by Dr. Ken Canfield
What role does prayer play in your grandparenting?
In past blogs I have referred to a valuable data source that we were able to study: a collection of more than 800 written responses from adults about the influence of their grandparents. One of the common themes was grandparents’ example of faith. Some remarks focused more specifically on spiritual disciplines such as Scripture reading, prayer, service, worship, meditation, and church attendance, but the most-mentioned practice was prayer.
I know many grandfathers are committed to praying for their grandchildren, but there’s nothing quite like the image of the praying grandmother. I’ve heard numerous people talk about the deep and long-term impact of their grandma’s faithful prayers on their lives in general, and especially on their faith journeys. Here’s a poignant example from one adult:
My grandmother has always been a prayer warrior. Regardless of what she or others in her life faced, she bathed every circumstance in prayer. Friends would call at any hour, and while she could not personally solve their problems, she got on her knees beside her bed and prayed for them. She would pray on the phone with them. No matter was too small for prayer! She would write me weekly in college—and even after I got married—just to let me know she was praying for me. And I have seen God move powerfully, in great part, I believe, because of my grandmother’s faithfulness to pray! She taught me the power of prayer.
When I became a mother and began to consider the future my son would have, I began to pray even more than I had before. Now, into her late eighties, my grandmother’s mind is failing, and doing certain things she has always done does not come easily, if at all. But the one thing she can still do is pray! Even when her mind is empty of things she should know, she still knows that prayer works. She often asks for prayer, and she still prays for others. She knows God can work, and she trusts Him with her every need. I’ll always be grateful to her for this example!
There is great power in prayer, and grandparents who embrace faith should be steadfast in this. If you believe prayer makes a difference, then this should be a daily pursuit on behalf of the little ones you love so much.
And, as the above testimony shows, often there’s a lasting influence on our grandkids through our example. When they know we’re people of prayer—and that we’re praying for them—that will often change how they think about prayer in their own lives.
So pray about the things they’re concerned about. Pray for their protection and blessing and discernment. Pray for them in their presence. And sometimes ask them, “How can I pray for you?” Even if they don’t give you something to pray for every time, you’re giving them a regular reminder that you’re praying for them. That by itself will be a comfort, and you’re showing that they can come to you when they do have an issue or concern.
What are your prayers like for your grandkids? Please join with other grandparents and share a comment on our Facebook page.
This was adapted from Dr. Ken Canfield’s book, The HEART of Grandparenting. Find out more and get your copy here.