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In Part 1, we introduced 7 wonderful mothers and grandmothers who have over 670 years of experience in praying for their children and grandchildren.
In Part 2, we considered the first two questions posed to each mother and grandmother about their practices in praying for their children and grandchildren.
In Part 3, our friends shared scripture verses, stories of answered prayer, and some motivating factors which keep them consistent in prayer.
Today in Part 4, I want to introduce another friend, whose practice of prayer might resemble many of ours.
Donna and Tommy Horner were High School Senior Sunday School teachers when we served in Plano. Tommy was the chairman of the search committee that called us there. They were steadfast, selfless volunteers for the student ministry, always seeking to impact the lives our students for the Lord.
Reading through the practical ways that our previous six contributing mothers and grandmothers pray for their children, it can easily become discouraging, or to feel like you are a failure by not praying enough, or correctly, or as disciplined in prayer for your family. But please do not despair and do not give up!
Another Perspective on Prayer
My name is Donna Horner, my grandchildren call me Grandy. Tommy is Pappy.
I have three children, 35, 33 and 30 years old, all happily married and all serving the Lord. I have 5 living grandchildren, ages 5,3,1,11 months and 7 months and one grandson in heaven that I am looking forward to rocking one day. I am blessed that they all live close by and I adore them all.
Prayer has always been a part of my life. I was saved at 9, and grew up in a Christian home, with two set of Christian grandparents. I can’t remember a time not thinking prayer was important.
There is no one-size-fits-all design for a daily time with the Lord!
I don’t really have any habits. I don’t do anything the same. Tommy, my husband, has all these rituals, how he studies the Word every morning, where he keeps all his belongings, how it upsets him if I leave the pod in the coffee maker, where each thing is in his work backpack…. This is not me. Yes, I have a place to hang my towel and robe…. But that’s about it.
I don’t get flustered because things are out of place, or I don’t do something at a certain time of day or at all for that matter… The problem with this, I have never been able to establish a routine time of meeting with God. I have been convicted thousands of times in my lifetime, and I try to establish one, and I last about a week. And I always feel like a failure. So, these questions have made me look introspectively to explain what I do instead.
My Way is Different, but It’s OK!
When asked. “how do you pray for your children,” I was ashamed that I didn’t have a set time of day they are on my heart, or a specific verse that I pray for each one, or a list that I can mark off each day. But:
- Can you go through my drawers and find many, many journals where I have done this through the years?
- Can you find journal entries where I have pleaded with the Lord on my children’s behalf?
- Can I name many times that I have been on my knees by their bedsides praying over them?
- Can I tell you of sleepless nights where God makes me get up and get in his word, or just sit there and pray and meet with him?
- Can I tell you how God puts my children or others on my heart, at different hours, every day, and how right then is where I stop and pray for them?
- Can you look on my computer and see devotions that I have written when God speaks to me, or letters to my children on Mother’s Day and other specific moments?
- Yes to all of these.
MY greatest joy, MY GREATEST JOY, is that you can look at my children and see that they love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind. The greatest blessing in my life is my children and their faith. Can I take responsibility for that? Of course not. As parents, we guide them towards God, and we live life as the best example we know how, messing up thousands of times along the way, and then just praying that they accept God as their Lord and Savior. We can’t do that for them.
We tried our best by making church a priority every Sunday (no questions asked), keeping them involved in church activities (they had to pick one to commit to), going faithfully to VBS and I would head up one of their classes each summer, making them go to church summer camp (usually kicking and screaming), etc.
I constantly reminded my children, and still do, to seek God, look for Him daily, look how He’s working in your life, look at how He’s using you, look at how you can be that example for someone else, let God shine through your eyes, your words, your actions.
I came to the conclusion years ago, that my way is OK. It may not be the perfect plan. I can’t say that I meet God every morning like I wish I could. But I can tell you that He meets me sometime during the day, whether I’m looking for him or not. He is my lifeline. My rock. My strength. My joy. I am sure I have disappointed Him more times than I have made him proud, but He assures me that He loves me for who I am, and that He forgives me when I go silent.
Crisis of Belief
For the first time in my life, two years ago, I questioned my faith on a profound basis. It was a frightening place to be in. When my grandson died in utero, 6 days before he was due, our worlds were rocked. The Rock I had always stood on so firmly was crumbling all around me, and I was barely clinging on. My prayer became… “Oh Lord. I believe. BUT HELP my unbelief.”
