Upcoming National Grandparents Day

Lillian Penner, who leads Grandparents @ Prayer would like to remind everyone to celebrate this year’s National Grandparents Day by praying for our future generations:

 Christian Grandparenting Network is asking grandparents all over the world to unite in prayer for their grandchildren on Sunday, September 8, 2013. This date is the official United States National Grandparents Day designated by a Senate proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

            Our grandchildren are living in a desperate moral and spiritual climate navigating in a world hostile to truth. Satan has launched an aggressive attack our families, schools and our nation to desensitize our children to truth and righteousness. Perhaps at no other time in our history is a call to prayer more urgently required than it is today for our grandchildren.

The mission of Christian Grandparenting Network (CGN) is to promote effective grandparenting, which is intentional about assisting our children and grandchildren to know and follow Christ wholeheartedly. CGN is issuing a call to all grandparents to join with other grandparents in their churches, community and around the world for an intentional day of prayer on behalf of the next generation.

            Will you stand in the GAP to join grandparents worldwide on Sunday September 8 to pray for the next generation that they may walk in the truth? Will you volunteer to plan an event with your friends or in your church?

To join the movement  go to https://www.facebook.com/GrandparentDayOfPrayer?ref=hl, “Like” our fan page, “Click” on the free download button to get the chapter “Communicate your Faith to your Grandchildren” from the book Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for your Grandchildren by Lillian Penner, National Prayer Coordinator for Grandparents Day of Prayer.

For more additional information and resources go to www.gocgn.com or contact Lillian Penner lpenner@christiangrandparenting.net.

We at GTO sincerely hope you will get involved in this prayer effort and help move our children and grandchildren one step closer to the Lord.


Are You a Helicopter Grandparent?

Today we’d like to share with you a wonderful post from Cavin Harper at Christian Grandparenting Network. If you haven’t checked out The CGN website yet, we encourage you to do so. It is filled with resources, insightful articles, and podcasts from Cavin’s “Not on My Watch” weekly radio program–all designed to help you become a better and more intentional grandparent.

In this article, Cavin shares on the downsides of being a “helicopter grandparent.”

Are You a Helicopter Grandparent?

Joyce likes to hover. She hovers over her daughter by examining and critiquing everything she does. When her grandson was born she hovered—“That’s not the right way. Let me show how to do it, dear.” When the child was sick or had a runny nose, she would drop by with the recommended remedies and makes sure they were probably administered. At every stage of development, Joyce was there with her advice and ‘words of encouragement’, which translated mean, “Let me show you how to do it.” Her daughter feels like she is still treated like a little girl. Even her grandson, now eight, feels smothered by Grandma’s attention.

Hovering grandparents (or parents) are like a helicopter always looking over another’s shoulders and beating them with the constant battering of wind and chatter. I have talked with many parents, especially mothers, who resent the constant ‘hovering’ of a mother or mother-in-law. Men are not exempt from the hovering offense either. Men do like to ‘fix’ things, after all.

Wise grandparents understand their boundaries and even discuss them with their adult children to make sure that they are not violating those boundaries. Our goal as grandparents is to build up and enable our adult children to be the best parents possible. Interference and giving advice are not the approaches that will help them succeed as parents. There are times when it is necessary to give advice, but mostly it should be given only when asked.

Wise grandparents trust their adult children to make mistakes and learn. More importantly, they trust God to protect and guide. They know when to step in and when to stay out. Wisdom builds up. Hovering foolishly tears down. May God grant you wisdom so that you can land that helicopter and do some groundwork of building solid foundations for a strong home.


In writing Grandparenting Through Obstacles, we quickly discovered that the issue of establishing boundaries and balance between parents and grandparents was a major concern of many grandparents. They’re never quite sure if they’re doing too much or not enough, or if they should even dare ask.

