Do you want to get started with family devotional times but don’t know where to begin? Do your current family devotions seem more rote than relational? Are you looking for it to be a time of connection, spiritual growth and worship? Here are some tips that can help you create a family devotional time that will be met with cheers instead of groans.
Make it variable. As the old saying goes, variety is the spice of life. Don’t assume that family devotionals can only consist of Dad reading from the bible while everyone listens passively. Enlist the help of all family members to come up with a devotional schedule that encompasses different elements every day. Heaven Help the Home by Howard Hendricks has some great ideas for breathing some life back into your devotional time. Below are some ideas but feel free to use your own creativity and family’s interests to create a schedule that works for you:
Monday – Review and apply the passage taught in church or Sunday school
Tuesday – Learn and practice a new hymn
Wednesday – Read a missionary story or write a letter to a missionary family
Thursday – Practice memory verses (different verses for different members)
Friday – Read or act out a Bible story
Saturday – Give a Bible story or character “quiz”
Sunday – Play “What Would You Do?” (explore how each member would handle a hypothetical scenario)
Make the discussions collaborative. Don’t preach or lecture. Involving your children in the discussion will engage them in the process and help you refine your devotional time to meet their spiritual needs. Choose materials that are appropriate to their level of understanding that will help facilitate the discussion. Bible translations with high levels of “readability” are best (like the New Living Translation or The International Children’s Bible).
Make it fun. On occasion, serve dessert during devotional time. Everyone can enjoy an ice cream cone while reviewing what happened at church the day before. Or grab a blanket, go outside and sit on the front lawn for your time together. Go for a walk and identify all of the wonders of creation that you see around you. When you return home, pray and praise God for His majesty.
Keep a prayer journal. Designate a notebook for prayer requests and praise reports. Rotate the job of “secretary” among your children who can read and write. Date each entry and add prayers and praises during each devotional time. Round robin style prayers (where each person prays one sentence about the same topic before moving on to the next prayer request) will keep little minds engaged and focused.
Keep it brief. