She peeks out from backstage behind the curtains of many faith stories. Her gray-brown hair is tucked behind ears less sharp than they used to be. She lives a hushed life, never calling attention to herself. Her knees are worn out. Not from scrubbing floors, but from whispering prayers.
It’s a common theme: along Bill’s or Susan’s broken road to a life-changing encounter with Jesus: an unseen warrior fighting battles on her knees. A grandma or aunt or mom—a force of unwavering love and never-give-up intercession—who undergirds each broken wanderer’s life.
“I probably wouldn’t be sitting here today if it weren’t for the prayers of my grandmother,” says Bill.
“My aunt’s prayers changed the course of my life. I’m not sure where I’d be if not for her faith,” Susan admits.
These unseen prayer warriors toss powerful pebbles in prayer with eternal ripple effects. Has a “pebble warrior” touched your life too? Perhaps you are, or will be, a warrior to some wanderer whose broken life keeps you up at night.
Lois was a pebble warrior. Grandmother to the Bible’s Timothy (the young man to whom Paul wrote in 1 and 2Timothy) she shows up in the background of the New Testament. We don’t know much about her or Timothy’s mother, Eunice. But Paul gives us a few clues in 2 Timothy 1:5:
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
Grandma Lois had what the Greeks would call anupokritos faith.
Do you see a familiar root word in there? Upokritos looks a bit like the word hypocrite. So Grandma Lois’s faith was an-upokritos, or the opposite of hypocrtitical. Grandma Lois had no hidden agendas in her faith or prayer life.
She was the real deal.
Pebble warriors pray out of a sincere love. Their prayers aren’t self-righteous blabberings. Jesus warned us about praying this way in Matthew 6:5:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites.”
We can learn 3 important lessons from Grandma Lois:
- Keep it real. Don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t pray fancy prayers. Just speak from your heart for the people God puts on your heart.
- Check your motives. Why are you asking God to intervene in another life? Do you want God to fix them so they’ll stop breaking the law, or being annoying, or so your life will be easier? Or is your love and concern for them so great that it spills over into earnest pleas for God to overpower them with His love? God’s Word is clear: our motives impact the outcome of our prayers.
- Expect fruit. Eunice and Lois prayed and lived sincerely faithful lives that bore fruit. Fruit is seed bearing. The scriptures tell us that Timothy had sincere faith too. When you live a sincere life of prayer and you walk out your faith, your very life ripples seeds that will take root and spread the Gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit .
I don’t know about you, but that is fresh water to a thirsty momma who sometimes wonders if my prayers make any difference at all. I wonder if Eunice or Lois ever questioned if anything of true significance would come of Timothy’s life.
Well, it did. Not just small things. Powerful things with bountiful ripple effects.
Paul, the missionary God appointed to spread the Gospel over the entire eastern Mediterranean region, entrusted his beloved church at Ephesus to young Timothy at a critical point in church history (read more here.) Paul deemed Timothy worthy to carry on the precious Gospel-bearing work that Christ Himself had entrusted to Paul. That is no small thing.
So the next time you find yourself weary in prayer for the broken wanderer in your life, remember the seeds you’re prayer-planting. Pray for God to bring a Paul to water the seeds. Pray for the Spirit to help them to take root. And don’t forget to expect fruit.
Do you have a “grandma Lois” who prayed for you? Are you a pebble warrior who is holding on in prayer for one you love? Share below!