Last week, we started a series on Teaching Them Diligently. We started with the most important topic- loving God. Over the next weeks (Tuesday and Thursdays) we are going to look at some specific areas where we can be diligent in teaching our children. We are going to move on this week with talking about family devotions.
The first thing to know is that it is important to have family devotions. Like we talked in the first post about loving God, we have been given stewardship over our children. God has given them to us as a blessing- but they are His. I always feel like my kids are on loan from God. They are His creations, and hopefully, one day they will choose to worship their Creator, and surrender their lives to Him. In the mean time, they are in mine and my husbands care, and I want to be a good steward over the time I have with them. I know that we will give an account for the way that we raised them – not for the choices they make – but for our time, investment and teaching of them. This is why it is important that we be diligent.
In today’s world, it is a fight for family time. Screens have taken over the time family used to spend reading books, playing games, doing crafts, and playing outside. Screens have become our children’s closest friend and where they turn when they need something to do. With this in mind, children have lost their already small attention spans. If it isn’t full of lights, sounds and action, sadly, it doesn’t hold their attention. How then, do we as families make time for family devotions? What do we use? How do we facilitate them?
1.When and Where: Set a place and a time – Make a family appointment each day to spend time with God and each other. This needs to be a screen free environment. We have chosen to use our dining room. TV’s, computers, I-pods and cellphones are not welcome there. We enjoy meal times where we talk and interact. We get this privilege almost twice a daily, 5-6 times a week. Our family does devotions in the morning after breakfast before we head to work and school. I find this to be important because it gives them positive things to think on as they start their day, and my hubby and I have a time to pray over them before they go to school each day. We also keep this same “rule” in place for dinner time- and we talk about our “high and low” for the day – and discuss any prayer request or praises we might have had from the day.
2. What to use? Our family has used some great resources over the years. One we love, that is free, is the Children’s Resources from Good Morning Girls. Good Morning Girls does several sessions a year, and usually all but the Summer Book Club has resources.These actually go along with the adult reading plans and so you and your child are reading and sharing about the same things! Another one I love during Christmas and Easter is found at OHAmanda.com – she has Truth in the Tinsel and A Sense of the Resurrection.These are great, hands on resources that you can buy for a small fee, but allow you some great, engaging resources to use. Another one our family has liked, especially for mornings where we might be shorter on time is Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids: Time-Tested Answers to Your Toughest Questions. This one has short devotions, with a few scriptures, that allow you to read it as though Jesus was speaking to you. I also love The Dig Luke Vol. 1 and The Dig for Kids: Luke Vol. 2. These are written by Patrick Schwenk, who is the husband to my friend Ruth over at The Better Mom and For the Family. I got the opportunity to walk my kids through the book of Luke by using these- they are so much fun, interactive, and right on kids level- while still being interesting and deep for parents! The last one I want to share is the one we have used most recent, and that is Our 24 Family Ways: A Family Devotional Guide. This one is dear to my heart because it teaches our kids a lot about character, and gives them a great spiritual foundation. It is written by Sally Clarkson, who I highly respect. Maybe you will have another one you would like to share with me in the comments! Also – it is important to remember – and something we do often – you don’t need ANY book outside of your Bible. Maybe your child is struggling with Anger… well, this is a great time to do a word study on Anger. Or the tongue. Or kindness. Or any other struggle that your child might face. Just find scripture and read about it, write about it, and talk about it!
3. How? Well, each devotional has had different ideas, however, our family has a simple pattern we typically follow. We always have our Bibles. Real Bibles – not screens. I find this to be important for several reasons – but mainly, it keeps integrity, and doesn’t cause them to be tempted to change their focus. Daddy leads in our home- but Mama, if Daddy isn’t a Christian or not home- don’t feel bad about training your children! We open in prayer and ask God to teach us. We dive into God’s Word. We take turns reading- and allowing the kids to read – so they read God’s Word for themselves. Scott and I then share about what we have read. We ask questions. We discuss things that are brought up. Then we pray again. This doesn’t usually last for more then about 20-30 minutes – and we change topics often to keep everyone engaged.
No matter HOW, or WHAT you use, the important thing is that you get into God’s Word with your kids. That they see you interact with the Bible- both in personal and family devotions.We are setting up the habits now for our children- and we are building that foundation of their spiritual lives! Walking them to the cross daily is an act of Worship to our King.
Worshiping With My Life,