It is not something I am proud of, but God and I wrestled for several months. We put on boxing gloves, and He let me keep pounding and pounding, and He just stood there and took it, and just kept telling me how much He loved me. God gave us these emotions. He knows our hearts. He knows when we grieve, and when we are angry. He’s ok with that. And He answers by never leaving, never giving up on me, and answering prayers along the journey, reminding me He’s right there with me.
My son’s and daughter-in-law’s faith became their saving grace. No one could minister to them, no one could reach them, no one but God. And the world watched as they leaned on Him, and still do, to get them through this tragedy in their life, and live out loud with the assurance that Hayes is in the arms of Jesus, and they will one day hold him again. That is a blessing. Watching their faith thrive through a horrific storm.
I think of the disciples on the boat, when they were in the storm, and they saw Jesus “in” the storm. Then their attention went back on the storm. I get lost in the pelting rainstorm and swirling winds sometimes. I take my eyes off of Jesus…. But not for long. Because the fear of not having Jesus in my life is SO much greater than living life without Him. My eyes may wander, but eventually they focus once again on the Lord. Only He can get me through the storms.
The day we buried my grandson, my son asked if one of his friends that had come in for the celebration service could stay at our house. I remember wilting on the inside because I wanted to say “NO!” but remember graciously agreeing. Tommy and I were so exhausted from the longest week of our lives, and when we got home, my son’s friend wanted to chat for a while. He poured out his heart in the next hour or so and told how he and his wife had tried to have children, and the many losses they had experienced. We talked about their plans going forward. My heart broke for them. He flew all the way from Virginia to be with my son, because he knew the great loss he was facing.
The next morning, I could not find my guest anywhere. I searched the house. Finally, I saw him through my kitchen window, outside on the porch, reading his Bible. God drew me to my knees, at that window, behind him, he never saw me, and I begged God with all my heart to bless him and my son with a child next year. It was a powerful moment in my life. One that when I stood up, I had NO doubt that it would be answered.
My son’s friend adopted a child in the next nine months, and my second grandson was born 15 days after the 1st year homegoing celebration of Hayes. God knew they needed to grieve that one year mark, before celebrating the birth of their second child. He works in mighty ways.
After my battle with him over losing Hayes, and I was finally back up on the Rock, God gave me a vision one night of me holding 3 babies in 2019. We had lost Hayes in 2018, and Jess had not decided if she was having any more kids. I was convinced I would have 3 new babies in 2019, no doubt.
Jess was already pregnant and due in February 2019. They hadn’t shared it with the family yet because of Hayes. Cali told us at Christmas she was due in July 2019. Then Jolie became pregnant in January of 2019. Jolie had a miscarriage, and it was a difficult time…. I told her she will be having a baby in 2019, which sounded impossible. They all knew my vision. Well…. She became pregnant, but wasn’t due until 2020. I told her she better prepare to have an early arrival… I was thinking Christmas which would make her baby about 4 weeks early. Of course Jolie was not thrilled with my vision, so we never discussed it, but it was always in my thoughts…. Her baby arrived December 5, 2019, at 32 ½ weeks, and it was a traumatic delivery, for both Jolie and the baby, and little Berkley spent 6 weeks in NICU, but she is doing fantastic today! 3 babies in 2019!!! A promise fulfilled. What a blessing!
My Opportunities as “Grandy!”
During these strange times of quarantine, when I wasn’t able to be around my grandchildren, for all of our safety, I started a zoom school with my two oldest grandchildren. I read them (via zoom) the Bible stories of Noah, Jonah, Sampson and Joseph, and planned activities and snack time for each lesson.
I would take the supplies over to them, or amazon them to their house before our lessons, so all my daughter had to do was guide them. What fun that was. I’m working on Daniel next!
Thank you, Donna, for sharing your story. As all of us realize, we have a privilege and responsibility to spiritually invest in the lives of our children and grandchildren. May we be faithful to pursue God, in the way He has shaped us!
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Resources for Moms and Grandmothers:
Expecting: Praying for Your Child’s Development―Body and Soul: https://amzn.to/3jl4DT8
Praying the Scriptures for Your Children: https://amzn.to/30Nq0UX
Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens: https://amzn.to/2OI72Jp
Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children: https://amzn.to/2ZLETaN
The Power of a Praying® Parent Deluxe Edition: https://amzn.to/32Fp1IJ
The Power of a Praying® Grandparent Large Print https://amzn.to/30wbfpj
Resources to teach your children to pray:
I Can Pray Every Day: https://amzn.to/30A3NcM
Indescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids About God and Science: https://amzn.to/2Cqh8fO