Because of this, we decided to devote one-fourth of the book to “Partnering with Parents.” In this section readers will learn of other grandparents who have struggled with the issues of boundaries and balance and how they successfully navigated through its troubled waters. We hope you will check it out for some creative ideas that may help you or someone you know.

Thank you to Cavin Harper for sharing his insights on helicopter grandparenting! You can check out his original article on this topic on the CGN blog.

Praying for Grandchildren with Lillian Penner

Thank you for joining us again as we speak one more time with Lillian Penner, the National Prayer Director and founder of G@P (grandparenting prayer groups) at Christian Grandparenting Network. As we mentioned last time, Lillian has developed a great resource for grandparents–a prayer card that offers suggestions and scriptures for how to pray for grandchildren.

Before we get into the specifics of the card, let’s find out from Lillian how they came about.

Lillian Penner

Lillian Penner

Lillian, when we last talked to you, you shared with us two of your favorite scriptures that you believe really speak to God’s promises for our children and grandchildren. How did these and other such scriptures provide inspiration for creating your prayer cards?

Scriptures like these made me excited to pray, because I knew that I was praying God’s will for my grandchildren. After I got excited about praying the scriptures, I wanted to be able to share them with others. I thought a good way to do that was to develop a prayer card filled with God’s Word and promises concerning our grandchildren.

After I created the prayer cards, I’ve had many grandparents tell me they like these and other resources that I’ve provided for them. I then decided to pull these resources together into a book called Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for your Grandchildren. Right now, I have prayer cards that help with praying for children, grandchildren, children specifically in school (preschool to college), and for grandchildren’s various life stages (from infants to married grandchildren). Additionally, my blog at http://www.grandparentingwithapurpose.com offers other resources and help for grandparents who want to be intentional about imparting the things of God to their grandkids.


Lillian’s cards are designed so that a different suggested prayer and accompanying scripture can be prayed each day of the month. On her “Praying for Children and Grandchildren” prayer card, some prayer ideas include praying for compassion, direction, friendships, obedience to God, wisdom, salvation, peace, and self-control. Each prayer suggestion is one sentence, with a blank where the praying grandparent would insert the child’s name to make the prayer personal. A corresponding scripture follows each prayer.

The simple ideas are meant to serve as prayer starters, a launching pad of sorts for your prayers. Once you get started by saying the suggested prayers, it’s then time to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you into a deeper more personal prayer for your grandchildren. He will show you the specific needs of each grandchild so you can then pray more effectively.

Lillian, I know these cards will be a blessing to any grandparent who uses them. Can you tell our readers how to access these cards?

The best way to get the cards is to download them from www.christiangrandparenting.net for free. From the website click on the prayer link, which will take you to the cards. You may also contact CGN to purchase hard copies of the cards.

Thank, you, Lillian! I hope all of you will take advantage of these prayer cards and share them with your family and friends as well. I also hope you have enjoyed our time with Lillian Penner and learning more about the awesome work she is doing across the country to help grandparents as they pray for their grandkids.

Meet Lillian Penner–Helping Grandparents Pray (Pt.2)

Welcome back, and thanks for joining us for Part 2 of our interview with Lillian Penner, the National Prayer Director for Christian Grandparenting Network. Last time, we learned about how Lillian became involved with CGN and formed G@P (grandparents’ prayer groups), as well as her vision for the prayer groups. Today, let’s see what words of encouragement Lillian has for grandparents.

Lillian Penner

Lillian Penner

What advice or encouragement do you have for grandparents who may be growing weary of praying for a difficult family situation?

This is a tough issue that many grandparents are facing today. I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to take  those issues and lay them at the feet of Jesus. He is sitting at the right hand of God, waiting for us to bring our concerns for our children and grandchildren to Him.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we have a wonderful Helper. The Holy Spirit knows the needs of our children and grandchildren, and knows God’s will for them. He will intercede for us, if we ask, according to Romans 8:26-27. Often I don’t know how to pray for my loved ones, but I ask the Holy Spirit to make intercession for me, and it helps to take the heavy load off of my heart.

