Form a deeper connection with God, more empathic connection with other Moms, and more intentional connection with your child.
Becky: Welcome to the Connected Mom podcast, where we have real conversations helping you to connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child. I'm Becky Harling, your host. And you know, I have my amazing co host with me, Sarah. And Sarah, I've been thinking a lot about how vital it is in this day and age to pray for our kids, no matter how old they are. You've probably experienced that as well.
Sarah: Yes, I'm in the thick of it. I have a seven and nine year old, and I think our time is precious. Our time is precious with our kids. But it also reminds you that it's fleeting. And that man, we really need the Lord's help, and we need him to be guiding them in their life. So if I think about it too long, Becky, I start getting stressed. So prayer has been very helpful to just go, no, Lord, these are your children. And I'm doing my best. So that's actually summed up the last few days for me, in all honesty.
Becky: Yeah, well, thanks for your honesty. We always say here that we have real conversations. Right, Sarah? We want to be real. And I know for me, even as a know, my kids are grown, there are nights where I will wake up and I have one of my kids on my mind or one of my grandkids, and I'm kind of stressed. And the first thing I always do then is go to prayer. Because it's like, okay, God, you're here, so let's talk about this. And I learned along the way to pray Scripture, and that's where we're going today.
Tara is the founder and president of Knowing God Ministries
Becky: I love our guests today, so I want to get to the point, about introducing her. I met Tara last year, I guess, when she invited me to come and speak at her, Knowing God Ministries Women's conference. So Tara is the founder and president of Knowing God Ministries. She's real. She's very real and very fun. You're actually really going to love her. And so for over a decade, she's been a sought after speaker for women's groups and conferences across the ages and across denominations. And I love that. And whether she's giving a keynote address or whether she's leading a retreat, tara inspires women to make a difference. And in her conferences, she's encouraging women in prayer. So Tara wrote this amazing little book called Simple Prayer. And Tara, welcome. I love your book. So we're going to talk about that today.
Tara: Great. I'm so happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
Becky: Yeah, well, you're amazing. I had a lot of fun with you in North Carolina. You're going to hear Tara's accent, and it's amazing, and it's just fun to listen to her talk.
Tell us a little bit about your faith journey, about your family
Becky: but Tara, tell us start by telling us a little bit about your faith journey, about your family. Let's start there.
Tara: Well, so I grew up in the Bible belt going to church every week. but God was that was just we checked it off. We checked off the box. Right. But then tragedy hit. My family and my mom and dad separated. And during that period of time, I saw my mom really take her faith to the next level. from really that season on, I cannot remember a day that I did not see her with her Bible in the morning, reading her Bible and having a prayer time. And I watched the Lord put my family's marriage back. I mean, my mom and dad's marriage back together after nine months of being apart. But I waited. Well, I accepted Christ as a child, but it really was not until after college that I really began to wonder about my mom's faith. Until then, I really just kind of wanted just to go to I was just going to church. And it was just one of those things that you just checked off the box. You went to church and you kind of got your gold star for the day. But then when I got married and after college, I just was like, there's something different about my mom's faith. And what is it? And it was because she knew the God of the Bible and she lived it out. And I wanted it. I wanted that same kind of peace that she had.
Becky: Wow. I love that. And I love it because we're a mom podcast. So that gives you a glimmer of the impact you can have as a mom, right?
Tara: For sure. Listen, the difference a woman can make in her corner of the world is huge in her family. I could go on and on about that subject. So I'll wait for you.
Your daughter was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and that prompted powerful prayer
Sarah: So in your book talking about being a mom, you mentioned that your daughter has an autoimmune disease, and that really prompted you toward powerful prayer. Do you mind sharing a little bit about that journey?
Tara: Yes. she was two years old when she was diagnosed with this autoimmune disease. And we were told that she might not live. And, of course, it was beyond devastating. It was so scary. And at the time, the Lord had brought this woman into my life. She was my next door neighbor, and her name was Susie. And she was an older woman, but so wise in the Lord. she was a Bible teacher. And, I remember calling her the day that I got this news, this diagnosis. And, she said, Tara, we are going to pray. And she put together a group of women, and I didn't even know some of these women. And I was invited to come over to her house. And we got on our knees and they prayed. I sobbed, they prayed, but their praying was different. And I didn't know what it was. I mean, I prayed, but something was different about the way they prayed. And then I had another group of friends. I was in Bible study fellowship at the time. I had another group of friends. And this one friend would pray with me. And she kind of prayed, like, this group of friends, but those groups didn't know each other. Well, later on, I figured out they're praying the Scriptures. And praying the Scriptures is not hard. The scripture is our sword. They were getting out their sword and praying the Scriptures on behalf of my daughter. And I watched God move so many mountains. It just mountains in response to so that is what really charged me to pray the Scripture, because the Scripture is like adding. I remember Susie, I call her my Titus woman, when she explained to me tara when we pray the scriptures, it is like launching something more powerful than an atomic weapon into the circumstance, into the person's life, into the person's heart. And so she was really the one that gave me a vision for praying the Scriptures.
