Chapter OneA Grandmother's
I constantly remember you in my prayers I have
been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in
your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
-2 Timothy 1:3, 5
When grandmothers are missing from a society, that society
loses its link to the wisdom of the past and the traditions
that make the tribe able to reflect on itself Being a
grandmother is a constant learning and teaching experience, because as grandmothers, women must learn to apply
yesterday's wisdom to today's challenges. -Kristen Johnson Ingram, I'll Ask My Grandmother-She's Very Wise
Mom, you're going to be a grandmother!"
When you first hear these words, the prospect of seeing a new
generation raised up ignites hope, love, and purpose in your life. A
grand opportunity awaits you to immediately begin praying for the
spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being of your grandchild.
Perhaps you're wondering whether your prayers can actually
make a difference in your grandchild's life. I (Quin) had an
encounter one day that reminded me how much of a difference a
grandmother's prayers can make.
"She Was Always Praying for Me"
"I'll bet you had a praying grandmother," I said to the professional
basketball player I'd been chatting with while we were waiting
in the Atlanta airport for our flight to be called.
"I did, but how did you know?" he asked, looking surprised.
"While we've been talking, you mentioned her several times
and spoke about how much you love and admire her," I answered.
"Yes," he said softly, dropping his head. "When my mom left, my
grandmother took me in to live with her. Through all those years, she
prayed for me and encouraged me in every sport I ever tried. She
always told me I could become a professional athlete if I set a goal,
practiced for hours, and depended on God to strengthen me."
"And it looks like some of those prayers have been answered,"
"She was always praying for me," he continued with a smile. "I
could call her from anywhere I was playing a game, and she'd pray
on the phone for me right then. She was a wonderful grandmother-old
now but still praying."
What a tribute to a quiet little grandmother who poured her
life and prayers into an abandoned grandson, never dreaming he
would one day become a well-known athlete. And what an encouragement
to praying grandmothers that their efforts are not in vain!
When the apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son, Timothy (in
the verse quoted at the beginning of this chapter), he acknowledged-for
all generations to follow-the powerful influence of a
godly grandmother. In this book, we hope to expand your vision to
see just how far-reaching your spiritual influence upon your grandchildren
can be. Keeping a heart connection with them is the important
thing, whether they live close to you or many miles distant.
We'll share creative ideas through stories of other grandmothers to
show you how. Also, we'll provide guidelines to help you establish
a scriptural strategy for praying for your grandchildren.
Impacting the Next Generation
Most grandmothers probably have given their best years to
rearing their children. They've sacrificed, worried, scolded, and
encouraged-and through it all prayed that God would keep their
children safe and help them become mature adults. As author Barbara
Johnson says, "We're always hoping that something we
instilled in them might show up, even when we've started to think
it's too late."
Some, feeling their work is now over, may sigh with relief
when their children leave home and later start families of their
own. Others may be tempted to spend their best energy pursuing
a relaxing lifestyle filled with travel and hobbies. A few may feel a
bit depressed, wondering why they seem to have no purpose now
that their children are out of the nest. Whatever our situation, God
still has more kingdom work for us moms to do, especially when
it comes to our grandchildren.
Even if you don't yet have any, it's never too early to begin praying
for your grandchildren. Whether a child is in the womb or is
only a dream, you can influence your future grandchildren for good
through your prayers. They are our link to the future, and our faithfulness
to pray for them can greatly impact this new generation.
With the pressure on families today, grandchildren need our
hugs, reassurance, and wisdom more than ever. And most of all,
they need our prayers and godly influence. Grandmothers usually
are fond of giving gifts to their grandchildren, but the greatest and
most lasting gift they can give is one of faithful prayer. Many children
have no one except a grandma to pray for them.
"What Grandma Meant to Me"
When we asked people to share what a grandmother's spiritual
influence has meant in their lives, we got a variety of answers.