What would you say is/are the biggest challenges grandparents and parents face today concerning their (grand)children?

A major challenge with grandchildren is how to relate to them once they get into the technological age. Today, if grandparents want to relate to their grandchildren in the teen years and beyond, they need to learn how to email, text, and participate in social media, if they want to stay connected with them. Grandchildren have many opportunities to be involved in extracurricular activities, so they are very busy. Grandparents need to be able to keep up with them!

A challenge with parents is that they are so busy nowadays, it’s hard to find time to connect with them and the grandchildren. Some grandparents struggle to know their boundaries and also fall into competition with the other grandparents. I have recently talked with several grandmothers who are not allowed to have any contact with their grandchildren because of conflict with the parents.  Additionally, about one-third of all grandparents are having to raise their grandchildren full-time.

It is so important that we know how to pray effectively for our children and grandchildren. There are just so many issues and struggles to deal with nowadays. Lillian, do you have any favorite scriptures that speak to God’s promises for our children and grandchildren?

My two favorites are:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”                           1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

 Thank you, Lillian, for sharing from God’s Word with us today. Knowing how to pray makes all the difference–in our lives and in the lives of our family. Next time we meet, we’re going to share with you the incredible prayer cards that Lillian has developed as a tool to help parents and grandparents more effectively pray for their children and grandchildren. We hope you will join us next Tuesday and learn how you can receive your own prayer cards for free!

Once again, in the meantime, please visit Lillian at her blogsite: www.grandparentingwithapurpose.com.

Lillian Penner is an author of Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for Your Grandchildren, blogger, speaker, and national prayer coordinator for the Christian Grandparenting Network. She has been active in church ministry for more than fifty years. Currently residents of Portland, Oregon, Lillian and her husband John have three sons and nine grandchildren.

Meet Lillian Penner–Helping Grandparents Pray, Part 1

Lillian Penner

Lillian Penner


Today we’re going to hear from a very special guest: Lillian Penner. Lillian is   the National Prayer Director for Christian Grandparenting Network. I’ve asked Lillian to share a little about her role in the organization, her vision, and any suggestions she has for helping and encouraging grandparents in their prayer journey.

We won’t get to all of that today, but we’ll be back with Lillian this Thursday as well. Let’s get started since we have so much to talk about with Lillian.

First of all, how did you initially come to get involved with CGN?

I received the special gift of grandparenting as I approached my midlife season. It was exciting to become a grandparent. However, I learned that along with this gift came a sacred trust to imprint another generation with the message of God’s faithfulness. Reflecting on my new responsibility, I realized my prayers were too general and vague, and I became frustrated with how I was praying for my grandchildren.

After I asked God for wisdom and read several books about prayer and grandparenting, my praying changed dramatically. I discovered God’s Word was a great resource to help me with my praying; not only for my family, but also for myself. Praying Scripture gave me more boldness and confidence in my praying.

While surfing on the internet looking for grandparenting resources, God directed me to the Christian Grandparenting Network website. After sharing my passion with them, they invited me to become their National Prayer Coordinator, a position they did not yet have. This would include writing devotionals and prayer suggestions on their website.

I recognize that these are challenging moral and spiritual times in which we live, especially for our grandchildren. A media-driven culture has desensitized our grandchildren and pushed the boundaries of a Christlike lifestyle. Today, the role of grandparenting has become very important because the rescue of our culture may well rest on the shoulders of praying grandparents.

What an incredible call we have for the second half of our life! As the National Prayer Coordinator for CGN, I want to help encourage grandparents to better understand the mighty and powerful force that prayer can be for our grandchildren in these times.

I understand that you have started something called the Grandparents @ Prayer Project. Explain a little about what that is and what your vision is for the project moving forward.

At Christian Grandparenting Network we have developed “Grandparents@ Prayer” or G@P. This is an intercessory prayer group that brings grandparents together to pray for each others’ grandchildren and families.