Becky: I m love that there's so many things I love about that.
Tara: God placed an older mom next door to me when I was younger
Becky: It's hard to decide which question to ask you at this moment. But I think something that I want to capitalize on right now is that you were a younger mom, you had a two year old, and God had placed this older mom next door to you. Tara, why do you think that it's so important for moms of young kids to have mamas that are maybe older and a little farther in the journey spiritually? Why is that important?
Tara: Oh, my goodness. I could cry honestly at even that question, because that woman has since gone home to be with the Lord. but from that season in my life, she taught me how to do marriage. I didn't know how to do marriage God's way, really. I mean, I had seen it, but I wasn't paying attention when I was in high school. You're not really paying attention. But she taught me how to do marriage. She taught me practicalities of parenting. And even up until the day that she passed, I mean, for that season, we became prayer partners later on, and, for probably 20 years, she would pour into my life, and the Bible commands it. He says older women teach the younger women. But, Becky, one of the things that I see these days is and I hope that this does not offend anyone, I just hope maybe it lets the guard down. Right? I don't see a lot of young women really wanting to glean from older women, but older women that have walked this journey, that have walked a mile or two and are further ahead than you, they have so much wisdom and so much experience that they can share with you. And I'm telling you, were it not for Susie and learning how to do marriage God's way, learning how to mean, I don't think I would be married today. I think my family would be fractured because I would have continued to check off the church thing, right. I never would have really activated prayer. And I'm telling you, prayer makes all the difference. And I would never have learned any of these things were it not for some of the older women in my life.
Becky: I love that. And I think that, this goes both ways because I know of some younger women who really want somebody older to be a mentor to them and to kind of show them the way. And sometimes the older women are like, oh, I don't have that much to offer. And so it can go that way, too. So I want to encourage you, if you're listening to this podcast, if you are older, if you consider yourself older, or if you are younger, there's a message here for you, right? Because you are needed in the body of Christ no matter what age you are. And so if you're younger, I would encourage you to take an older woman out for coffee and ask her some questions and see if this is somebody that you feel like you want them to mentor you. If you're an older woman, I would caution you, please don't go to somebody younger and say, hey, I'm going to mentor you. That might freak them out.
Tara: I love that.
Becky: So we have to be wise in the body of Christ. But if you're an older woman and you see some younger women around you and you can kind of feel their stress or whatever, begin by just praying for them in the quietness of your own home.
This podcast is about prayer for both older and younger moms
Becky: Again, really, our topic today is about prayer. And this is something so necessary for both older moms and younger moms, for sure.
Tara: And Becky, can I just interject real quick how I became a mentor of my next door neighbor, Susie? I was moving into the house next door. She showed up at my house with Fudge Brownie Sunday.
Becky: Oh, there's a win.
Tara: And I had heard about her. I had heard that she was just this, Bible teacher. She was a Bible teacher in our area. She was teaching 500 women a week. And, I just asked her, will you be my friend? That's all I said was, will you be my friend? And within two weeks, she had invited me, my two year old, and my infant into her house for lunch. I mean, that was how the friendship began. anyway, so just ask really?
Becky: When you have a two year old and an infant I know. Invitation from almost anybody for lunch, right? If you don't worry about it.
Tara: Well, I was almost afraid to go over there because I'm like, she's going to see what a bad mom I am because I thought I was a bad. Anyway, that's a whole other podcast, right? But anyway, I was like, she's going to see. But you know what? I had nothing to be ashamed of. She understood because she had walked a mile in my shoes, right? So she got it, and she was just immediately kindled a friendship.
Sarah: That M is so sweet. Now, you said she was a Bible teacher, so I gather that she's probably really familiar with Scripture, and that was that common theme that you saw in those groups where they were all praying Scripture. So a little bit of an angle here on moms that are like, I love that, Tara, but I don't really know Scripture. So where would they begin? I mean, maybe a mom is just into her faith here, and she's like, I love that idea, but where do I start?
