This past Sunday I challenged Normandale Baptist to get serious about worshipping God. I introduced our new resource called “Echo” which gives a family or an individual five simply studies that relate back to Sunday’s message. Some of you have already commented how helpful it has been for your family’s devotional time.
If only it was that easy.
Carving out time for your family to study the Word of God together is nigh impossible if you have kids in school, parents headed for work or the pressing hour of bedtime. But it must become an integral part of our life together if we are to lead our children as God intended us to do!
Some of you asked how to make this time better for your family. Here are some practical ideas we discovered over the years.
Make the Time – Devotional moments never happen on accident. You have to plan for it. Consider your schedule and find moments where this works. In our family, our nights are crazy. Between football, swim team, church and meetings, we could never make an evening time together work. We ended up discovering that we could carve more time for devotional gatherings in the morning. Yes, everyone has to get up a little earlier, but for our family, this is much better and the typical evening chaos doesn’t squeeze our devotional time out in the evening.
Make the Time Special – The Word of God is not a cute story. It is the precious Word of God. Consequently, it shouldn’t be paired with How Dinosaurs Say I Love You or other literature. Make sure your family time in the Word of God is somehow different than “story time”. This is essential if your kids are in the pre-school age range and are learning the difference between pretend and real. While you should enjoy all kinds of books and literature with your kids, just make sure it is different than your family devotional time.
Make the Place Special – The location can be just as important as the place. For my family, I love reading the Bible together at the table. Breakfast is finished, the kids are excited about school and we can stop together, at the table, to read the Bible. This prompts time to discuss questions or ideas and then think through how we can apply what we learned for the coming school day. Along with a great line of Christians through the centuries, the table has become our sacred space.
Make the Focus of the Time Special – Friends, there are many devotionals on the market today. But please hear me. God speaks to us primarily through His Word. I appreciate the men and women who author devotional stories and other literature to move us, but if I could make one plea for your family devotions – Anchor it in the Word of God! In reading and studying the Word of God, we deepen in our Worship of God and consequently grow in our Faith. Read the text of Scripture. Ask some good questions of yourself and apply. You can do this! You can lead your family to study the Word of God!
Get Ready to have Setbacks – You are going to mess this up. You are going to miss days. It’s ok. You are going to have mornings or evenings that fall apart. Your kids will act up, you might get frustrated… who am I kidding? You will get frustrated! This is a regular struggle in the dynamics of a family’s life! Don’t let this defeat you! Your kids learn more when they see you recover and start back fresh that morning or even next day. Don’t get defeated! Take the setbacks and keep rolling forward. Show your family that God is the Great and Worthy of worship!
I know. You must be thinking, “How nice for the Pastor’s family. There’s no way we could do this.”
You can! You can get into the word together and make a difference in the life of your child.
Perhaps this might help. Let me give you an overview of our week so far:
MONDAY: Devotional time was interrupted by a child who threw a pencil in anger which led to an interruption of our time together while I took care of disciplining him.
TUESDAY: Chaos ensued and we missed devotional time altogether. A child couldn’t find the appropriate school shoe, another lied about wearing socks and another child needed to change the bed-sheets after an accident. It was NOT a fun morning. We had to miss our time together.
WEDNESDAY: One or our sweetest moments of devotion this month as we read the Word. The kids connected to the Bible story, asked great questions and self-applied the text. It was incredible!
Truth be told, I needed today. Tuesday discouraged me so much I was ready to throw in the towel, but then I would have missed Wednesday! Parents, our job is to connect our kids to the Word! To Lead them and shepherd their hearts ever closer to the Savior! Let’s act in boldness and get our families in the Word! The end results are worth it!
What are some of your ideas for family devotions that might be an encouragement for others?
John Mark Yeats