On becoming “Grand-Pop”
This is a picture of my son Aaron, with his son (my grandson), Wyatt. Don’t you love the matching flannel shirts? His daddy dressed them both that day… and those Carhartt(c) overalls are amazingly cute!
Wyatt was born on June 4th, 2013 – which made him a wondeful birthday present for my youngest daughter Faith, who celebrates her birth on that day. He’s my first grandchild, born to my oldest son, who has only been married for just over 1 1/2 years at the time of this writing.
As I’ve been considering the implications of the birth of this second generation that has sprung from me, I’ve been sobered. Though Wyatt’s upbringing falls mainly on my son and his sweet wife, Hannah, I have a deep conviction in my soul that I am responsible in some very important ways as well. Here are some of the things that come to mind:
- For now, they live in the same town as we do, so I have the opportunity to invest the seeds of what God has done in my life, into his life personally – through my interaction with his parents and by building my very own relationship with him (I’m “Grand-Pop,” by the way).
- When/if they move away (I’ll hate that day when/if it comes), I’ll have to be intentional about those things long-distance. I’ll have to write letters, send e-mails, make phone calls, do video calls… whatever it takes to make sure that I’m adding to Wyatt’s life what the LORD would have me add.
- I can always pray for him… and I’m learning not to take that lightly. I believe that as James says, the prayers of a righteous man avail much (James 5:16). Through Christ I have the opportunity to capitalize on the righteousness He has given to me, on Wyatt’s behalf. I can pray for him confidently, powerfully, and according to the truth of God and EXPECT to see good come of it. I’m just learning to do that as I begin my Grand-Pop journey.
A great pattern for prayer
Though I’ve been a believer in Christ for many years, and have practiced prayer for all that time, I feel like I’m JUST NOW beginning to learn how to pray. I’m just now devoting significant blocks of time to the practice, just now beginning to understand some of what Jesus taught about it, and just now really beginning to apply the head knowledge I’ve had all these years.
When it comes to prayer, I’m sorrowful it’s taken me so long to learn… but grateful for the LORD’s patience, mercy, and grace to get me where I need to be.
Just yesterday, as I was going through my prayer list, I came upon Wyatt’s name. The gravity of my responsibility as his “Grand-Pop” almost crushed me. I realized that my prayers for him matter greatly. I wanted to do my utmost to call down the blessing of heaven on his new, but significant life.
As I thought about his infant soul (he’s just turned 5 months old) I quickly realized that his main need at this point in life is for the LORD to become his… and for him to become the LORD’s. Wyatt, though an “innocent” child, is not innocent at all. He’s born a sinner and therefore needs the Savior. I want redemption for him. I want forgiveness for him. I want the new life in Christ that the scriptures promise for all who will believe. I want Wyatt to believe.
So I began to pray… and found myself praying according to the pattern of the “parable of the sower” Matthew 13:3-9. There, Jesus describes a farmer who is planting seed, a symbol of the truth of God. He also describes 4 different soils, symbols for the human soul, where the farmer plants the seed. Different things result in each case. Here’s how Jesus describes it and defines it:
VS 3-4: A sower went out to sow.And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.
Jesus’ interpretation – VS 19: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
I don’t want Wyatt’s soul to be the kind that is confused or unable to grasp the truth of the word of God’s kingdom. I want him to be able to understand. If he’s not able to understand, our enemy, the devil, will come and snatch away the seeds his parents and others are planting in his soul. So I pray for Wyatt to be open, receptive, and given understanding to grasp the word of God.
VS 5-6: Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.
Jesus’ interpretation – VS 20-21: As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
I don’t want the good work Wyatt’s parents are doing in teaching him the ways of the LORD to be something that stays on the surface. I want to see him take it in, deeply, and grow from it. So I pray that the cares of the world and the hardships of life would not be able to quench the joy he can have from a true knowledge of the LORD.
VS 7: Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.
Jesus’ interpretation – VS 22: As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
It would break my heart to see Wyatt raised in a home that honors and teaches the word of God faithfully, yet somehow, the deceitfulness of prosperity and the cares of life in a fallen world are able to make him so self-centered and self-protective that he rejects the word for the sake of gaining other, temporary, lesser things. So I pray for Wyatt to have a delight in the word of God… to see it for the treasure that it truly is. I ask the LORD to do this over and over and over in his life each day.
VS 8: Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Jesus’ interpretation – VS 23: As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.
THIS is the kind of life I want for Wyatt, the kind of soul I want the LORD to create in him. I pray that the LORD will make Wyatt’s soul into “good soil,” able to receive the word of God in all its fullness and power. I want him to understand it, to understand his own need for it, and for that understanding to bear the fruit of a godly, overcoming, God-honoring life.
A prayer for my grandson
Here’s the actual prayer I prayed that day… straight from my journal:
Wyatt is in great need of Your redemption dear LORD. He is yet to see his own sin, much less be able to repent of it. Father, prepare the soil of his soul for the seed of Your word. Make it good soil – free of the rocks that prohibit growth and free of the bent toward worries that would cloud his view and fill his heart with fear or self interest. Do not allow the thorns and cares of the world to choke out the seed of truth, the life of Jesus that can set him free. LORD Jesus, make Wyatt into good soil, ready to receive Your word at the appointed time, ready to produce the hundredfold fruit and blessings You have in store for his lifetime.
Why I wrote this post
I don’t recount this story to brag or make you think highly of me or my family. I am what I am by the grace of God, and for no other reason (1 Corinthians 15:10).
I write this post to spark your thinking about how YOU can pray for those under your care or in your family line…
- Your spouse
- Your children
- Your grandchildren
- Your great grandchildren
- Your parents
- Your siblings
- Your distant relatives
- And the list goes on…