blogs at EducationPost.org
How did a New York City news reporter end up founding a teacher prayer ministry in Chicago? In one word: God. After graduating from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and spending six years as a reporter for publications including People, Time, Newsday and The Journal News, Marilyn Rhames knew that God was calling her to do something more. She returned to her Chicago hometown in 2002, and earned a masters degree in teaching from National Louis University in 2004. A prayer ministry was planted in Marilyn’s heart later that year when she got her first classroom.
Like most teachers, Marilyn soon realized her limitations in meeting the needs of every student in her classroom. She spent many hours crying about and praying for her struggling students, particularly for the uncooperative pupils whose anger reflected their hostile home environments.
In the 2007-2008 school year, 27 Chicago Public Schools students were murdered in the streets. The following school year 36 students were violently killed. Marilyn wanted to do something—anything—to try to stop the violence. God lead her to invite a few teachers to pray in her classroom once a week after school. After a month of powerful prayer sessions, she gained the courage to ask the entire teaching staff to join in those prayer meetings. A few more teachers did. In the process, Marilyn discovered that one teacher was a victim of domestic violence, another was anxiously awaiting the results of a serious medical test, and another had been secretly longing to know Jesus Christ. The teachers needed prayer just as much as their students did! By the time school ended, God had answered three major prayer requests sent up by the teachers.
In the spring of 2009, Marilyn asked four educators from four different schools to help her organize Teachers Who Pray. Pastor Jonathan Brooks, Laurie Bryant, Lisa Hinton, and Sabrena Davis all eagerly agreed, declaring it a privilege to serve the Lord in this capacity. They strongly believed that every public school should have a TWP chapter.
So in a nutshell: In 2003, the idea of Teachers Who Pray was born. I gave TWP its a name in 2007. I officially incorporated it in 2011. A secular nonprofit gave me seed funding in 2017.
As you can see, God took His time forming Teachers Who Pray. Some days it felt like a pipe dream. But through it all, I learned to trust in Jesus!
Thank you so much for joining TWP’s spiritual movement to transform schools from the inside out! You, my dear praying teacher, are literally a dream come true!