Parenting is hard. The day-in and day-out duties of being mom and dad are stressful. Just getting kids out the door and to school on time can be a struggle. Balancing work and school from home can often make things even more difficult. As kids grow and change, life can become busier and harder in many ways. Encouraging families to do devotions at home together in an intentional and consistent way, can help everyone’s days and weeks be filled with more peace in the midst of the chaos of life. Creating family time that focuses on God’s word is a much-needed habit in this hectic world we live in.
Families + Church = Partnership
Often families have the perception that the church is their child’s number one teacher in all things Biblical and spiritual. Continuing to let parents think this way does them a disservice. On the other hand, expecting moms and dads to handle the entirety of raising their kids to know Jesus on their own should not be the goal either. There’s a middle ground that creates a partnership between the family and the church. This can take place through good communication and resources to help guide families in how to live this life according to God’s word.
People don’t know what they don’t know. You must teach them that the church is their number one supporter in family matters. They must also understand that the number of hours they have to spend with their kids is way more than the time church leaders have. Therefore, they are their children’s greatest teachers. Once everyone understands and believes in this partnership of family and church, you’re on a good path to helping teach families how they can do devotions together at home.
Find the Time
If you ask most families to add one more thing to their list of activities for the week, their response would be, “We don’t have time.” And that’s easy to understand. Open your own calendar. Seeing the list of meetings, lunch dates, basketball practices, dentist appointments, and youth group meetings looks overwhelming. A lack of time is usually an excuse for why families can’t do one more thing.
Here are a couple of ways to challenge the excuse of time. Have them check out the screen time notifications on their phone. How much time is spent on social media or other apps? Are those really productive hours they can’t afford to give up? How many have time as they Uber their kids around town? Getting to school and extra-curricular activities usually takes a parent chauffeur. The minutes spent going to and from are pockets of time. So, probably time isn’t really an excuse.
After looking at what possible snippets of time they do have, they can create designated spaces to be together. Phones down, devices off, and distractions at a minimum. This may be on a 10-minute drive to school in the mornings. It may be the last 10 minutes before the alarms are set and you’re off to bed.
Even if it’s not much, you’ve got to start somewhere. Something is better than nothing. Once, you’ve established that you do in fact have some time, do something with it. Family devotions don’t have to be an hour long. Not even mom and dad are up for that! The amount of time doesn’t matter as much as the quality of what you’re doing with that time.
So, start small. Got five minutes on that commute to work or school? Have one of the kids open up your Bible app, read the verse of the day, and talk about what it means. See if they can memorize and recite it. Besides a Bible verse, you’ve probably even got time for a prayer together to start your day off right. If you can capitalize time best at the end of the day, make a family devotion time where you share with one another about how your day went. Pick a book of the Bible to read a few verses from every night, then pray as a family. These are simple ideas to pass along to families to help them get started.
Make It a Habit
Once you start, make it a habit. The key is to find a time that can be repeated by everyone every day of the week – or at least Monday – Friday. Perhaps, it will become a habit for everyone to be together at the breakfast table for an extra five to ten minutes for devotion time. Or maybe 7:30 p.m. is the time for devices to be plugged in and everyone to gather in the living room. There may be complaints at first, but if you are consistent with a plan, it will become a healthy routine for your whole family.
What to do?
Family devotions don’t have to follow a strict schedule or protocol. They should be something that can adapt to your family’s needs. But no matter what, the Bible and prayer should be two key components to spending this family time together. Talking to God and having God speak to you (through His word) are vital.
There are many devotional books that can help you further your study. Depending on the time you have and the ages of children, find something that fits your needs. Here are some specific ideas for devotions to pass along to your families.
“30 Easy Bible Devotions for Families” is an example of a great resource that is simple to follow, doesn’t take a lot of time, and adaptable for several ages: https://www.childrens-ministry-deals.com/products/30-easy-bible-devotions-for-families This devotional is designed to guide families for a month’s worth of studying God’s word together.
Focus on the Family offers a number of quick family devotionals here: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/family-devotions-on-the-go/
The YouVersion Bible app is available for smartphones and gives a verse of the day. This can be a simple thing to incorporate into your daily routine as you get started with family devotions. They also offer family-oriented devotional plans.
For the Easter season, you can download these free Easter Devotionals for Families.
These are just a few. The possibilities are endless. You should never run out of options, and if you do, bring it back to the basics, read the Bible and talk to God together.
To get conversations going here’s an easy way to share together as a family. Have everyone share these four things as you wrap up your day together. What was your high of the day? What was your low of the day? What is something you learned? What were your eyes and ears opened to today? (Or what did you observe or hear about today that you’d like to pray about?)
You will never be sorry for having this intentional time as a family. There’s something special about reading and understanding God’s word together. These times can strengthen your child’s faith and help them see straight from the source why they believe what they believe. Praying together brings you closer together, as you share needs and burdens. This special time can help you know better what’s going on in your child’s head and heart.
Teaching families how to do devotions at home together doesn’t need to be intimidating. Teach them in a way that they can incorporate reading and studying God’s word and praying together during the natural rhythms of their week. Encourage them to prioritize this time and make it a habit. Give them ideas of how to start somewhere and share resources to help them go further. Remind them often that the church is there to partner with them as they do life as a family.
Author’s Note: This post brought back many childhood memories. I was raised in a broken home with some difficult times of divorce and custody battles. Despite that, my parents were Christians and raised me to know and love Jesus. I have very vivid memories of doing family devotions together from an early age. In my combined family, there were five siblings. Dad used an old book called Little Visits with God to guide us during these times. They included a Bible verse and a short story that was relatable to kids. He would always change the names in the story and use one of ours to make it more personal. Each had a few questions at the end for application. We always teased my younger sister for giving the Sunday School answer, “Because Jesus died on the cross!” for every single question. Even though this was 35 years ago, I can say family devotion time made an impression on me and molded me for wanting this same special time for my own family today. That family devotional book sits on a shelf in my living room now, and every time I look at it, I’m so grateful for the good memories and my upbringing in God’s word.