As grandparents we have lived enough life to understand the importance of words. We are a generation that knows “the tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21). I’m sure each of us could share a story of someone we know (possibly yourself) who has been torn apart by words, someone who has been assaulted with a tongue that should be registered as a lethal weapon.

But the tongue can also speak life. It can build others up and empower them to be brave and move forward. Words can speak identity deep into the soul of the recipient—especially children. Children are inherent learners, open and eager to receive the messages they hear—to discover who they are and what life is about. We know, from our own experience, that they get plenty of messages intended to wound, to make them feel less than enough and unlovable.

One way grandparents can make a difference is to practice speaking blessings to our grandchildren. Speaking a blessing is an opportunity to open their spiritual eyes and declare truth over them—God’s truth! A blessing can be a prayer of commission, a Bible passage, or words of encouragement. Blessings can also be spoken over a child for the purpose of declaring God’s protection, joy, and wisdom over him or her. In a blessing the recipient is encouraged, and God is exalted and glorified.

A blessing is different from a prayer: When we pray, we direct our words toward God; but in a blessing, we direct our words to an individual. Scripture is filled with examples of blessings and when we look to Jesus, we see how He speaks about us.

• loved (John 3:16)
• forgiven (1 John 1:9)
• His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
• never alone (Matthew 28:20b)
• chosen (1 Peter 2:9)
• protected from the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Blessings are most effective when given on a regular basis—we don’t have to wait for lofty spiritual moments. We can bless our grandchildren when they come to visit or when we babysit. We can even text blessings and words of encouragement to our older grandchildren who have access to phones.

The bottom line is to emphasize what God says about them. Remind them He chose them and calls them His own. Use your words to speak life. Speak Scripture over them and insert their names when fitting. In the battle for your grandchildren’s identity, you can help lay the foundation of truth they need to combat the enemy’s lies by simply using your words.