October 25, 2023
Family Devotions Unite the Family
Family devotions can unite the family like nothing else. Speaking directly to fathers on this point, if you are not leading your family in a devotion, much less leading them to church, you are wrong. You and your wife need to discuss face-to-face when this will happen and what this will look like. Discipling is not an option. It is a command found in Matthew 28 and elsewhere. It is the same if you are a single parent, but it may be more complex, and there are no good excuses.
Keep it Simple
In practice, it is relatively easy. Once you start, it will become such an essential part of your lives that you won’t ever want to miss family devotion time. It may seem awkward or challenging initially, but it is none of those things. Simplicity will be the key to success.
We teach our children to bathe and brush their teeth. We teach them the difference between good and bad manners. We take them to the doctor to ensure good health and the dentist for healthy teeth. The doctor and dentist make recommendations. Sunday church is a community event, and it is not meant to supplement private teaching. Like doctors and dentists, pastors, ministers, and teachers can make recommendations and encouragement but have so little interaction with the child to have much of an influence.
Encourage Private Devotions
The goal of family devotions is to develop and encourage private devotions as the child becomes older. The dinner table is the best place to have, regardless of age. Devotions do not have to be something formal. Every night after supper, I would have a Bible quiz. My mother gave me a set of cards for this purpose. It was a great way to facilitate discussion and increase Biblical knowledge. Our kids loved it, and it was a competition of sorts for them to get the correct answer.
Another advantage of the dinner table is that children are fed and relatively happy. Breakfast is another ideal time. They are rested and can start their day on the right path before heading into the world.
Infants are not too young to start. They learn so much through observation. They see Daddy take a book, read a paragraph, and then pray. They also see Daddy take leadership, hear him pray, and know that this is important. Being included in family devotions teaches the baby the importance of devoting oneself to God. You teach through demonstration as the child hears you praying, asking, and praising the Lord. No faith is required of this child as of yet because they are not ready to come to meet God on those terms.
Tell a Story
You can read them a Bible story or even a morally uplifting story from a good storybook at night. There are so many resources on the internet that you can download for ideas; many are free.
Another good technique is to let the child pick the topic. You can ask them what they learned at school, in a Sunday School lesson, or something from current events. Ask questions that relate the subject back to the Bible. Referencing scripture is an excellent way to challenge them to think about what they are learning.
The more family devotion time you make, the better you will get and the easier it will be as you grow together in knowledge and wisdom.
Author: Jon-Roy Sloan is the Chief Communications Officer for NationsUniversity and the author of Anastasia Smiles: Love Needs No Translation. Disclaimer statement: Please note that the opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and are based on his personal understanding of scripture and how God works in our lives and do not necessarily reflect the views of NationsUniversity®.