Tara: Okay, so I've got two thoughts on this. First of all, well, that's why I created Prayer Made Simple. First of all. But even back up before that, it's a great book. Well, and it's fighting for your family and your friends by scripture, by praying the Scripture in prayer. But what I would recommend her do is to start with ten minutes of a little quiet time with God, with Bible reading and just simple prayer. Start there. But how I began this is that I was overwhelmed by all there was to pray for. I was a young mom. I didn't have time to pray. I mean, I didn't feel like I had time to pray, right? But I remember another wise woman telling me, honey, you just need to divide your prayer needs by the days of the week. I've never forgotten that. And I was like, well, what does that mean? And she said, well, on Monday, you can pray for your marriage. On Tuesday, you could pray for your children on Wednesday. And I thought, well, I can do that. I can do that. And so that was how I began. And as I read the Scriptures, I would see something, a verse that would just jump out at me, and I would pray it. But that's how I compiled prayer made simple. So that on the day that I pray for my marriage, there are several things in this book that I pray for my marriage. same thing with my children. But my children each get a day because I've got a 21 and a 23 year old. They each need a day right now, if you know what I mean. But anyway.
Sarah: Maybe more, maybe more than one day, right?
Tara: So I've got lots of stuff I'm praying. But back to the point when we pray the Scripture, that is the sword of the spirit, right? And we are launching something more powerful than an atomic weapon into this circumstance or situation. And when we have young children, just like Sarah, you and I were talking about before the podcast began, we can kind of control the young children, right? We can control what they wear, who they see, who their friends are with, what they do. When your kids get older. You cannot control that. You can't control who they marry. You can't control who their friends are. You can't control their work or their study habits, but you can pray. And let me tell you something. Prayer is what brings about the heart change instead of the behavior change, because behavior change is just temporary, and it's the same thing for your husband. my husband, when I first started this journey, he was a non believer. And, I really didn't realize I was marrying an unbeliever until I had gotten married and really learned what the Bible said and realized I was married to an unbeliever. And I know that it was prayer that drew him to Christ, and he's saved now, and I know it was because of prayer. And when I was trying to manipulate that. And listen, that's what we do. We as women, we know how to we're smart people, right? So we make it work because that's what we do. But you cannot change people. And prayer is the mode for God to change them and God to change their heart, unlike you or I, ever.
Becky: You know, sometimes I think prayer is what changes.
Becky: Like, you might be really ticked at your husband in the moment, and you're praying, God, change this man. He's driving me crazy. And then all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit says, well, I really want to change you in the process. So there is that as and as far as praying scripture, one of the practices that I've done for years, and I'll just tuck it in here as I've read my Bible. And if a verse jumps out at me and I think, this is what this child needs, I will circle it, I will highlight it, I will put a date by it and the child's name there, because that's what I'm praying for, that child. And when you do that, what's beautiful is, years later, you can go back through your Bible and you can see, hey, God actually answers our prayers. Look at the way he had moved in that situation when I thought there was no hope. And so that brings me, actually, to, my next question.
Tara says prayer changes us. How have you seen God answer your prayers
Becky: Tara, we want to hear some stories from you. So you've been praying Scripture over your kids. You prayed Scripture over that little, baby girl that had the autoimmune disease. How have you seen God answer your prayers?
Tara: Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness. So, it's funny that you said you opened that just a second ago by praying. Prayer changes us. When I first began this, I was begging God to change my husband and begging God. And I remember just getting to the end of myself and just hearing that still, quiet voice in my heart going, you're the one that needs to change. Not him, but you. And I'm like, oh, my goodness. And I'm like change. I don't need to change. I'm the one going to church. I'm teaching Bible study. I am teaching Sunday school. I am having a quiet time, not need to change. I'm good. but as I began to do what I sensed God saying, by following exactly what you're talking about, Becky, as you read the scriptures going, you know what? I think this is how this applies to this. the Lord saved my husband and saved my marriage. My friend Susie, when I say saved my marriage, I really don't think I would be married today because I would have been so angry that I probably wouldn't have forgiven him for a few things. I don't think that he would know the Lord today were it not for answered prayer. my family and gosh, I'm hesitant to even share this, but it's all glory to God. It is all, ah, glory to God. But when you get together with other families that are not praying for their families, there is a difference. And y'all, it is not by might nor by power, but it is by his spirit that there is a difference in your family. And my family sees that and they know that it's God is the one that's made the difference. And so, that's just a glimmer. And God has brought my daughter so far. I mean, her autoimmune disease is in remission. It came out briefly as she was going into her freshman year of college. But I'm telling you, I got back together with my praying women and we got back on our knees and prayed for her. and listen, I'm not saying that prayer is like the genie. That I'm not implying that whatsoever. But when we use God's word, we are praying his will back to Him, right?
