Five years ago, I had hip replacement surgery. To assist with my recovery, the doctor recommended regular exercise. So I began a daily regimen of swimming laps for an hour. The habit continues to this day.
At first it went well, but after a while it became tedious and boring. My mind would wander and I’d lose track of the lap count. After a few months of boring, I hit upon the notion of praying for each of our kids and grandkids; devoting a length of the pool for each family member. This gave the time spent working out a greater purpose than just “working out.”
I’m not as young as I used to be. I like simple. My approach to interceding for my grandchildren is simple. On the first half of a swim stroke, the prayer is “Jesus”. On the second half of the stroke, I pray Anna (or Leo or Myriam, or Norman). I work my way through all their names and each one gets mentioned. That’s it! Over the years, I have changed the prayer content from time to time. Significant needs might get an extra lap or two. Sometimes I get more clever and change Jesus to Jesus-Healer because it is flu season or Jesus-Redeemer because it is Lent, or Jesus-Victor because it is Easter.
Years ago, I read a book entitled The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. In the book, Brother Lawrence makes the point that many opportunities for prayer exist outside the context of a formal daily prayer time. While personal prayer is indispensable, many other prayer opportunities exist within the humdrum of daily life. We have twenty grandchildren with more on the way. They all live close by and we try to stay well-informed on their lives but we cannot always keep up with the ever-changing needs of twenty grandchildren. This method of prayer affords me the opportunity to offer a “stripped down” version of intercession for each child, each day. The added personal bonus is: I don’t lose track of my lap count.
It works, as they say, swimmingly!
Do you have a strategy for praying for your grandchildren?
Henry Wittgens is the grandfather of 20 and lives in Dimondale, Michigan.
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