How to Disciple Long-Distance Grandchildren

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“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children.” —Deuteronomy 4:9

Have you ever worried: what if our grandchildren grow up with no love of God’s Word? What if they don’t learn to depend on His goodness? If only we lived closer! 

Similar longings and doubts troubled me after our first grandchildren were born. My husband and I lived in South Africa, and my grandchildren were in the States. With 10,000 miles between us, how could we ever enjoy a loving relationship? What if I missed the privilege of leaving them my legacy—my greatest treasure, Jesus Christ? 

I don't have all the answers, but I’ve asked the same questions, and I’ll share with you what God has taught me.

Remember God 

We often can’t control where we live. We certainly can’t control where our children’s families live. But we can find peace and joy in knowing God is present everywhere and accomplishing everything for His glory (Psalm 139:7–10). He uses snapshots of our life to impress their hearts. A child may only see a grandparent reading the Bible two or three times before deciding, “My grandma ALWAYS reads her Bible.” 

When we fear powerful cultural influences may draw our grandchildren away from God, we can rest in knowing that God’s power is limitless. We have no power to change a child’s heart. Only God’s powerful love can transform hearts to love Him in return (Rom. 5:5–8). 

Hold Fast to God’s Word 

Pray for the right time to tell your grandchildren that God gave us the Bible to tell us who He is and how we can personally know Him. Share with them that His Word also reveals our sinfulness and need of a Savior. 

Many grandparents have creative ways of turning their families to God’s Word: 

  • Grandparent camp during a school holiday
  • Visits while parents enjoy a getaway weekend
  • Letters and cards
  • Text messages and phone calls 

During the years we lived an ocean away from our grandchildren, I began to write Bible studies for them to bridge the distance. My first two books, Why Easter? and Why Christmas?, came from those studies. My most recent book is A Jesus Christmas. You might find these to be helpful tools for your family. 

Pray Right Where You Are

When we pray, He replaces our anxiety with His peace. Be sure to pray for yourself too—to maintain strength, creativity, and flexibility! And we have an even greater need—not simply to maintain, but to fuel an ever-growing love for God in our hearts. 

Remember God, hold fast to His Word, and pray. As you tell of His mighty deeds worked out in your heart and life, God uses your passion. Like a magnet, God is able to pull the heart of your grandchild to His heart. 

Reflect and Respond:

  • Do you spend more time worrying about being disconnected from your grandchildren than you do praying for them?
  • Choose one practical step you can take to help your grandchildren get into God’s Word.
  • Surrender your concerns to the Lord and ask Him to work in the hearts of your grandchildren.

Digging Deeper

To help you go deeper in prayer for your grandchildren, try Melissa Kruger’s book, 5 Things to Pray for Your Kids

About the Author

Barbara Reaoch

Barbara Reaoch

Barbara Reaoch is the author of A Better Than Anything Christmas (2020) and Making Room for Her: Wisdom for a Healthier Relationship with Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law (2022). She served as director of the Children’s Division of Bible Study Fellowship … read more …

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