Why, if her own infertility journey is over, would a woman choose to work with infertile women? Not for the money. She does it for free, despite her own family’s financial needs. Not for the recognition. Few people outside the insular world of infertility even know what she does.
Lisa Graham works with infertile women because she has a servant’s heart, and because it is a joy to watch God work in the lives of women who entrust their stories to her.
Seven years ago, after her own journey made her aware of the profound lack of spiritual support for women battling infertility, Lisa was urged to start a prayer group for infertile women. A friend told her, “You should get women together, share your stories, and pray for one another.” At first, Lisa felt intimidated by the idea of being the leader. But another woman, “who knew scripture much better than I did” agreed to partner with her, and the two women launched a unique ministry.
“We meet once a month,” Lisa explained. “We go around the circle and everyone shares what’s happened to them since we last met: test results, where they are in their cycle, the next doctor’s appointment…. Sometimes, there are losses to share. And almost always tears. Then, we anoint each woman with oil and pray for her. Every month, we say, ‘Jesus is in the house!’ You can feel his presence in the room.”
Talking about infertility makes many people very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, that includes those who are expected to minister to us during times of struggle and heartache. E.W. Carter of the Regional Council of Churches said, “Clergy don’t know how to talk about infertility in the 21st century, so, when faced with the unfulfilled longing for a child, they are often silent.” That silence can make infertile couples – especially women – feel judged, neglected, and marginalized. Lisa Graham’s prayer group models one simple solution to this problem.
“It’s amazing to me that there aren’t more churches doing this, but we are the only group like this in Atlanta. Every month, Christians, Jews and non-believers gather together to honor God, to share their burdens, and to support one another. It is a simple ministry, but it’s very powerful. We see so many miracles – women getting pregnant after their doctors have said they can’t, women conceiving naturally after IVF has failed… we know God is at work.”
Luke tells the story of the Pharisees insisting Jesus rebuke his disciples for calling out praises to God for the miracles they’ve seen. Jesus’ response is “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” [Luke 19:40].
That is how “alumni” of Lisa’s prayer group — who are now mothers — feel about acknowledging God’s role in their stories. Many of them return to the group every month to pray with and for other women. They feel compelled to share the good news of their own experiences with those in desperate need of hope and inspiration. “We praise God for what He does, and we claim His promises for one another,” said Lisa. “The rest is up to Him.”
As National Infertility Awareness Week approaches (Apr 24-May1), consider whether you — or someone you know — might benefit from a group like Lisa’s. If so, forward a link to this blogpost to your ministry team or your doctor and let them know there is a simple way to deliver meaningful support. If you prefer to protect your privacy, feel free to send their contact information to me (email@example.com) and I will forward information on how and why to start a prayer group.
Remember: The God who is so generous and faithful that He must be praised or “the stones will cry out” is ready and waiting to help all those who call on Him. What are you waiting for?
Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com
5 responses to “Infertility & the Power of Prayer”
I am 33 years old, been married happily for 4.5 years. We have been hoping to get pregnant for about 2 years now. We have no children, and I have never been pregnant. I have been to the doctor and was told that everything looked fine. I would like to ask that everyone who sees this post would pray that the Good Lord in Heaven find us worthy and fit to be parents, and bless us with a happy, healthy baby very soon. I am going to pray over the other ladies who have left comments as well. As I get older, and I see everyone around me have a family, even my own nieces and nephews, it makes it very hard to not feel like something is wrong with me or that I am somehow not a woman. It is a difficult position to be in. I believe that God will bless us with a child. I think any extra prayers wouldn’t hurt. Thank you in advance for your prayers.
My name is Joshalyn. I am 26 years of age. A few days ago I found out I was about 6 weeks pregnant. I had never been pregnant before and prayed that the Most High would bless me with many offspring. All of my female siblings never had any issues getting pregnant ; and would get pregnant if a man breathed on them. =) (haha) For years I thought I would be the only one of my siblings without children. So, I kept praying and waiting.
A day after finding out I was expecting, I went to the emergency room. I had been spotting for about 5 days. After getting an ultra sound, a nurse informed me it was an ectopic pregnancy. I was more upset than I was hurt.
I went into emergency surgery that evening and was released the following afternoon. During the surgery the doctor had removed my right fallopian tube. And I was informed there was over a 75 percent chance I could have another ectopic pregnancy. And it would be best if I did invitro fertilization; due to the fact my left fallopian tube had scarring. I said to my spouse who had been by my side and very supportive, I don’t like the idea of paying to have children. Especially since it’s a free gift from God.
Did I blame God for my misfortune? Nope. Life happens and I roll with the punches. My child is in heaven and I’m ok with that. When I get there I will see him or her. I am upset that after all this time of trying to conceive it didn’t go as expected. And I’m bothered at the fact not only myself but my spouse has suffered a lose as well. God has a purpose for doing things a certain way. So I won’t complain, much.
I will have children… I guess I just have to wait a little longer…
To all of you women out there trying to conceive have faith, your time will come. And if for any reason you are barren, I encourage you to adopt. I know there is nothing that can take the place of carrying, nurturing and loving your own child. But there is sometimes a need for us women to look past our own desperate need and desire for motherhood and love someone else’s child/children. Yes it hurts and there is a void that needs to be filled. So fill it by opening your arms and heart to a child in need. You will be greatly rewarded. Because the last thing I want to do is sit around and end up some old cat lady, that has no one to come visit her in a nursing home. And I have worked in nursing homes, so I understand how it is. So if you love children continue to explore your options for having your own; but be open to possibility of loving someone else’s.
God bless you all… And the best to you in your journey to motherhood.
You have no idea the impact your comment has made on me. I am 42 years old and at the end of my line. We have been trying for years with no success. Infertility doctors are so expensive, but we have decided that we have no other choice but to at least try. But my worst fear is dying alone with 10 cats! So thank you for inspiring me to adopt if there is no other way. I was thinking it would be weird since it is not my child, but I really want someone else to care about and worry about besides myself!
My name is Jamie. I am 34 years old. I will turn 35 on August 9th. I have Turner Syndrome. I am infertile. I have been married for 6 years. I am separated pending a divorce. The court date for the divorce is August 13th. He has 3 children. I don’t have any. I love kids. I want a child so badly. I want to be a teacher. I plan on going back to college to finish my degree in Early CHildhood Education.
Hi Jaime, I’m the same age as you and my husband also has one son. It’s hard to love kids that are not your own, it’s a challenge. I hear you, and I’m praying for all those women who need some prayer right now.