Grandparent, Teach Me to Pray (Part 2)

Written by Deb del Villar, Director of Communications

Part 1 of this blog shared four things to keep in mind as you seek to pass prayer on to your grandkids. Here in Part 2, we’ll look at some specific techniques for helping grandchildren learn what to pray for.

Younger Grandchildren

For our little ones, it is best to keep it simple.

Think of the song, “Oh, be careful little eyes…” Just as that song goes through eyes, ears, mouth/lips, hands, and feet with a caution to protect them from sin, think about prayer in that way. Prayer covers them from their head to their toes. A grandchild could say, “Thank you God for hands that can race cars across the carpet. Thank you for eyes that see the beautiful flowers and a nose that smells the freshly baked cookies.” Thank you prayers could cover each part, from head to toe – even a tummy full of grandma’s special dessert.

Following a similar pattern, they could say: “I love you, God, for the pretty warm day so we can go to the park. I love you because you gave me strong legs to run and play.” Likewise, you can say prayers around “I’m sorry” (confession, forgiveness) and “Please help my friend” (supplication).

Even the youngest grandchild can hear you pray for them as you stand over them in the crib or hold them tenderly in your arms. Remember, modeling is the first step to a grandchild learning to pray – they watch, observe, and imitate.

Elementary Grandchildren

There are several approaches you can take with this age group.

Try using the grandchild’s hand where each part stands for a different prayer focus. Not all need to be used in each prayer time, but the goal is that the grandchild would get to that point as they mature.

  • The thumb – praise God
  • The pointer – confess sins
  • Middle finger – thank God
  • Ring finger – pray for others
  • Pinkie finger – pray for self
  • Palm of hand – close in prayer

Another technique is using the acronym A.C.T. S. where:

  • “A” stands for adoration – praise God for His character/Who He is.
  • “C” stands for confession – ask for forgiveness of sins.
  • “T” stands for thanksgiving – thanking God.
  • “S” stands for supplication – asking for the needs of others.

Another approach is helping them choose a few scriptures to pray. Ask them questions to help you decide what verses would be good. 1 Corinthians 15:33, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Romans 12:10, and Proverbs 17:17 are good ones about friendship.

You can also purchase a blank wooden or dry-erase cube at the store. I have found mine at dollar, hobby, and teaching stores. I use it to write different things on each side of the cube. You can ask them for specific things to pray for or write general areas of prayer like family, friends, church, and school. Allow them to roll the cube then pray for what comes up. If a specific thing is written, pray for that then roll again. If it is a category, ask them what or who they can pray for within that category. For instance, if school comes up, you could pray for teachers, tests, or a student by name. Lead them in praying, encouraging them to pray on their own.

One final idea is using the word C.H.A.T. because prayer is like chatting with your best friend. You share everything with them and they share right back. We want our grandchildren to realize that God wants to speak to/with them too. It is a two-way conversation.

  • “C” stands for celebrate as this is always a great place to start.  Jesus started there with The Lord’s Prayer by celebrating who God is.
  • “H” stands for the heart of God. During time spent with God in prayer, we begin to learn His heart and His will as we quietly wait in stillness before Him. Knowing His heart will help us develop His heart in us. I usually pray after spending time in His Word, where the Word speaks directly to me, but I must be quiet and still to hear.
  • “A” stands for ask which includes praying for their wants and needs as well as for others.
  • “T” stands for the trials and temptations facing you. You can also offer thanksgiving knowing that He will be with you, never give you more than you can handle with His help, and hear/answer prayer.

Older Grandchildren

Of course, any of the above ideas can be used. Additionally, like A.C.T.S. above is P.R.A.Y. where:

  • “P” stands for praise.
  • “R” stands for repentance.
  • “A” stands for ask.
  • “Y” stands for yield.

The words repentance and yield are harder words for younger grandchildren to understand. Be sure that your grandchildren understand what they mean.

Older grandchildren can build on praying Scripture. Encourage them to choose scriptures based on their trials, temptations, or character traits they desire. If you notice your grandchild is struggling in a certain area whether it be mind, body, or soul, help them find verses to memorize and pray. Joshua 1:9 is great for one who needs to be more courageous, and Matthew 22:37 works for one who needs to love God more. 

Acts 3:19 states, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.” This would be a good verse for a grandchild to pray if they had sinned, asking God to help them turn away from following sin and turn back to following God. Couple it with 1 John 1:9, asking for forgiveness of sin and cleansing, along with thanking God for being faithful to forgive. Follow by asking God to help them not yield their members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but instead yield themselves to God as those who are alive from the dead, and their members as instruments of righteousness to God (Romans 6:13).

Conclusion

As your grandchildren get older and mature in the faith, help them see prayer as the privilege and pleasure it is. They can come boldly to the throne of grace to find help anytime, anywhere, about anything.

No matter what age your grandchildren are, may God guide you as you seek to answer the call, “Grandparent, teach me to pray!”

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