Tara: We just pray. We just pray. And God moves in response to prayer. That's how he moves mountains, is in response to prayer.
Becky: And I love that you said that, because I think sometimes we can pray and pray and pray, and our prayer can almost be like, regurgitating our worries, right? What I love about praying Scripture is that it kind of gets a hold of my mind and shifts it to what God wants me to pray. And then I know I'm praying in his will because it's his word. So you can't be praying selfishly and pray Scripture as, you're praying Scripture. You're like, Lord, bring my will into perfect union with yours. And I'm going to claim these scriptures over my kids, over my marriage, over if you're a grandmother, over your grandkids, because I think this is one of the actual greatest gifts we can give our kids. You're going to mess up as a mom, right? We've all done that. All three of us would say we've messed up from time to time. but one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is the power of prayer and the power of a praying mama. I believe moves mountains in ways that we may not know until we're on the other side.
Tara: Amen to that. And then when you see people that, I was watching something on YouTube just last week, and it was a man that was a former homosexual and his mama prayed for 20 years. And he read off the things that his mom had written down that she was praying for him. it was just like he had this total, AHA moment. And he knew that it was because his mother never gave up on him. Never gave up on him, and just was praying for his protection, praying all around for him. And, he came out of the homosexual lifestyle and it was because of his mother's prayers. He credits his mother's prayers.
You include specific prayers for your husband, your kids and even blended families
Sarah: so back to your book for a second, Tara. I thought this was interesting because you include prayers for your husband, specific prayers for your kids, and even blended families, which I love. That is so reality these days and that's know, but people are trying to figure out, how do I do my best in that situation? And I also love that you said you include prayers for yourself. And honestly, that's not something that I usually think of when I'm thinking of my prayer list. I'm thinking of all the things that I need to be praying for with everybody else. But that's pretty neat that you brought it back to yourself. So would you mind sharing just how you chose those different types of prayer? What was your process? Was it just kind of an organic thing, what you'd been doing for a while? Or what was your process? And I am interested about yourself aspect, too.
Tara: Sure, well, there's several okay, let me see if I can get this straight in my head, right. ah. I'm always wanting to know, God, what's your will for my life? What's your will in this situation? So I've included some scriptures that I pray for myself. To know the scriptures or to know, help me to see you in this circumstance. What do I do? Do I do A or B? So there's some, prayer prompts for that. I'll also pray that, not my entire, but many of my extended family members, they're lost. They do not know the Lord. And so I know that whenever I go to dinners with them or when I engage with them at family events, I'm on a mission trip. And so I am praying very specific things like, that I would be a light, that my words would be, seasoned with grace, full of grace, and seasoned with, salt. I know I'm getting that up. That's the reason why I've got it written down in here. But those are some of the ways that I pray and listen, because this is a mom's podcast. Let's just go ahead and put this out there too. I mean, I've got it in the marriage section that I would want to sleep with my husband, that I would desire to, that we would have a fulfilling physical relationship. Because, let's just be honest, when we have young kids running around, that's the last thing on our brain. But I've seen God work just move mountains in prayer as it even relates to that. So, yes, pray for those things. We need prayer, right?
Sarah: That's right.
Becky: Yeah. absolutely we do. I love this so much. And I think the power of praying Scripture, it can really completely revolutionize your family and your home life. And as you do it faithfully, it's not like a magic pill. Kind of like, okay, what we're not saying is you pray this prayer and your kid is going to make wise choices right away. We're saying prayer does move and change. And God promises that. I was reading in the psalms earlier this morning, and in psalm two, the words, it just jumped off the page at me. Just ask me. God wants us to come into his presence and ask. So ask on behalf of your children, ask on behalf of your husband. Ask on behalf of yourself, that you would be filled with wisdom, that you would be filled with gentleness, that you would be filled with the fruit of the spirit, because that's what God wants us to do. He loves it when we come into his presence and we ask according to the scriptures.
Tara runs knowing God ministries, which focuses on women's ministry
Becky: So, Tara, you now run, knowing God ministries. So tell us about your ministry a little.
Tara: Ministries you know, my husband was not he was of a certain faith when we got married, and I was of a certain faith. And he said, I'm not going to that church. And I said, well, I'm not going to that church. And so we went to all these churches in between. Right. And that was another area where I saw God move. We were finally able to find a church that we agreed on, but that was because of prayer and not me manipulating. But anyway, that's another whole other story of prayer. but I began to see that just because it's got a steeple doesn't mean they're sharing the gospel. And so I feel like God gave me just a heart for women to not every woman has a women's ministry in her church. Not every woman has access to the marriage teaching that, I have been just so blessed and privy to. I, wanted to start a ministry for women where I could share this how to know the God of the Bible and exactly what you're talking about, Becky, so that I could be a better wife, because I'm praying to be kinder, gentler, less know whatever it is. Right. that was the heart of how and why I started knowing God. Ministries and so now we do like you said. We do an annual conference called One Woman because one woman can make a difference in her corner of the world. We also do a mother daughter retreat annually for, mothers and daughters, grade 6th through twelveTH, and we do a luncheon each month. So that is what we do.
