Mom's prayer for kids on 1st day of school goes viral

Jamisha Harris posted a powerful photo of her three children praying before the first day of school amid family struggles and fears over recent mass shootings.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

Jamisha Harris prays with her children every day, but she felt they really needed it before the first day of school this year.

The mother of four from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, gathered her children together for a moment of prayer on Aug. 5 amid family struggles with housing and employment in addition to nervousness over a return to school following the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

Harris, 28, posted a photo of the solemn moment on Facebook.

"Dear God, this morning I’m feeling nervous and a little unsure but thankful, I pray for my children on their first day of school,'' she wrote. "God, I give them to You. And I ask that this school year you would use every person and every experience and every lesson to shape them into Your image, to grow in them, the fruit of Your Spirit."

The picture shows her sons Eugene Jacobs, 10, and Jorden Jacobs, 8, holding hands with her daughter Emily Jacobs, 7, before their first day at Idea Bridge Academy. Harris also has a 1-year-old daughter, Hailee Shorter.

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"I'm going through so much with losing our home that when we were praying together, I got emotional and just started crying,'' Harris told TODAY. "I prayed just to give the kids some hope and let them know that everything in school is going to be OK."

The viral photo also has helped change the family's fortunes after some difficult times.

A GoFundMe page for the family has already raised more than $35,000 to help them obtain a stable living situation. Harris added Tuesday that she received a job offer as she looks for work as a truck driver.

"I'm just so thankful for everyone and their support,'' Harris said. "I'm trying to invest in my own property so this won't happen where I got evicted. Even if it needs a little fixing up, I'm willing to do it."

Harris said she went to school to be a truck driver but has struggled to find work locally. Her husband, Winton Shorter, 30, has also found it tough to find regular employment after his contract was up on a job working on an offshore oil rig.

They also had a vehicle break down, which has made it harder to seek work. Then the family had to leave their home and move in with a family member due to an inability to pay rent.

"With the last money I had, I got school supplies and clothes and new shoes, and that was the money I had for my rent,'' Harris said.

Harris added the recent mass shootings made her nervous to send her kids off to school.

"The Walmart shooting (in El Paso), that just took my soul,'' she said. "I'm just a worried mother sending my kids out into the world. It seems like everyone has gone mad and there's so much evil and hatred, and I can't be there every moment for my kids."

Harris wanted to use that moment of prayer to help ease any of her children's fears.

"They're scared someone could come in the school and hurt them,'' Harris said. "They feel like when we pray about it, we're going to be OK because God's got us.

"Praying every day gives them hope, and they feel protected. Even when we're down, we're gonna pray. Some way, God's gonna push us back up."