It was August, 1979, the middle of hurricane season, and Hurricane David was sweeping its way through the Lesser Antilles. I sat inside my dormitory room in Charleston, South Carolina, frantically flipping the pages of my calculus book, unaware of the storm. A set of problems due at the end of the week was swirling in my brain; a troubling, low test score in calculus was my only source of depression.
The category-five hurricane with sustained winds of one hundred seventy-five miles per hour unleashed its fury on the Dominican Republic, stripping its economy and destroying homes for three-fourths of its population. Three days later, it brushed the coast of Florida. Only then did I withdraw my head from my studies and listen as weather forecasters warned residents along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts to prepare for David’s impending landfall. Raised in Ohio, I knew about tornadoes and blizzards, and another loss for the Cincinnati Bengals; however, I was clueless about hurricanes.
The girls in my dorm came to my rescue. “You’re coming with us,” announced Sarah Beth.
I immediately envisioned refuge at Tara … all Southerners own plantations, right? We would feast on shrimp-and-grits and key lime pie while remnants of the hurricane flirted with the Spanish moss dangling outside Sarah Beth’s parlor window. It sounded like a perfect two-day respite from my calculus homework.
I slapped my knees and enthusiastically asked, “What’s the plan?”
“We’re going to load into my Volkswagen and drive until we run out of gas.”
My vision of key lime pie quickly slipped right off the silver dessert spoon, as I envisioned four college students, stranded on the highway in a lime-green VW, pummeled by wind gusts over two hundred miles per hour. This wasn’t a plan; this was CHAOS.
Are there storms taking shape on your grandchildren’s horizons, or are they already caught in a torrential downpour? If so, what is the reality of their storms?
- Are they one step behind the other students in their class?
- Are they pushed to excel?
- Are they having trouble making friends?
- Are they addicted to video games?
- Is their self-esteem based on social media?
- Are they battling anorexia, juvenile diabetes, or cancer?
- Are they navigating two homes, two schedules and two sets of rules, all in the wake of divorce?
- Are they straying away from the Christian faith?
Our grandchildren need our help and support navigating the world in which they live. Sadly, they are unaware of the spiritual battle occurring around them. Addictions, broken homes, bullying, humanism, immorality, peer pressure, pornography, suicide, and teen-age pregnancy (the list is endless) are becoming commonplace. The enemy’s lies invade our grandchildren’s homes, classrooms, and workspaces. In order to be effective grandparents, we need a battle plan.
We start by recognizing we are in a spiritual battle for the hearts, minds, and souls of our children and grandchildren. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). The enemy isn’t playing games. The personal storms raging against us and our families are a result of his cunning and vicious handiwork. If we are in a spiritual battle, then we need a spiritual weapon. Prayer is the strongest weapon in our arsenal.
Throughout Scripture, we see examples of men and women standing in the gap, interceding on behalf of others through prayer. We witness giants of the Old Testament such as Abraham, Moses, Esther, David, Daniel, Ezra, Elisha, and Nehemiah praying for God’s children. We watch Jesus intentionally remove himself from the crowd in order to pray. We witness him praying for Simon Peter (Luke 22:32), the soldiers who crucified him (Luke 23:34), and believers everywhere, including you and me, who are living in the 21st Century (John 17:20-21).
One of my favorite examples of intercessory prayer occurs in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Acts. The early church is being severely persecuted. James has been martyred, and Peter is imprisoned, bound in chains between two soldiers.
While Peter sleeps, a group of believers gather at Mary’s house to intercede on his behalf. Sometime during the night, the angel of the Lord awakens him. His chains fall off, and he follows the angel past the guards to the iron-gate leading into the city.
I am fascinated by the fact that Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, mentions the group of prayer warriors gathered at Mary’s house—not once but twice. I can’t help but think he repeats himself because he wants to emphasize the correlation between the intercessors’ prayers and Peter’s miraculous release from prison.
What is the correlation between intercessory prayer and the release of God’s power? Honestly, I am not sure. I don’t understand how electricity works; however, that doesn’t stop me from plugging in my coffee machine each morning and trusting it’s going to brew.
I participated in New England’s first Intentional Grandparenting conference, presented by Family Builders Ministries. I was thrilled and amazed when more than half of the attendees, including a majority of the conference speakers, braved the brisk morning air to attend a prayer meeting an hour before breakfast was served. As we sat in a cozy living room, our eyes closed, our thoughts turned heavenward, a man in our midst began to pray. “Lord, forgive me,” he began. “You haven’t heard me mention the names of my grandchildren in a long, long time…”
It’s time we engage our battle plan, utilizing the strongest weapon in our arsenal; it’s time we commit ourselves to stand in the gap, praying daily for our children, grandchildren, and future generations. While the enemy “comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” Jesus comes in order “that (we) may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). He is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
It’s time we get on our knees, placing our loved ones into his hands.
You know the reality of our grandchildren’s storms, even before we mention them by name. You are mighty to save; therefore, we call on your name, boldly, and confidently asking you to protect our grandchildren from the enemy’s assaults and to rebuke the storms, which he has placed in their paths. The victory is yours, Lord Jesus, for you have overcome the world.
In Your Name, we pray.