Becky: Yeah. And the one woman conference, I mean, I can attest it's a great conference. You guys do a great job on it. And, it's really a fun conference. It's fun to see women coming from all over the area, from all different churches because we are the body of Christ. And so when we get together in unity and we're worshiping the Lord and we're learning together, there's really something beautiful about that.
If you are not praying for your husband and your children, who is praying
Becky: So, Tara, as you think about your book, Prayer Made Simple, which I love the title, because I think a lot of times we think of prayer as being made complicated. But you make it very simple. What are you hoping for with women? What are you hoping Bill do with this?
Tara: They will begin to pray for their families. Because let me tell you something, there is an all out war against our marriages and in our families today. And, the battle is fought on our knees. And as one very godly woman shared with me one time and I've never been able to get it. I mean, it gives me chills even as I think about it. If you are not praying for your husband and your children, who is praying? And many times there's no one praying. My daughter, her, and her boyfriend just broke up. And, I said to her, we need to pray for him. And she said, you know, Mom, I don't think anybody's praying for him. So we do need to pray for him. And number one, fruit that she sees the value of prayer. But, if no one's praying for these kids, no one's praying, then if you're not, no one is possibly.
Becky: Yeah, I love that word because I think sometimes as moms, we get caught up in the everyday life. maybe it's packing lunches, getting the kids out the door on time, keeping up with our jobs, keeping a decent amount of food on the table, know, even fast food on the table, depending on your schedule. But we have a vital role in the role of prayer. And it's like you said, Tara, if you're not praying for your kids, who else is praying for them? So the power of a praying mom, of a praying grandmother is there. There was a study recently, and I can't quote where the study was from, but I heard about it, that one of the most significant factors towards whether or not a child grows up to love Jesus and walk with Jesus is the prayers of their grandparents. And that speaks to me as a grandmother. I mean, I have 14 grandchildren, and in this stage of my life, I pray over every single one of. Them every single day because I know the battle is real, and I know the temptations that they are facing, and so I claim scripture over them, and I pray for them every single day because my greatest desire is that those kids are going to grow up to love Jesus and want to serve him. So, Tara, where can our listeners get in touch with you? They want to bring you in to speak at their conference.
Tara: I would love that. That just fills my cup. I love that. so they can just go to Tarafirman.com. Okay, Tarafirman.com. Yep.
Becky: Yeah. And we'll have that in the show notes for you ladies so that you can get in touch with know, I I'm sure Tara would love to pray for you.
Tara closes out the podcast with a prayer for our listeners
Becky: In fact, Tara, why don't you close us out with prayer, and then we'll wind down here. Can you do that? Can you pray for our listeners?
Tara: I would love to do that. I would love to do that. Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus, and, we give you praise, and we lift your name high. Lord, we praise you that you are a praying, hearing, a prayer, answering God, and that you delight in the prayers of your people. Father, we pray that you would give this podcast legs, and, Lord, that it would reach the homes, that it would reach the ears of the women that you want it to, affect and hear. And, Father, I pray that as women hear this message, father, I pray that you would speak a message that's personal to them. I pray, Father, that you would show them how to make prayer simple. And, Father, I pray that she would be a woman that would begin to go to her knees each day on behalf of her family, behalf of her community, on behalf of her friends, on behalf of her extended family. Lord, show her the difference that one woman can make when she begins to pray for the people in her sphere of influence. Encourage her. Help her to know you, God, the God of the Bible, and help her to be a witness and a bright light of who you are in her sphere of influence. Lord, we love you, and we praise you in the mighty name of Jesus. And we thank you ahead of time for the lives, the families, the marriages that will be transformed because of the women that will hear this podcast and will begin praying in Jesus. In your name, we pray. Amen.
The Connected Mom podcast helps moms connect more deeply with God and others
Becky: Hey, friends, thanks so much for joining us today on The Connected Mom podcast. And we want to make sure that you, tune in again next Thursday, where we'll have another episode of the Connected Mom podcast, helping you to connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child. And, hey, if you've enjoyed today's podcast, would you share it with a friend. Because chances are, if you needed this podcast, your friend does too. Thanks so much for joining us. We'll join you next time.