Pray for children other than Your Grandchildren
by Lillian Penner
Published on May 20, 2024

Pray for children other than your grandchildren

Why should the blessing of a praying grandparent be lim­ited to their own grandchildren? We have op­portunities to stand in the gap for many children in our churches, as well as children of acquaintances who do not have praying grandparents. I have found that God has placed people in my life because He wants me to pray for them. 

Jesus Had a Heart for Children 

Jesus had a special place in his heart for children, and if we want to have a heart like Jesus, we will have a heart for children. Jesus tells the disciples, “Let the lit­tle children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14). 

Children today are growing up in an increasing­ly hostile world, receiving many conflicting messages through a media-driven culture that is trying to capture their minds. We cannot shelter them from the world, but we can stand in the gap for them and pray for a hedge of protection around them.

God has multiplied our family

Leslie Needham Johnson was two years old when my husband and I started befriending her family. She writes the following story. I hope it will encourage you to stand in the gap for some children who are not your grandchildren.

I’ve never felt like a surrogate regarding how John and Lillian have shown love to me. I have had three sets of grandparents for as long as I can remember. The place in my heart where I hold my deceased grandparents is the exact location, I keep my Papa John and Mama Lil. I have so many fond memories with my grandparents, just like my “surrogate grandparents,” although it feels funny to call them that. 

They say, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and my grandparents took that to heart. They took it so seriously that most of my friends didn’t even know there was no blood relation. It is funny because often in the Christian community, we hear people say, “She must have had a praying grandmother,” when a young man/woman turns out to have a heart for the Lord. I can say that a large part of my heart for God is directly connected to the presence of Papa John and Mama Lil in my life. Not only as people who pray for me but also as consistent grandparents in my life. God’s love for us has been demonstrated well through the passion these people have shown my family and me. 

When I look back over my life, I see my Papa John and Mama Lil, never missing the big things and thoroughly enjoying the little things. One of my favorite childhood memories includes them. We would have “family” dinners where we would go to their house, or they would come to ours. These meals consisted of 3 of my favorite things, Mama Lil salad (which I now include in my family recipes and make for my husband), yummy cookies, and Papa John “measuring” how much I learned in school that day. He would tell me to put my arms straight down, and he would pick me up by my fists and see if my brain was heavier than last time. I loved this so much.

This past year, I was incredibly blessed to have surrogate grandparents on my wedding day. My Mama Lil was in the room with my bridal attendants and me as I got ready for my wedding. She was right there with me in the limo ride to the most exciting yet scariest moment of my life. She was right there in the front row with my Papa John and my parents to pray for and bless a massive moment in my life. 

I am so grateful that today I can write that Papa John and Mama Lil not only saw me as a little girl in their “village” but as a genuine part of their family. 

(Written by Leslie Johnson, California)

Lillian Penner is the author of Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for Your Grandchildren in English and Spanish. She is on staff with the Christian Grandparenting Network prayer ministry, developing prayer cards, grandparents@Prayer groups, and the Grandparenting Day of Prayer. She has a passion for praying intentionally for her grandchildren and desires to share that passion with other grandparents. An avid blogger, Lillian breaks into smiles if you ask about her thirteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She and her husband, John, live in Portland, Oregon, where they are active in church ministries. She and her husband enjoy traveling, Southern Gospel music but most of all, enjoy spending time with their family.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

1 Comment

  1. Robert Arthur Marzullo

    He did so Lillian, as do I Children need to have adults around them whom they trust and feel safe around.


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