Mothers hold the future in their hands. A substantial portion of their lives is spent nurturing future teachers, doctors, pastors, business owners, politicians and citizens pursuing countless other occupations. In addition, most of their sons will become husbands and fathers, and many of their daughters will become wives and mothers.

Mothers typically have the primary responsibility for making sure that their children get the nutrition, guidance, education and health care they need to grow up to be healthy, thriving adults. From conception, babies receive nutrients from their mothers. As infants, babies learn about their world while developing attitudes and reactions that will direct their futures. Children and teenagers learn from their mothers what is acceptable behavior – and what is not. Mothers have enormous responsibilities, and too often their sacrifices are not appreciated as they face insurmountable challenges.

Every morning, millions of mothers and their children start their day in dirty clothes because water for washing clothing is limited. Bushes or pots must serve as their toilets, a reality that is not just an inconvenience but also a safety risk. They can bathe or wash only their faces if they saved water from the day before. Making breakfast or coffee to help start their day also will depend on what water is left from the night before. The mothers, or their daughters, will most likely need to walk several kilometers to fetch water for the day's cooking, drinking and care of family members. The water is not clean enough to consume, so they will strain it through cloth and then boil it for 20 minutes to kill the worms and germs that lead to diseases – many times fatal.

Millions of mothers do not have a Christian role model or have never received training on how to properly care for a baby, to make nutritious food, to keep their families healthy, to sew, or to teach moral values to their children.

Let us pray this month for more mothers to come to know the Lord and to look to him for wisdom, strength and encouragement as they shape the world’s future through the lives of their children.