This article was originally shared December 2019.
I love having my grandkids at my house for an overnight! We watch movies, eat popcorn and stay up late playing card games. It brings joy to my heart to love on these children, but I know my “job” as a grandmother goes far deeper. I have been called by the Lord to impact their young hearts for Him. I cannot assume they will follow in my footsteps in the faith.
Do you know that 75 percent of children raised in Christian churches leave the church by the age of 25? (Barna, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions) These are the children who go to Sunday school every Sunday and become the leaders of their church youth group. Yet, statistics show once they live independently from their home, often they abandon their church and their faith.
Studies reveal that parents modeling and teaching their faith in the home are the number one influence in encouraging their children to keep their faith. Grandparents are a close second. Surprisingly, youth pastors are a distant third.
The question for grandparents is: How do we effectively impact the hearts of our grandchildren? One of the most powerful ways is reading the Bible together or having family devotions. These moments include reading a Bible story followed by prayer time. Oh, I know life is hectic and busy. It is easy to think we cannot cram one more thing into a day, but time together in the presence of the Lord is invaluable. It is worth every minute and every effort. It builds a legacy of faith.
What do Family Devotions look like?
We begin our family time with one or two familiar songs. Next, we read our story. (As my grandchildren age, I transition from Bible storybooks to the Bible; with advance planning, I choose an appropriate story from either of them.) We talk for a few minutes about the meaning of the story. Usually, I ask three questions: What does this story (or passage) say about God’s character? What does it say about my character? What does it say about my relationship with God? In the closing moments of our devotion, we grab hands and pray. Our prayers consist of some “thank you’s” followed by some “Please help us, Lord, with …” (the children often fill in the blanks).
It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Actually, it is.
Family devotions don’t have to take a long time. Usually, shorter is better. We have an enemy who will diligently attempt to thwart the time between you and your grandchild in the presence of the Lord. I know! Personally, I struggle with this discipline. Often, I’m the one who’s nodding off—not my four or five-year-old grandchild.
However, I am determined to stand strong. I long to leave to my children and grandchildren a legacy of loving God’s Word. For that day when I am in the full presence of the Lord and my family remains on the face of this earth, my prayer is that they will pick up their Bibles. That they will choose to gather with their own families for family devotions remembering the sweet moments we had together when I read and prayed with them.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
To learn more about the Pass the Legacy ministry, please contact Cathy Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org. See article on Pg. 3 about Jacobs’ upcoming mission to England.
By Catherine Jacobs, Executive Director of Pass the Legacy Ministry