Are they powerless? Do elderly parents and grandparents have the power to have a godly influence on their children? They would argue that they can't go against their children's wishes, and can't force their children or grandchildren to go to church. I would agree with that.
As I thought more about this, I tried to brainstorm on things they could do. I have talked with one elderly woman who would ask if the grandchildren could sleep over night Saturday and go to church with grandma on Sunday morning, and sometimes that was acceptable to the parents. She would read Bible stories to them, and teach them biblical values and principles when she had them over. There were definitely positive things she could do that would not go against the parents.
I recall a pastor friend of mine who was the leader of a Senior Saints ministry at his church, and he said he encouraged them to "finish strong." He was probably basing this on the verse from 2 Timothy 4:7 which says:
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”
Finishing strong means living a genuine, godly Christian life until the very end. Don't turn to drinking or drugs at the end. Don't forsake church or your faith. Don't turn on your TV before you spend time in God's Word and prayer. Are you praying for your children? Are you praying for your grandchildren? I mean REALLY praying with fervency? Are you living a life that reflects Christ? How much do you really value the Bible and the morals it teaches? How important do you believe going to church really is? Do they see you going faithfully? Do they see how important God is to your personal life, do you tell them this, and do you have a testimony to back it up?
This generation can spot a phony a mile away. No one respects a phony. If they can respect you and see that your faith is strong and genuine, they will want that and be attracted to it. They don't want a bunch of do's and don'ts that have no meaning or purpose. They will, however, be attracted to the real deal.
Are you showing them what the Christian walk looks like...in real time? Every day are you consistent? If you feel like you have a hard time defending the Christian faith, you are not alone. I wrote a book to help people defend their faith, because quite frankly, even after being a Christian for almost 40 years, I needed to do some research and get it down so I could do a better job at that myself. It used to be that people took for granted that God existed, the Bible was true and accurate and reliable, that church was important, basic morals were a virtue, truth existed, etc. but we are in a new world here in America where we have to "pre-evangelize" before we can evangelize and tell the Gospel. There is a lot more ground work to do to convince people to listen to God's Word so their faith can grow. Romans 10:17: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
The Holy Spirit can work in their hearts and souls as they come by faith, and that is the only way they can receive Christ as their Savior. Ephesians 2:1: "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." The Holy Spirit has to quicken us, or breathe life into us in order for us to even realize we need Him, because the Bible says we are DEAD in our trespasses and sins.
Don't give up! Start with yourself, with your own life, pray fervently because James 5:16 says, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (in other words, MUCH will be accomplished from the prayers of a fervent prayer warrior), and then try to reach your children and grandchildren for Christ. Their eternal souls and destination depend on it! It's a very big responsibility, and you do not stop being their parent, even though you are older and they are grown. If they have no interest in church, there is a good chance they never accepted Jesus as their Savior. They just went to church because they had to, out of ritual, not out of genuine interest and love for God. So they still need Christ after all these years. Don't leave them to die in their sins! Keep having that burden for them, and never give up. If you've never accepted Christ as your Savior, accept Him today! Then FINISH STRONG!
To purchase my book, Fully Persuaded, click on this link to amazon.com for pricing and availabliity. It is an easy read, and will build your faith and give you the tools you need to make a real difference in your family. Knowing Christ also gives people the strength to cope with all the trials in life that are sure to come along. Don't you want that for your family? We all do. God bless you as you fight for your family! You are not powerless - remember that you are in a position of great influence and God has placed you right there. Bloom where you are planted!