"My grandmother gave me a sense of security and stability
and taught me many practical things. Because my mom was
a teenager when I was born, she was too young and immature
to add that dimension to my life."
"Granny was my hero; she always remembered my birthday
and other special moments in my life. But most of all, she
prayed for me."
"My grandmother read my favorite stories to me over and
over; then I'd let her read me her favorite ones from her
"Grandma Jessie had twelve children and helped manage a
farm for much of her life, yet she always seemed calm and
serene. I never saw her get upset or raise her voice. She left
me with an enduring sense that whatever comes, faith in
God remains imperturbable. Nothing ever wins against it."
"My great-grandmother's prayers have followed me from
the day I was born. Like a heavenly searchlight, her prayers
have exposed darkness in my life."
"I remember Friday nights at Mammaw's home and her tucking
me into a feather bed as she prayed over me. Then came
Saturday morning in her busy kitchen, when she made and
sold tuna sandwiches and homemade pies to have extra money
for an offering to the church. She was my first prayer partner, and remembering the intimacy she had with the Lord has
given me the security to know he is there for me when I call."
"Grandma Bea treats me like the age I am and doesn't talk
down to me."
"My grandmother didn't live nearby, but she wrote me many
letters. Every one of them ended with, 'Stay close to the
Lord; he's coming soon.' I was-and still am-enamored
with heaven because of her letters."
"Grandma MuMu could not communicate well in English, but I loved hearing her sing her beloved Finnish hymns and
watching her read her large Bible at the dining table. I saw
her life as a book; I read from her and learned the value of
her beautiful character, compassion, and godliness."
"I never knew my grandmothers, but God has placed
women in my life who have shown me the power of a praying
grandmother and who have been examples to me."
"I can still 'see' every nook and cranny of Grandma John's
house. I knew I could always go there-a safe place where
I was totally accepted. She played the piano and sang hymns
when I visited her, giving me a love for hymns that I still
have today and have tried to pass on to my own children
and grandchildren. Wholeness and a love for life are what
she taught me; she had an awe and reverence for God and
all his creation that she passed on to me."
I (Ruthanne) usually saw my Grandma McBee only at reunions
of my mom's family, except for one summer when I
stayed with her and Grandpa for two weeks. My strongest memory
of her is how she loved to read her Bible and prepare lessons
for the Sunday school class of boys she taught. When I think of
her, I picture a stooped little woman in a faded apron and cotton
dress, sitting in a rocking chair reading by dim lamplight. In later
years, I was amazed to learn that famous baseball player Mickey
Mantle had often visited her Sunday school class with a boyhood
My husband, John, had a very different experience with his
maternal grandmother, who was the daughter of Irish immigrants.
He shares his story.
"Her Anchor Was Prayer"
"My first clear memories of Grandmom Trotter, as we called
my mother's mom, are of her visit with us in Colorado Springs,
where my father was a pastor. I was five years old. 'How old are
you, Grandmom?' I asked her one day. After extracting a promise
that I wouldn't tell anyone, she told me she was sixty-six, an age
which seemed to me ancient at the time. When I was eleven years
old, I got to know my grandmother better than most people ever
have the chance to experience.
"My younger sister, Ruth, and I had been sent back to the
United States from West Africa for health reasons. We lived with
Grandmom in a small, shabby frame house in New Jersey while
my parents were finishing the last year of their four-year term as
missionaries in the northern territories of Ghana.
"During that year I became really aware of Grandmom's deep
faith, her love of the Bible, and her discipline of prayer. She faithfully
maintained daily 'family devotions' for the three of us and
often spoke earnestly of spiritual things. I learned from her that
prayer is central, not auxiliary, for a Christian. Also, my first experience
of telling others about Jesus came that year as I led several
neighbor children to accept him as Lord.