In the Bible, Esther stood in the gap for her people, the Jews. Today, grandparents can stand in the gap with prayer for their grandchildren. As grandparents, we can make a significant difference in the world by praying regularly and deliberately for our grandchildren and their parents. We have an opportunity to powerfully touch the lives of another generation for eternity.

At G@P…

Our purpose is to call grandparents around the world to intentionally and regularly gather to pray and intercede for their grandchildren, children, and communities.

Our goal is to encourage and provide resources that help grandparents become intentional prayer warriors on behalf of their grandchildren. This is accomplished through the personal discipline of intercessory prayer in the battle against the Enemy.

Our structure is that of small and large groups meeting for about an hour once or twice a month at a designated location for guided prayer and fellowship.

I see an urgency for grandparents to intentionally pray for their grandchildren in this morally and spiritually deprived world in which we live today. Moving forward, my vision is that we would have 100 G@P groups in the U.S. and other parts of the world by the end of 2013.

So, you want to reach 100 in about a year. How large or widespread is G@P today

We currently have about 22 groups meeting throughout the U.S.

Lillian, for those grandparents out there right now reading this and wanting to get involved in a G@P prayer group, how would they do so?

Grandparents can get involved by going to www.christiangrandparenting.net then clicking on the prayer link and completing the form. They will then be sent information, including the locations of current G@P groups. If there are no groups in their area, we also have guidelines for how grandparents can start their own group.

Does G@P have a presence in churches, or is it restricted to individual and small-group participation?

The G@P groups are used by churches, small groups, and also individuals. Some groups start as small as one interested grandparent asking a friend to join him or her in prayer. Usually the groups will grow by word of mouth as others hear how they can get involved.

Thanks, Lillian, for introducing us to your prayer network. On Thursday we’ll discuss meeting grandparenting challenges through prayer, scriptures to encourage grandparents, and the prayer cards Lillian has developed to help grandparents more effectively pray God’s Word.

In the meantime, you can learn more about Lillian at her blogsite: www.grandparentingwithapurpose.com.

Lillian Penner is an author of Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for Your Grandchildren, blogger, speaker, and national prayer coordinator for the Christian Grandparenting Network. She has been active in church ministry for more than fifty years. Currently residents of Portland, Oregon, Lillian and her husband John have three sons and nine grandchildren.

Creating Your Own Grandparenting Camp

Last Thursday and this Thursday we are interviewing book contributor Barbara Ann Baranowski, who wrote the story “Gone Camping” for Grandparenting Through Obstacles. Barbara and her husband do not live near their grandchildren, and they wanted to find a way to help them grow in Christ during the short times they were together. After praying about it, God gave them the idea to create a special camp-like experience for their grandkids over the summer. It was soon dubbed “Nana Camp” by the grandchildren!

Barbara kept the camp simple, but made sure it included Bible stories, memorization verses, songs, crafts, games, and fun play times. She also gave her “campers” a special keepsake to take home with them to remind them of Nana Camp.

In our book, we suggested some ways that virtually any grandma or grandpa could start their own grandparenting camp:

  • Pick a theme for the camp then choose activities to support that theme. Your theme could be creation, God’s grace, forgiveness, God’s power, and so forth.
  • Plan the camp for the middle ages of your group. You can always allow the older children to help the younger ones.
  • Plan your activities around your expertise, whether that’s art, science, or baking. If you have a passion for something, your grandkids will join in your enthusiasm. And, if both Grandma and Grandpa are helping out, this is a great opportunity for both of you to share skills and interests with your grandkids.
  • Be sure to create opportunities for the kids to ask Jesus into their hearts. Don’t ever assume that children have a personal relationship with the Lord. Always give them a chance to get to know Him in a safe environment.

The best part about a grandparenting camp is that you really don’t need any special equipment or even a fancy place to hold it. You can have it in your own backyard or at a neighborhood park. The most important ingredient is you–and the spiritual memories you will provide for your grandchildren.

