It’s Thursday: Sally has soccer practice, Jacob is in a study group, and Mom and Dad have two parent-teacher conferences to attend. Sound familiar? Every family struggles to find time to spend together, period. Finding time for your family devotionals is often next to impossible! Nevertheless, having consistent family devotionals is key to teaching kids about Jesus and about the true priorities of your family.
The Importance of Consistent Family Devotions
When your family sits down to eat, there are unspoken (and possibly spoken) rules that you eat the nutritional parts of the meal first, then you get dessert. But what if you sat down one evening, looked at your kids, and said, “We are just too busy and there’s too much going on. We don’t have time for the vegetables tonight, so let’s just have dessert!” While this might actually be a fun dash of spontaneity from time-to-time, you wouldn’t be sending the healthiest message to your family if you did it every night.
When you put off family devotions or are inconsistent with them, you are inadvertently sending the same message to your kids.
Family devotions show your kids what is important to your family. It’s a way of teaching kids Bible lessons rather than just relying on Sunday School teachers, but it also establishes a spiritual altar for your family, teaching them to pray, study the Bible, and worship God.
When is the Best Time for Family Devotions?
It’s a question that no one but your family can answer. Each family is unique and has its own busy schedule. The key is to find a time – ANY time. Still, it’s important to not simply find a few leftover minutes, but to set the time apart from all other responsibilities and activities.
For some families, the best time is in the morning before breakfast and before the hectic day begins. For others the morning is the most hectic time when everyone is trying to get ready. Remember, however, that you are teaching your kids a habit. Just like they need to brush their teeth every day, so you need to teach them that touching base with God is as vital for their spiritual well being as brushing is for their teeth.
Are Family Devotions Overkill?
Many people feel like having daily family devotions is just too much for their family. Families often feel this way because of the high expectations they have for what family devotions should look like.
Remember, however, that you are establishing your family’s priorities by making family devotions a part of your everyday routine. Some families set their devotion time very similar to a couple setting a date night. It’s a set day and time that takes precedence over everything.
What if you did this with your daily devotions? What if prior to leaving the house, you had a family huddle where you gave your kids a daily scripture, asked if there were any needs that needed to be addressed in prayer, then quickly prayed for those needs? No one said your daily devotions had to be an hour, or even ten minutes – it just needs to be consistent. After you start small yet consistent, it becomes easier to set up a prearranged time each week for delving deeper into Scripture with your family.
How Do I Conduct Our Family Devotions?
The key to conducting effective family devotionals is to keep it simple and to the point. Select a Bible story, read the scripture (choose a version of the Bible that will be understandable for all ages), then talk about how the scripture can be applied to your family’s life.
Engage your kids in the lesson. As they mature, ask one of them to provide that week’s Bible lesson. Kids love learning, but more importantly they enjoy being a part of something. The more you involve them, the more they will learn – and the more they will look forward to family devotions each week.
Christian parenting is never easy, but the best part is that you don’t have to do it alone! There are so many resources available to teach your kids about the Bible and to help carry your family devotions along. Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible? is a series of 26 episodes to introduce kids to the whole of Scripture – from Genesis to Revelation! Your family will learn about how all the stories of the Bible fit together to tell the story of God’s great rescue plan.
As you train up your children each day, remember the goal: we want our kids to know that God was at the center of the family. Kids won’t necessarily remember whether or not family devotions were perfect, but they will remember that they were important.