Sharing our faith with our family isn’t always easy. Some of us are separated from our grandchildren by physical miles, while others are separated by the emotional distance created as a result of divorce, broken relationships, misplaced priorities, unwarranted suspicions, time constraints, and lack of forgiveness within our families. Others of us have been forbidden to mention Jesus’ name in the presence of our grandchildren.
Prayer provides a natural avenue for us to share our spiritual inheritance. It offers us a platform from which we can communicate the love we have for our family and God. Prayer affords us the opportunity to confirm our Lord’s abiding presence and steadfast love. Furthermore, it opens the door for us to teach our grandchildren about how to trust and depend upon Jesus.
A powerful way to share our faith in Jesus is to leave a written legacy in the form of a prayer journal.
A precious grandmother, who is interested in creating prayer journals for her grandchildren, reached out to me with a simple question: “How do I begin?”
I sent her a list of ideas gleaned not only from personal experience but from my friends and family members who faithfully record prayers for their grandchildren. I accompanied this list of suggestions with the reminder that there isn’t a right or wrong way to create a prayer journal. Journals come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the person keeping the journal. It’s important to remember that God isn’t interested in format, style or syntax. He is interested in our hearts.
Steps for Keeping a Prayer Journal:
The first thing to do is gather your materials. You can purchase a spiral or composition notebook, or you can purchase a brightly-colored journal with designs on the cover that remind you of your grandchild. If you tend to be a perfectionist, I suggest that you use a pencil so you can erase. Some of you may prefer to type your prayers on the computer. For those of you with an artistic bent, you can record them in calligraphy. Feel free to be creative. I have a friend who, at the start of a new school year, tapes a picture of her grandchild in the prayer journal.
The second step is to set realistic goals for yourself. Are you able to write one prayer per day, week or month? Choose a format and time schedule that works best for you. Let prayer journaling become a habit. Promise yourself that you will give yourself grace and not get discouraged if you miss a day, week, or month. Remember that discouragement tempts everyone to quit, and you don’t want to quit.
The third step is to start writing!!! Remind yourself that you are simply writing a letter to Jesus and conversing with him about your precious grandchild. Letters begin with salutations such as “Dear God” or Abba Father.” One of my favorite salutations is “LORD Jesus” with LORD capitalized.
Recommendations for Prayers:
I recommend that you write a prayer of commitment on the first page. For example, you may write, “LORD Jesus, thank you for this opportunity to record my prayers for _________ (name your grandchild). I commit this journal to you. I pray that I bless, honor and glorify you with the words written on these pages. Amen.” A commitment prayer is important because it keeps our eyes focused on the One to whom we are praying.
I also suggest that you include a prayer of thanksgiving following the commitment prayer. After all, grandchildren are a gift from God and a “crown to the aged” (Proverbs 17:6).
Your grandchildren desperately need your prayers. They need you to pray for their salvation and sanctification; they need you to ask God to guard their heart, mind, body and soul. They need you to pray for their choice in friends, moral character, work ethic, recovery from illness, first day of school, birthday, football tryouts, dance recital, summer jobs, sibling rivalry, college applications … the list is endless. If you don’t know what to pray, ask your grandchildren for their weekly prayer requests. (Don’t be surprised by what they say. Like me, you may be praying for a wiggly tooth!)
Others Things to Consider:
One way to strengthen your prayers is to couple them with Scripture. Whenever you are reading your Bible and a verse jumps out at you, record this verse on a sticky note. If you have more than one grandchild and are juggling multiple journals, make sure to jot down the name of the grandchild for whom this verse pertains. Refer to these notes when you are writing in your journal; try to include one verse of Scripture in every prayer. If your Bible gets cluttered with too many sticky notes, record the verses in a separate notebook.
Don’t forget to date your prayers. Remember that you are leaving a written legacy of prayer!
Grandparents often ask me for a recommendation about when to share their prayer journal with their grandchild. Honestly, this is between you and God. You may want to let your grandchild know about the journal ASAP and invite them to read your prayers as you record them. Or you may want to save the journal as a gift for a specific milestone such as your grandchild’s high school or college graduation, wedding day or the birth of their first child, namely your great-grandchild.
Years ago, a beloved friend of mine promised herself that she would write a prayer for one of her grandchildren every day. She prayed faithfully as her grandchildren performed in middle school plays and went to summer camp, obtained their driver’s license and accepted their high school diplomas. Whether life was kind or unkind, my friend interceded on her grandchildren’s behalf. She prayed without ceasing as her precious granddaughter fought valiantly against osteosarcoma and said good-bye to her earthly life three days after her eighteenth birthday.
My friend has now filled three prayers journals for each of her seven grandchildren. The journals are 180 pages, which totals 3,780 pages of Scripture-guided prayer. Because of her love for Jesus and her love for her grandchildren, my friend’s prayers are honest, transparent, trusting and filled with the word of God. And she has the written record to show it.
Like my friend, I want to be a grandmother who leaves a written legacy for my grandchildren. A legacy of prayer pointing them straight to Jesus.