“Hey Munenes’ thank you for your divine direction in alot of family issues especially in our generation. Am curious to know how you do family devotions?”
What first comes to mind when you read these 2 words: family devotions? Reluctance or intrigue? Frustration or encouragement? Guilt or joy?
If you’re like most busy Christian dads and moms today, the thought of personal devotions is challenging but less intimidating than family devotions.
Many parents feel they should have a consistent time of strengthening their family spiritually, of bringing the Bible into their everyday family life, but often they just don’t know where to begin or how to continue with it.
Often the biggest roadblocks in the way of a parent initiating a meaningful devotional time at home is what he or she assumes about this practice.
In fact, there are some common misconceptions about family devotions that can keep us from even trying…
One misconception is that family devotions have to be led just like a church service. Says who? Those notions are more traditional than they are biblical.
Jesus certainly was not bound by any rigid structures or orders of worship. He incorporated an array of diverse object lessons and teaching tools to inspire and equip the Twelve as he trained them.
Jesus generally preferred a parable to a podium, a conversation to a lecture, and a short story to a full sermon.
And He used questions, lots of questions—15 in the Sermon on the Mount alone. Parents can do the same.
The methods for instructing your family in Christ are quite simple, and there are multitudes from which to choose.
Begin. Know the season that you are in. Are your children little, do you have teenagers around? Young adults? Incorporate singing, dancing, art, dramatization, fun, visual arts, basically make it fun!
“Should my husband lead in family devotions?”
After all, isn’t that the only way to be a “spiritual leader” in your home?
Not necessarily. It’s not His sole responsibility.
Perhaps more important is a dad who makes sure every week that a devotional time takes place and that it is led—whether by him or his wife.
Ofcourse it’s a plus if he leads, but it’s not cast on stone and we definitely do encourage rotations. It gives every family member depth in the Word.
There may be weeks in which a husband or wife is simply overloaded at work.
In those instances, we urge husbands and wives to ask choose to rotate weeks as a couple to share that responsibility. Rest is important. Husbands also need someone who can stand in the gap.
We do rotate often. There many instances that my husband is away for missions and I get to lead.
Other times he’s around and am totally overloaded, so he takes the lead, but most times he takes on that mantle by making sure we never miss the family devotion time.
It’s not a cast on stone stand. If he’s making sure that you are all present, it’s a huge step. Then, incorporate rotations.
“I cannot get my children to sit down for devotions, how do I do it?”
It’s a Myth that everybody has to sit still and be quiet for family devotions to be really effective.
Still and quiet are not synonymous with toddlers—at least not in our home!
Maybe later on when they are grown.
Toddlers, for example, not only want to engage everyone around them conversationally, but they also want to touch and experience life in its many forms.
The best learning experiences for children happen when they are not only inspired to consider truth cognitively but also challenged to demonstrate and experience it physically.
There was actually a time in the gospels when the disciples wanted the children around Jesus to “keep their seats” and “remember their place.”
Apparently, the kids were all clamoring to get close enough to touch Jesus and perhaps even sit on His lap.
The disciples reacted to their “childish behavior” and saw it as inappropriate and bothersome. Jesus, in contrast, saw it as an irresistible invitation to influence their young lives and shape their souls.
In the face of the stiff and restrictive behavior of the “more grown-up” disciples, Jesus corrected them.
He insisted, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” Mark 10:14.
Then Jesus engaged the children wholeheartedly: “And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them” Mark 10:16
The first time we ever sat down with our firstborn 2-year-old to share in family devotions, I was determined that we would start at the beginning. We would begin with Genesis 1:1 and read through the Bible together.
Well—it didn’t quite go that way that day.
I had reasoned that if we just read the passages “dramatically enough,” being really excited, expressive, and motivated, then Abigail, our daughter, would pay attention and eventually start comprehending it.
Johnny was head strong in it, and he plowed ahead.
We had a lot to learn. Boy, did we have a lot to learn.
Between Abigail’s oblivious sound effects and my frustrated instructions—“Listen to Dad!” “Pay attention!” “Don’t interrupt!”—the tension escalated.
We didn’t quite have family devotions—we had something more like our family emotions! Within 5 minutes we felt like failures.
We soon discovered that making family devos more effective by simply reading differently was yet another myth.
In order to get our little girl involved and interested in family devotions, we would have to do much more than merely engage her ears.
She needed the Word to be more than the read-out-loud print on a page.
We needed to allow it to be demonstrated, to breathe, to talk, to walk, to live in front of her.
So we started to act out stories in the Bible. We simply dramatized them, casting our kids as the characters. Now, she’s too inquisitive. . .and we are blessed that she keeps asking out of earth questions.
That way, we know that God’s truth is imprinting in her heart.
As it turned out, our daughter needed us to not just read the passage but wear it.
Her eager eyes, inquisitive mind, and moldable spirit needed something more than Dad or Mom’s mere creative intonations.
In a fresh way, the Word came alive for our family.
So make those times fun! Something they look forward to and you will find a fresh breath of air too.
Engage in lots of bible art!
It definitely makes a whole difference! You could also take the opportunity of bed time, to read out loud Bible stories and relate to them in their day to day life!