For years Iíve been a member of a group that raises money for womenís education. We meet monthly, sometimes more, to discuss scholarships and low-interest loans and to hear the stories of women who are changing their familiesí lives, bringing business to their neighborhoods and solutions to the world.

Our seven founders Ė all students at Iowa Wesleyan College in the latter part of the 1800s Ė wanted to create a group built on true friendship. Now the Philanthropic Educational Organization has become a sisterhood of nearly 250,000 throughout the United States and Canada.

And all of those sisters? In all of those local chapters? They start their meetings the same way and with the same prayer: that all with whom we come in contact with will be purer, braver and stronger for having spent time with us.

Thatís a big prayer. A hard prayer. Leaving everyone we meet in a better place than when we found them.

The kid with the runny nose who has asked for the iPad at least 28 times before noon. The woman at the Department of Motor Vehicles who tells you Ė even in 2015 Ė your debit card is not welcome there. That guy everyone brags about at work, you know which one I mean. The person who only likes things that are her idea.

Purer. Braver. Stronger.

Thatís an investment, friends. Thatís saying Iíll recognize when a policy is out of your control. Iíll see when you are hurting, when you are afraid. Iíll listen to the whining and hear that you really donít need more technology, you just need more interaction and more time with me.

It means in the rush of the day, Iíll take a moment to really see you. Iíll choose compassion over completing my to-do list. Iíll pick building you up instead of bullying you into doing what I want. Iíll join like-minded sisters and raise millions to offer formal educations to thousands of women Ė and Iíll know that the fundraising is the easy part.

Purer. Braver. Stronger.

Thatís where the real work lies. And thereís plenty for all of us.

Marketta Gregory is a former religion reporter who now shares her own journey of faith with readers. She lives in Rochester, New York, with her husband, their three young boys and one very vocal Pomeranian. To contact Gregory, email markettagregory@yahoo.com or write to her at P.O. Box 12923, Rochester, NY 14612. You can also visit the Simply Faithful page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter at @MarkettaGregory.