by Dr. Richard Blackaby
I must confess that I am not a very creative person. I haven’t had all that many original ideas of my own. What I am pretty good at is recognizing and implementing good ideas. Last year I heard a great idea.
Just over two years ago I became a grandparent. In fact, I gained three grandsons in 15 days. I immediately began to enter the names of my three new grandsons in my journal as I spent time with the Lord each morning. It was not unusual to see one or all of those boys’ names showing up in my prayer column. Then I heard what my friend Debbie Fisher, a great prayer warrior, was doing. She had developed a journal for each of her grandchildren. I immediately recognized that to be a brilliant idea.
I pulled out a nice looking journal for each of my grandchildren. I put some pictures of them into the journal. I went back through my own journal and transferred the prayers I had prayed for those boys since before they were born into their own journal. Last January I gained a fourth grandson, so I began a prayer journal for him too. Now I keep those four journals on my desk where I see them regularly.
Every time the Lord puts a special thought or concern for one of those boys on my heart, I pull out their journal and write down the specific prayer I am praying for them. Of course there are the usual prayers for their health, especially when they face specific challenges or doctor’s appointments. I have prayed that each would become a Christian early in life and grow to love God with all of their heart. I have prayed that God would draw their hearts to their brothers (two of my grandsons are fraternal twins) so that they remain close friends throughout their lives. I have prayed that God would protect them from temptation as they grow older and that God would place godly friends and influences around them. I’ve prayed for each of them to find a godly spouse who will love them and help them achieve all God intends for them.
Besides praying some normal things for them, I also pray in response to what I see, even though three of them are only two and the other is under five months. Emerson, the oldest, is a very thoughtful child. He wants everyone to be happy! If his twin brother is sad, he’ll bring him a toy to cheer him. Take Emerson to a playground and he immediately makes friends with all the other children. I have prayed that God will nurture that beautiful trait in Emerson and make him a compassionate adult who blesses and encourages those around him. Logan, younger than his brother Emerson by two minutes, is the feeler. He has a hearty laugh and a mischievous grin. He has a great imagination and loves to play with cars and toys. He also is great at giving hugs! I have prayed that God would guard Logan’s tender heart. I’ve also prayed that God would lead Logan to activities that engage his creativity and passions. Everett. Fifteen days younger than his cousins, has a grin that will melt your heart! He has an amazing memory. He faced some health challenges when he was born and will have to be on a special diet all of his life. I have prayed that God will take his health challenges and use them for good. I pray Everett will never resent God for his health issues but will grow up to be sensitive to others who face challenges as well. Lastly, Luca was born on January 1. He was a brute, weighing in at around nine pounds. He’s going to have a brother and two cousins who are two years older than he is. He seems to always be moving and always in a good mood. I pray God will make him strong and will use his life in a powerful way.
I have found that writing out my specific prayers for my grandchildren has some wonderful results. For one, it helps me think through very specifically what I am asking God to do for them. Second, it keeps a specific record of what I have prayed. Third, it records my first-hand observations of each child’s character and behavior. Because I write down those observations, they will be able to read about what they were like when they were young.
My plan is to keep these journals for as long as I can. I imagine when they become teenagers I’ll have lots of entries! At some point, I intend to give each child their journal as a keepsake of what their grandfather prayed for them over the years. Perhaps I’ll do that when they become adults, or get married, or begin their career. They’ll have a record not only of what was prayed for them, but also what their grandfather sensed God doing in their life from before they were born. I pray each child will be walking with God as adults so they recognize God’s hand on their life since they were babies. I hope each grandchild will treat the journal as a keepsake.
Perhaps this is an idea that would work for you as well. You might feel led to start a journal for your children. It might be good to let them know you have a book where you are writing out your prayers for them. That might spark some interesting conversations! It may be a great encouragement to let your children or grandchildren know that you regularly pray for them. Of course, you can begin a specific prayer journal for anyone who is important in your life. Perhaps it is your spouse or a prayer partner. The key is recording your prayers in a specific book.
God has convicted me that I need to be much more intentional in my prayers. I don’t just want to tell my grandkids I am praying for them. I want to keep a detailed record of what it is I asked God to do in each of their lives. I am confident the prayers will do them some good. I hope the actual journal will be a treasured gift one day as well.
**I chose to use some nice leather journals like this one (aff link) to create a nice gift when they are older.