"Grandmom was used to austerity and knew how to make do
with very little. We grew potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and cabbage
next to our little house, which was heated by a coal furnace in the
basement. A block of ice in an icebox kept our milk cool. Cooking
was done on a coal stove. Grandmom was sober, sometimes
Essential Prayer Keys
Years ago while attending a writer's conference, I (Quin) sat
across the dinner table from Catherine Marshall, whom I had long
admired. Knowing her reputation as an author and also as a praying
mother, I asked her, "Can you give me some advice on how
to pray more effectively for my three children?"
"Be as specific in your prayers as you can, and plant waiting
prayers for your children's future," she advised. Then she asked,
"When you pray, do you really expect anything to happen?"
I pondered that question. Do I really expect anything to happen
when I pray? I can tell you now that without a doubt, I do!
I not only listened to her advice, but I went home to dig
through the Bible to read everything I could find on prayer as I
endeavored to pray for my children-and see results. Now many
years later, I use these same biblical principles in praying for my
grandchildren. Though I share here some things I do in my private
prayer times, I'm sure you can add to this list.
Be specific. I pray practical but specific prayers for my grandchildren.
I base this on a parable Jesus told about a man who
wakes up his friend at midnight to ask for exactly three loaves
of bread for his unexpected company (see Luke 11:5).
Be persistent. The man in the parable knocks continuously until
his friend gets out of bed to answer his request. This isn't saying
that prayers are needed to overcome God's reluctance to
answer. Rather, this parable encourages us to be bold and persistent
when we pray. Jesus said to ask, seek, knock-a continuous
asking, seeking, knocking (see Luke 11:8-10). I find
myself in persistent prayer until I see a resolution to my
Be in agreement. I usually ask a prayer partner (my husband, a
close friend, or a prayer support team) to pray in agreement
with me concerning a pressing need. Jesus gives us the basis
for prayers of agreement (see Matt. 18:19-20). For seventeen
years I prayed with another mother on the phone for five
minutes a day, five days a week. We were just two mothers
concerned about our children's welfare, both spiritual and
physical. Because that was such a positive experience, when I
became a grandmother I began praying with grandmother
friends. We pray for each other's grandchildren regularly, again
by phone. Sometimes I contact them by e-mail when there is
a crisis such as a grandchild in the hospital.
Be Bible based. As we get better acquainted with the Bible, we
grow to know God better and to understand how to pray in
accordance with his will. We learn what he says about salvation, health, family values, the abundant life on earth, and
heaven's promises. I often find a Bible verse I can turn into a
prayer for the need of a grandchild. The Psalms are a good
place to start with Scripture prayers.
Be open to the Holy Spirit. After ascending to heaven, Jesus sent
the Holy Spirit to help us pray what is on God's heart. Whatever
our grandchildren's circumstances or crises, we invite
the Holy Spirit to show us how to pray. Sometimes we may
find ourselves praying things we could never have "thought
up" on our own (see Rom. 8:26-27).
Be submitted to God's plan. We should never presume God is
going to answer according to our preconceived ideas or in
our desired timeframe. Presumption means assuming God
will answer me in the way I envision and in my timetable.
Faith, on the other hand, is a supernatural ability to trust God
when he has spoken to my heart, trusting him to fulfill his will
in his time and in his way. Often this "inner trust" or faith level
comes after time spent in prayer, listening and waiting on him.
Be thankful. Present prayer requests to God with thanksgiving, thanking him in advance for answering your prayer his way
(see Phil. 4:6).
Be willing to fast. Those serious enough to abstain from food
have found fasting and prayer often yield one or more of
these results: direction and answers from God, a deeper
understanding of Scripture, a closer walk with God, a humbling
of oneself, a healing, or even a deliverance. If you have a
physical problem or are on medications, be careful about the
type of fast you undertake. There are other things besides
food we can give up to concentrate on a prayer project.
Trust him always. When it seems that our grandchildren are in
a hopeless situation, we can admit that "we have no power
. [nor do we] know what to do, but our eyes are upon you"
(2 Chron. 20:12). We don't know how or when our answer
to prayer is coming, but we praise him for his loving-kindness