If you do prefer a get-away time with your grandkids where you can truly bond with them in a fun and biblical environment, you may want to consider an established family camp, such as Grand Camps, hosted by The Christian Grandparenting Network.

How about you? What special moments or activities have you created for your grandkids that make them want to keep coming back to “Nana’s” again and again? We’d love to hear your ideas!

Don’t forget to come back Thursday for Part 2 of our interview with Barbara Baranowski.

Meet Cavin Harper!

I know we typically post interviews on Thursdays, but I wanted to conduct a special interview today with Cavin Harper, Founder of the Christian Grandparenting Network, based in Colorado Springs. Cavin recently interviewed me and Dianne on his new radio program, “Not on My Watch.” The program aired this past Sunday and will be available on the Christian Grandparenting Network website later today.  We hope you will take a listen! In the meantime, I’d like to have Cavin share about his organization and passion for helping grandparents.

GTO: Welcome to our GTO blog! Cavin, you were asked to write the foreword for Grandparenting Through Obstacles. What in particular attracted you to this project?

Cavin: The stories from grandparents who have or are in the process of working through the major obstacles facing them and other grandparents today. I like that these are real-life stories; not theoretical jargon.

GTO:  That’s what attracted us to the project too! We knew a lot of grandparents with incredible stories to share. You’re the Founder and Executive Director of the Christian Grandparenting Network, which is a national organization for grandparents. When did you start CGN, and what prompted you to do so?

Cavin: I started CGN (originally called ElderQuest) in 1998 to help those approaching “retirement” years re-evaluate what retirement really means. When my first grandchild was born, I knew God wanted me to challenge this generation to live for the next to make sure they grew up knowing the Lord. Over time I felt God wanted us to narrow our ministry’s focus to grandparents—to mobilize them to intentionally represent Christ to the next generations.

GTO: Grandparenting Through Obstacles focuses on the various challenges Christian grandparents may face when trying to impart their faith to their grandkids. What do you believe are the biggest challenges for Christian grandparents today?

Cavin: In many ways it’s the Baby Boomer grandparents themselves (which I am) who tend to be self-absorbed, focusing on their own agendas and goals. Too often we fail to recognize the things we do that alienate our grandchildren or adult children. Our job is to be authentic and compassionate without being judgmental in a world that is vastly different from the one we grew up in. We’re also challenged to cultivate intentional, inter-generational relationships. We’re in a unique position to build the bridges that impact the culture and reconnect the generations according to God’s design.

GTO: That’s an interesting perspective, and quite a challenge you throw out to Christian grandparents. How does CGN help today’s grandparents meet these challenges?

Cavin: We’re committed to building a movement of grandparents for Christ who are resolved to radically engage the next generations with truth, righteousness, and authentic faith. We aim to provide resources and opportunities to help these grandparents, and we work to create settings where grandparents and their grandchildren of all ages may grow, serve, and worship together.  Some of the ways we do this include:

GrandCamps—an opportunity for grandparents to spend five days with their grandkids in an intensive time of relationship building, skill development, and spiritual formation

GrandAdventures—a variety of inter-generational events focused on serving others

G@P Groups and Grandparents’ Day of Prayer—gathering grandparents to worship and pray together

“Not on My Watch” Radio Program—a weekly broadcast to encourage, challenge, and motivate grandparents and parents to reach the next generation, often through the amazing stories and resources God has made available to us

Website—we use our website and other social media to help connect grandparents to the network of tools and people available to help them in their journey with their grandkids

Thank you, Cavin, for sharing your passion and the mechanisms you’ve developed to help Christian grandparents pass along their faith. I encourage you to check out CGN and all the resources it provides. While you’re there, don’t forget to download the September 2, 2012 podcast from “Not on My Watch,” where you’ll hear me and Dianne discuss Grandparenting Through Obstacles.