For Grant and Carol, prayer has been a big part of their heritage. Both of their parents prayed for them with an eye to the future. Their parents prayed for the young people who would become their best friends, who they would marry (which turned out to be each other), and even the children they would have someday. And now, as grandparents, they have continued that tradition with their children and grandchildren.

This can be a powerful part of our grandparenting because we have an eye to the future as well.

Thoughts about the future aren’t often on the minds of younger generations, who are usually just figuring out how to get through the day, the week, or the semester. But we grandparents think about our legacy quite often, maybe even every day. We’re pondering the traditions, values and priorities we are living out that will influence our children and grandchildren for years and perhaps generations to come.

For those of us who are people of faith, it’s only natural that this would show up in our prayers. It makes sense that we would pray for our grandchildren’s long-range health and development, their education, their friends, their future careers, their future spouses, and the children they may have someday.

Sometimes it’s frightening to think about the important, life-altering decisions we all made when we were in our teens or early twenties, possibly without a lot of time and consideration. There’s a good chance our grandkids will be doing the same, and they need our prayers!

So: action point #1 is to pray for your grandkids. Do it regularly—every day if you can. And here’s #2:

Tell them that you’re praying for them.

There are several good reasons to do this. First, it’s affirming for them to know that they have a prominent place in your heart and your prayers. It’s like one more way of saying, “I love you, and you’re very important to me.” You want what’s best for them, and you’ll do everything you can to help bring that about.

And second, you give your grandkids a sense of connection to generations. When you tell them, “We thought about you and prayed for you before you came to be,” they can gain a sense of heritage knowing that they are part of a bigger family line of faith. And they can be part of extending that legacy into the future, so they have real belonging and purpose moving forward. You might say something like: “Listen, the future can be frightening, but back when you weren’t even here, we prayed for you. And it’s brighter because you are here.”

Belonging. Legacy. Purpose. Heritage. Those are all big and powerful ideas that we can help bring into grandkids’ lives, and our prayers are one great way to make it happen.

How have you prayed for your children’s and grandchildren’s future? And how has it made a difference? Share an insight and learn from other grandparents on our Facebook page here.