Praying for Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes

Today we are praying for Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes, a ministry that has been in existence since the late 1800s! It was founded by the efforts of Rev. John Stewart in Evergreen, AL in 1891. It moved to Troy in 1923. In 1997 its administrative offices relocated to Birmingham. Today, they have offices in Birmingham, Decatur, Dothan, Oxford, and Mobile.

Their ministry started expanding as early as the 1920s to include ministering to the whole family, desiring for children to be able to stay in their own homes with their biological parents whenever possible. Pathways Professional Counseling, which is a part of that endeavor, opened in 1995. They now offer professional counseling services to children and their families in over 35 locations.

The president and CEO is Rod Marshall. He began ministering with ABCH as a counselor in 1995, overseeing the development and growth of Pathways Professional Counseling. He began serving as the president/CEO in 2012. He and his wife have been married since 1988 and have 2 young adult children. You can find out much more about Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes and the staff, as well as ways to get involved, on their website.

Heavenly Father, thank You for letting us call You Abba, and for adopting us as Your children through Jesus’ death and resurrection. You are the perfect parent, who promises to never leave us or forsake us. You will never fail. You are faithful, unchanging and Your love is everlasting. You are near to the broken and You are a faithful Father to the fatherless. And Jesus, our Advocate, is ever interceding for us at Your right hand.

Therefore, with Jesus, we lift up the children and families that ABCH ministers to, and we agree with the prayers that He is praying for them. We declare that You have plans to bless them and prosper them, and they have a future and a hope in You (Jer. 29:11), and we ask that You would bring those plans to pass in Your perfect timing. Father, we pray that You would bind up their broken hearts, and bring them into a place of peace and safety. Please supernaturally protect every child that is in a dangerous home or situation. Send Your angels to protect those who cannot protect themselves. We pray that these children and their families would experience godly AND civil justice. For those who haven’t experienced civil justice, we pray that their hearts would not be embittered, but that they would experience the justice of God on their behalf, even after the justice of man has failed them. We pray that these children would become sons and daughters of God, and that You would use the pain and difficult experiences in their lives to become a trophy of grace for their good and Your glory.

We pray for Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes to be able to continue what they do and how they do it. Continue to raise up donors and volunteers, as well as trusted counselors and staff as the need for those arise. Thank You, Father, for the faithful service to our children this ministry has provided for over a century in Alabama. That is a testament to Your provision, protection and guidance. We pray that You would continue to guide this ministry into all that You have called them to do, and that You would protect them from the attacks of the enemy, from becoming weary in the face of all the heartache they deal with, and from their own flesh. Guard their hearts and minds in Christ. Protect this ministry from wolves in sheep’s clothing, and give its leadership divine discernment and wisdom.

We specifically pray for Rod and the team that partners with him. Give them the strength and the grace to walk in integrity, giving honor to You in all that they do. Use them to stand in the gap and to defend these children who cannot defend themselves. Cause them to seek Your face as they serve families across Alabama, so that You can maximize their capacity to serve. Give them favor so as to create God-ordained partnerships with churches and like-minded, Holy Spirit-led ministries and organizations so as to increase their capacity to follow Your call on their lives and on their ministry.

Father, let Your will be done on behalf of children and families, and on behalf of ABCH, as it already is in Heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

We need to also remember to lift up foster families/parents in our prayers. Would someone care to post a prayer for them in the comments section?

Praying for Aaron’s Staff Respite Care Ministries

Whew! I’m used to May being a very busy month with all the end-of-the-school-year events as well as all the events for the extracurricular things that also wrap up with the school year, but this year, the craziness hit us in mid-April, and it seems we’ve been playing catch up ever since. That is not a good excuse for going so long between blog posts, though, and for that I apologize. We are starting a series where we will focus on praying for some of the local non-profits around the metro-B’ham area. Let’s get started with a ministry I heard about a few months ago at our church’s mission’s conference, Aaron’s Staff Respite Care Ministries.

According to their website, Aaron’s Staff is a nonprofit Christian ministry that provides respite care to support the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of children with disabilities and their families. This ministry was founded in 2010 by Rhoda and Tim Trimble, and was named in memory of their first-born child, Aaron, who was born with a severe case of cerebral palsy. They operate out of the Shelby County area with the help of volunteers and donations. They have a fantastic program where once a month, parents with special needs children can drop off their children, their special-needs child and their siblings, and enjoy an evening to themselves. They also have some amazing ideas for how they would like to expand their services as the Lord allows them to in the future. Be sure to check out their website for more information, or to volunteer or make a donation.

Exodus 7:12 – “For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.”

Yes, I know that seems like a very odd verse to choose for our prayers, besides the obvious reference to Aaron’s staff. Possibly because it’s late when I’m writing this and my brain is loopy, but it made sense to me. Let me explain: Pharaoh’s magicians used their staffs as symbols of power, authority and fear, and as instruments in their dark magic. They probably used them to harass, oppress, and intimidate their enemies. Aaron’s staff represented God’s power and authority, and indirectly, His care and plan for His people. The enemy’s power was swallowed up by God’s. Likewise, while God has entrusted these precious children to their parents, the enemy would seek to overpower them, discourage them and intimidate them, with his ultimate goal to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). But God has raised up ministries, like Aaron’s Staff Respite Care, to help overcome the plans of the enemy against these families. Does that make sense to anyone besides me? I hope so, because I think it’s awesome! So let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, Ephesians 3:15 tells us that it is from You that every family derives its name. A name is an identity. You have given us the identity of being Your children by adopting us as sons and daughters through Your Son’s blood. You have given us identities by placing us in the families You ordained for us. It is Your good and Sovereign plan for us, and we can trust that plan, even when it can be hard.

I’m trying to pray for the ministry first, but the Holy Spirit isn’t letting me. We have to pray for the families they minister to, first, for some reason. So Lord, we lift up the families for which Aaron’s Staff was created. You have called them to love on a level that not many can even understand, much less experience. Their children are a precious gift, and we praise You for them. Yet, it also comes with a great deal of responsibility that can be wearying. And there is an enemy waiting to take advantage of their weariness to discourage them and ultimately to destroy them. Jesus, we ask that You would raise up the standard of Your blood against every plan of Satan against these families. Strengthen them with power through Your Spirit in the inner man so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith (Eph. 3:16-17) Thank You for ministries like Aaron’s Staff who raise up that standard to remind these families that You are for them, and You overcome the enemy on our behalf.

We pray for and bless the staff and volunteers at Aaron’s Staff in the name of the God our Father. We pray that You would provide all the resources they need – money, volunteers, equipment, etc. to not only continue what they are doing, but also to be able to grow in all the ways You have called them to grow. We pray that the love of Christ would flow out of them to the children and families they minister to. Protect the children while they are in their care. Let no harm, sickness or danger come to the children, to the extent that it can only be described as supernatural protection.

I keep “hearing” the word “increase” (and I am very leery of people claiming increase on everything), so Lord we humbly ask that You would bring increase to this ministry. Increase their volunteers. Increase their financial capacity. Increase the number of families they can minister to each month. Increase the resources they can provide to families. Increase protection for the children, the families, and the volunteers. Increase their support structures. Most of all, Lord, increase Your glory through Aaron’s Staff, and advance Your plan and Your kingdom in the lives of these children and families.

We pray for all these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Please join us in praying for this ministry by posting your prayer or a Scripture in the comments section. I would especially love to read your prayer and agree with it if you have a loved one with special needs. I want to know how to pray better for you.