and schools. The group also is committed to starting and finishing on time.
Major said her group allows an extra 15 minutes to get situated so the moms can give a solid hour to prayer.
Major said she hopes multiple groups will begin appearing in Hillsboro and Marion County.
In addition to praying for children, the group can also provide spiritual help to the participants.
Even though it?s difficult to measure the groups? impact on the thousands of children, teachers, schools and parents since 1984, many MITI participants say they believe God is answering their prayers.
The organization is not-for-profit and non-denominational.
For more information or materials on how to begin a group, Major encourages women to call her at 620-947-5985.
Gayle Hadden, Kansas State Coordinator for MITI, is another person to contact for starting a new group. Her number is 316-636-9543.