Family devotions

Resource Used – For the Family Blog by Erika Dawson


Some of you might cringe at the term, remembering stale times around the dinner table listening to a passage of Scripture you didn’t understand and waiting impatiently to finally be able to eat! If that was your experience please know that is not what family devotions need to be!


Remember, family devotions aren’t the only component of spiritually investing in our kids. Family devotions are only a piece to the puzzle, but it is an important piece that can be a catalyst for helping our kids learn and love God and His Word.

As important as it is to have consistent family devotions, you just might not know how to implement them.


So what do family devotions look like? How often should you engage in family devotions? How do you get started?


1. START SIMPLE

If for e.g. you set a goal of waking up an hour earlier each morning, the most effective way to change your habit is to start incrementally. Going cold turkey will only result in exhaustion, failure, and that pervasive feeling that you will never be an early riser.


Or for e.g. you may have a goal of starting running. If you want to start running, gradually increasing your speed and distance will result in greater success and longer lasting change. Attempting to run five km (or maybe even one!) right out of the gate is a sure fire way for disappointment, failure, or even injury.

The same can be true of family devotions.


So don’t try and imagine elaborate activities followed by deep conversations around the Word of God. With visions of eager-to-learn, compliant, calm children hanging on your every word. That’s just a set-up for disappointment!


Remember kids are kids! And changing their routine and your expectations of them is better done gradually and with intention rather than suddenly.

So start small. This will look different for each family, but it may mean you

• Start by having family devotions 1x-2x per week or

• Set a goal of spending 10 minutes each morning reading a Bible passage and praying together or

• Jump start your family’s devotional time by using a devotional centered around a holiday, like Christmas or Easter, to build momentum or excitement.


It’s okay to start small. Just start somewhere!


2. BE REALISTIC

As you plan your devotional time together, consider the age and activity level of your kids. Some people learn best or focus better while moving; others need stillness and quiet. Some kids will listen more attentively while colouring a picture.


Adjust your activities, the resources you use, and the time you spend according to the needs of your kids and your family. Remember how old your kids are and try to choose age appropriate activities to help engage your children in the Word of God. Understanding your kids’ abilities, interests, and learning styles calibrates your expectations and helps you plan.


3. SET A TIME

Life is hectic so intentionally set a specific time to gather together otherwise family devotions will get overlooked or crowded out.


Look at your schedule and see what fits best and then make family devotions part of your family’s rhythm. Perhaps it’s every Sunday evening or on Saturday mornings; maybe family devotions happens right before bedtime or around the breakfast table. Find what works best and seek to be consistent.


4. HAVE A PLAN

Your plan doesn’t need to be elaborate, but having an idea of what you’d like to focus on or what you will do during your family devotion time is helpful.


Remember however, that though we may have a plan, God may speak in a way we hadn’t planned! Sometimes the kids will have questions and your conversation may go in a different direction or God might prompt you to do something different than you usually do — that’s okay! A plan is helpful, but you want to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead.


5. AIM FOR TRANSFORMATION, NOT JUST INFORMATION.

While it’s wonderful for your kids to know Bible stories, remember Bible facts, and retain information about the Bible, your goal in family devotions is not just for your kids to retain information. You want to see life transformation!


You cannot manipulate God or force the Holy Spirit to work, but you can ask Him to be at work in and through you and in the hearts and lives of your children. God does not only speak to adults — God speaks to children, too! Part of our responsibility in leading our children spiritually is helping our kids listen to and respond to God.


Don’t complicate this important time together. Ask God to guide you and go get started!


A typical devotion time will consist of some bible reading, discussion and prayer.


Here are some links to some family devotion plans:

www.bible.com – You Version has many devotions you can do together as a family

YouVersion suggested family plans - CLICK HERE

http://bit.ly/familyresource2 - Some books you can purchase online or at CUM Books