As we walk through these days together, it’s important to remember that while the days we find ourselves in are unique and even surprising to us, they are neither unique nor surprising to our Heavenly Father. He is never caught off guard or surprised.
Maybe some of the best questions we can ask as Christians are: “How do we win? How do we leverage this time and the opportunities that this situation affords us to further the Gospel and help our family grow spiritually?”
One of those ways is through family devotions. As we spend more time at home and among family members, family devotions can be a great way to help our children and other family members reflect, grow, and serve together. I have spent some time online reading articles, blogs, and advice for leading family devotions, below are several tips I gleaned from a 2016 article by Tim Challies. I have expanded a few of these, and have provided a some additional links for help.
Just do it.
There are many different resources and options available to you. The fact that you are doing something to engage spiritually as a family is more important than what resource you use or how you do it.
Dad, take the lead.
As the spiritual leader of the home, the dad/husband should lead his family in prayer and Bible study. This is a great privilege and an awesome responsibility.
Make the Word and prayer the foundation of the time together.
It is important to allow time for sharing and encouragement, but allow the Word of God and seeking the face of God be the foundation for what you do together.
Worship and seek God as a family.
Remember that one of the key benefits of a family devotion time is seeking and relating to God together as a family.
Use the “KISS” principle.
“Keep It Simple Stupid!” Keep the family devotion time simple and even short to begin with. A 6 to 8-minute time of reflection, study, and prayer are far better than a 20 or 30-minute time of rambling and searching for what to say.
Establish the pattern and communicate the importance of the time.
A family time of devotion is as much about establishing a pattern and a priority of meeting, as it is about learning and growing. The learning and growth will come in time.
Think engagement rather than entertainment.
Your time together should be a time of engaging and discussing things together. You don’t have to entertain them and it shouldn’t be a monologue. Encourage dialogue in the family devotion time.
Kids will be kids.
Don’t get frustrated if your kids seem bored or disconnected. Kids will be kids. We are in this for the long haul and the results and growth will come in time.
Ask for help, and resource well.
Ask others what they are doing. Look for tips and resources online. Get resources from your local church and other ministries.
Trust God and leave the results to Him.
The Scripture teaches us that God’s Word will not return void and that He is at work far beyond what we see. We can be assured that God is at work through our family devotions, even when we do not see it. Trust Him to work in His way and His time.
Read more on the topic from Eric Geiger here.
Matthew Gibbs is the East Central Region consultant for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.