What a joy it is to have that precious little grandchild run into your arms and plaster you with hugs and kisses. The six-year-old granddaughter calling to tell you she lost her first tooth, or your seven-year-old grandson excited about making his first goal in his soccer game — moments like these tickle your heart in remarkable ways.
In addition to the senior discounts, grandchildren are one of the rewards of growing older. Mary H. Waldrip says it well: “Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old.”
I have nine grandchildren, ages ranging from three years to twenty-five years. As a long-distance grandmother for many years, I was not fully aware of my grandchildren’s immediate needs. I prayed that God would bless them and give them good health and protection. Growing up in a rural community many years ago, I didn’t encounter the temptations and pressures my grandchildren face today in this media-driven culture.
Because our society is teetering on the brink of moral and spiritual bankruptcy, I prayed for them to be protected from evil deceptions in the world. But ultimately, I became frustrated and felt something was lacking with my vague and general prayers. I asked God to show me how to become more deliberate in praying for them.
After reading Grandma, I Need Your Prayers by Quin Sherrer & Ruthanne Garlock, and When Mothers Pray by Cheri Fuller, my prayers for my grandchildren changed dramatically. The books were full of practical advice, which encouraged me to use specific Scriptures in praying and motivated me to pray regularly and specifically for their emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
Here’s what I put into practice
- I developed a Photo Prayer Journal in a three-ring binder with a section for each grandchild. Each section had a profile sheet with the grandchild’s picture and information about their school, church, friends, and activities. This is followed with several blank pages on which I record my prayer concerns, hopes, and dreams for the grandchild.
- God’s Word became a manual for learning how to pray more effectively for my grandchildren. I believe praying Scripture unleashes the supernatural power of God in their lives, because when I pray according to God’s Word, I am in line with his will. As I started claiming God’s promises and personalizing the Scriptures for them, I experienced more confidence and boldness in my prayer life.
- New channels of communication opened with my older grandchildren when I asked how I could pray for them. For the younger children I consulted with their parents to keep abreast of specific concerns. Then I was able to pray more specifically for them.
- A primary prayer for all my grandchildren is that they will come to realize how much God loves them — that he is always there for them — and that they will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and King and spend eternity with him.
Paul tells us in Romans 8:26 that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray. The Holy Spirit knows the needs of my grandchildren so I ask him to intercede according to his will. It is comforting to me that I can put my concerns in God’s hand, leaving them with him. It shifts the burden to God, instead of carrying it myself. Because I love my grandchildren, I would like to control their lives and keep them from pain, disappointment, or discouragement. Humanly, I want to rescue them and pray, “Don’t let anything bad happen to them.” To which the Lord may say, “I need to allow disappointment, pain, and failure so they will learn to trust and obey me so I can pour my blessings on them.” It’s important I pray for God’s will in their lives.
God has created my grandchildren for a unique purpose. I pray they his purposes for them will become their dreams, that they will be motivated to pursue them, and that they will trust him to provide the resources.
It is important for me to communicate to my grandchildren that I love them and accept them even though I may not accept all their behavior. I like to call them on the phone, send cards for holidays, note cards or e-cards to offer encouragement, and let them know I love them and pray for them.
Blessings as a result
I want to share part of a letter from my married granddaughter. It is a confirmation that praying for these precious grandchildren is never a wasted effort. She wrote,
“My grandmother’s phone calls, cards, and emails were encouraging and made a significant impact on my life throughout my teenage and college years. Her prayers and encouragement have been rock-solid reminders of God’s truth. Amidst my crazy and incredibly life-shaping year, her prayers helped me surrender the craziness of my life to God.”
My prayers for my grandchildren have strengthened my relationships with them. The Photo Prayer Album has been an excellent tool for me to stay connected to them. Whether they live nearby or far away, praying for them intentionally keeps me in touch. Often my prayers can be more powerful than my presence, when I let them know I am praying for them.
Best of all, praying God’s Word has enabled me to pray with his power, direction, and wisdom. As a grandparent, I can have a major role in stabilizing and influencing their lives by praying for them during these turbulent years. It has given me fulfillment and satisfaction to pray for them.
The seeds of prayer we plant today will yield a harvest of blessing in the future. My prayer is that you have been challenged to pray strategically and deliberately for your grandchildren. In Isaiah 44:3, God told the Israelites, “I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your descendants.” God still promises to pour out his Spirit and blessings on our descendents. Don’t we want that for our grandchildren and future descendants?