Moms pray with confidence in the unchanging character of God and His promises for their families.
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. Hebrews 11:17-19
I’d always heard that adolescence was the worst time to move a child away from what’s familiar, given the many changes already going on in their bodies, hearts and minds. But God called our family to move from our quiet and simple life in Kingston, Jamaica, to quite a different existence in Tokyo, Japan when our son was 13 and our daughter was 10. It was not easy.
Years earlier, when my husband’s foreign service life began, we had entrusted his career, my career, our family and our kids to the Lord, but each step of the journey has required a deliberate and counter-intuitive act of faith. It was through the hills and valleys of this journey that I truly learned who God is and learned to lean on Him in prayer.
So, we said goodbye to our two much-loved dogs, our home, family, friends, and our church and Christian community in Kingston – everything that was comfortable – and headed to Tokyo, having no clue what to expect.
With less than 1% of the Japanese population identifying as Christian, less than 0.005% identifying as black, and the plane ride about 22 hours long, we knew that this posting was going to present challenges, especially for our kids. But we decided to put our faith into action and trust God, knowing that if He called us to this, He who loved our children more than we ever could, would protect and take care of them.
I was consoled by the story of Abraham, who knew and trusted God enough to obediently offer up Isaac as a sacrifice, and I also treasured in my heart the promise in Isaiah that tells us that our Heavenly Father takes special care of those who have young. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11
By God’s Grace, Tokyo turned out to be the place where our children grew to know and love the Lord in ways that we could’ve never imagined. As a family, we attended an international Bible study each week and we joined a vibrant, caring, Bible-believing church, serving people from every tribe, nation, and tongue. Through church, I met three moms and we formed a Moms in Prayer group.
We started meeting to pray for our kids every Monday morning for an hour. It is this discipline and practice of consistent, rain or shine prayer, that saw us through many struggles.
One of the Moms in Prayer group members in Tokyo was grieved that her teenage daughter, who used to thrive academically and athletically, had lost her joy and purpose in life and had started skipping school and being dishonest to her parents and teachers. We prayed for this girl and witnessed the Lord protect her from danger, soften her heart over time, and bring her back from a path of rebellion. Now, she is attending and thriving in school and is happily engaged in the life of her family.
Our kids survived and thrived because God is Faithful. Soon, other moms joined us and our numbers grew. I never expected that Tokyo would be the place where God would raise up this army of praying women.
My prayer life before Japan, although I’d known Jesus for a long time and knew the Bible well, consisted of short, urgent prayers in times of need. It was through Moms in Prayer and Regional Coordinator Kari Miyano’s faithful training that I learned to begin my prayer time with Praise, focusing on the character of God, the importance of Confession and the freedom that comes when we clean the slate regularly, and Thanking God for what He is doing, especially in the middle of difficult situations.
The order and discipline of Praise, Confession and Thanksgiving transformed my heart over time and led to a place where I was able to experience peace, joy and confident expectation as I moved into my prayers of Intercession. No longer was I praying frantically for my kids. Instead, I started praying from a position of certainty in the unchanging character of God and peace in knowing what He had promised.
I started to boldly intercede on behalf of my kids, knowing that no matter how difficult or impossible the situation may seem, the Sovereign Creator and King of the Universe who loves me, my husband, and my children with an unfailing love, who never sleeps or slumbers, is never late and never wrong, always good, always faithful, always true and is always working good on our behalf, is 100% taking care of the situation and will not fail no matter the obstacles.
My husband and I have been back home in Kingston, Jamaica for 15 months. It’s been another big life transition, but we are choosing again to trust God. Our kids are at a university in Canada, so we are empty nesters. Another new season is here. Our children are far away and we miss them very much, but the Lord, through Moms in Prayer, has taught me to pray.
And God has given me the joy of reuniting with the moms I left behind in Kingston. He has allowed me to form and lead a Moms in Prayer group of 10 moms who pray by Zoom every Monday night. One of the moms in our group has a young adult daughter who suffers from depression, and more recently, had issues with alcohol abuse and suicidal thoughts. The Lord has heard and answered urgent prayers for the protection of her daughter and slowly but surely, this mom is witnessing a softening of her daughter’s heart and greater stability in her life. Her daughter even attended a Bible study with her over the summer.
Far away from all that was familiar, I learned to pray. I grew to know and depend on Jesus like never before. I hung on to His every word. I reminded Him of His every promise. And I prayed with other moms for our kids, asking God to protect them and soften their hearts so that they would know the love of Jesus above all else.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
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Suzanne Allicock is the Moms in Prayer (MIP) Contact Person for Jamaica. Suzanne and Ricardo, her husband of 23 years, are empty nesters with their son and daughter both attending university in Canada. She joined Moms in Prayer in 2014 while living in Tokyo, Japan and now leads a weekly college & career group. Suzanne enjoys gardening, reading, Bible study and all things active and adventurous.