Following up on last week’s introduction to family devotions we wish to take the next four weeks and cover specific elements of devotional life starting with God’s Word. Family devotions are simply a regular time set aside by families to gather together to worship, read God’s Word, reflect upon God’s Word, and pray together.
Most parents affirm the idea of devotions, but many feel overwhelmed at the thought of having them. We fall prey to schedules that are too busy, frustrations over unengaged children, and feelings of inadequacy. Often our expectations, though well intentioned, are unreasonable. If you imagine family devotion time to be a time when dad blows his Baron Von Trapp whistle and summons his joyful brood to the living room, and they dutifully and joyously bound downstairs ready to be in awe of God and His Word – and indeed hang of every point of your prepared reflection, you are likely in for a disappointment!
Here are a number of tips to help you start, or continue more faithfully, with reading God’s Word as a family.
1. Start with yourself
Be regular with your personal devotion to God’s Word. This will model for your children proper priorities, and your commitment to bible reading will demonstrate the importance you place on personal discipleship and greatly increase the likelihood they follow in your path.
2. Set reasonable expectations
Take into consideration the age, attention spans, and the spirituality of your children. Very young children are generally squirmy, and teens may not wish to let on how cool you are for reading scripture faithfully to them! Regardless of age, read small passages of scripture and train them in understanding and applying the bible. Asking questions is a great way to engage children of any age. Here are some examples:
- What does the passage say?
- What does this say about God?
- What did you like best?
- Can you think of what this means to you?
Like all of us, the more they do this, the better they will get at rightly understanding God’s Word.
3. Set a regular time
If you can have time in the morning before everyone heads into their day you are blessed, and I would encourage you to take that time. However, for most families, the easiest time to gather as a whole is during or immediately following supper. There will be times when life’s curveballs come and distract your family, or you go through a time of weariness and your priorities suffer. Be encouraged, and encourage your family, with God’s forgiveness and forbearance. Persevering through trials and weakness give an opportunity for the gospel to shine.
4. Expect opposition
Speaking of expectations, expect that your family’s time in God’s Word will be challenged. You will face all manner of opposition including: distractions, bad attitudes, and apathy. Be lovingly patient, but do persevere!
Being intentional about God’s Word and developing a family culture around the reading of it is important. We all desire to raise children who remain faithful to God as adults. The humility of submitting our lives to the authority of scripture, and giving priority and place to it, is a great foundation from which your children will learn to measure their decisions, actions, and relationships in accordance to God’s truth.
Mission Action Plan: If you are not regularly ministering to your family from God’s Word, make a plan to start. Connect with us if you want some help and guidance.
Mission Action Prayer: Lord, thank you that you are faithful to your Word. Help me as a parent to shepherd my family in reading, understanding, and cherishing the Bible.
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.
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