I want to grow in making the Bible a regular part of our family life. I also want to inspire all of the families in our church to make this a regular practice. Family devotions can be daunting for many fathers and mothers. We’re not sure if we’ll choose the right topic or ask the right questions. Younger children are easily distracted. Older children can be reluctant to talk about spiritual topics.
Yet, a practice of family devotional time doesn’t have to start off breaking any quantity or quality records. We don’t have to have lots of profound insights or the perfect conversational leadership. We simply want to demonstrate the value of God’s Word and allow our children to hear it read. We want to show that we believe these Words to be true, and so respond in prayer to the God who wrote them.
Here’s how family devotions look in our house…
1. We call all our children into the living room. (Insert repeated calls to account for initial sluggish responses.)
2. I read a passage of Scripture. (Our children are young, so this may only be a paragraph.)
3. I ask one or two questions about what the passage was talking about. (Sometimes they seem more interested and we’ll keep asking questions to understand the passage and perhaps an age-appropriate application.)
4. I’ll ask my two oldest children which worship song they would like to sing. (We often sing the same song many nights in a row. ) I’m a musician, but usually we just sing this acappella. Sometimes I’ll ask them to explain one or two lines in the song.
5. I’ll ask my two oldest children what they would like to pray for, and each family member will pray briefly.
On nights when it is already bed time (and sometimes even when it’s not), this whole process could be as brief as 5 minutes. Not very impressive, I know. Other nights, we might be able to get 20 minutes in. Again, still not very impressive. I am hoping to cultivate a greater appetite in our children so that longer times are possible in the future.
However, I would much rather have a simple, consistent time of gathering our family around the Bible, then delay because I’m worried about how impressive our pattern is. The Bible is powerful, a treasure, a lighthouse, a feast; I want our family to consistently encounter it as part of our family identity.
I pray you will join me in gathering your family around the Bible.