This article was originally published in the January 2021 issue of Mature Living.
The world is changing quickly, and grandparents today are becoming more intimately involved in the upbringing, spiritual education, and everyday care of their grandchildren.
When we, as grandparents, teach our grandchildren to pray, we plant within their young minds and hearts the seed that will take root, grow strong, and one day produce fruit of its own. When we give them the priceless gift of prayer, we provide for them the sturdy foundation that will lead to a vital relationship with God. Imagine the eternal impact of their prayers over a lifetime nourished and sustained by Jesus Christ. (See John 15:7.)
How can we make prayer meaningful and enjoyable for them? How can we make praying as natural as breathing, something they enjoy, a time when they open their hearts to Christ, learning to recognize and experience His love?
Pray With Your Grandchildren Regularly
Whether they live in your home or 5,000 miles away, schedule a specific time of the day to pray together. Of course, this proves much easier when grandchildren and grandparents live in the same home. But if not, pray together through FaceTime, Skype, or simply by telephone. By doing so, we teach our grandchildren the importance of prayer, the value and significance of communicating with our Creator and Savior.
Make Prayer Times Creative and Fun, Especially for Young Grandchildren
Study the unique ways children of all ages learn and incorporate your discoveries into teaching them to pray. For instance:
• Take prayer walks. Children love to move, walk, and go places. Walk through your neighborhood, praying a sentence prayer for each family as you walk past each home. (See Col. 1:9.)
• Visit a local garden, talking with grandchildren about God’s creation, thanking Him for each tree, flower, and plant.
• Read age-appropriate books focusing on God, Scripture, and Bible stories.
• Tell your grandchildren stories from the Bible. Make finger puppets, and as you speak, encourage them to act out the story with their puppets. Discuss how the story applies to them. Then pray together, asking God to help them live out those Bible truths.
• Provide paper and crayons, encouraging your grandchild to draw his prayers to God. Display his artwork, his visible prayers.
• Put simple words to music and sing your prayers together.
Include Your Grandchildren
• When waking in the mornings, pray together, thanking God for life.
• Before each meal, thank God for the food. Ask your grandchild to lead the prayer or sing a song of gratitude to God.
• Before day care or school, ask God’s protection and safety for teachers and students.
• After school, thank God for the gift of education.
• Throughout the day, pray for specific things: healing for a sick family member, clarity of mind before making a decision, solutions to problems faced, and strength during dreaded events such as a dentist appointment or a test at school. (See Phil. 4:6-7.)
• Pray together at restaurants, thanking God for His sustenance.
• Before going to bed, read Scripture and pray with your grandchild, praying for family members and friends by name and need. If possible, include the entire family in this special time of prayer and Bible study. (See Matt. 18:20.)
Pray with your grandchildren whenever you can, making prayer times creative and fun experiences they will eagerly anticipate. And, just as important, pray for your grandchildren, going to God on their behalf and asking Him for your grandchildren’s current and future protection, blessings, and spiritual guidance.
When I was a child, my own grandparents were my spiritual teachers who prayed both with me and for me, devotedly leading me into a deep relationship with God through Jesus Christ, one that has lasted a lifetime.
I’ll always remember my grandfather’s prayers and his promise to me: “Denise,” he told me often, “I call your name every day in prayer.”
His faithful prayers encouraged me then, and more than a half-century later, his precious words still uplift and inspire me.
About the author:
DENISE GEORGE, author of 31 nonfiction books, is founder of “Writers for Life,” a large Facebook group dedicated to the ministry of writing and, at the same time, to staying healthy. She is married to Dr. Timothy George, retired founding dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University.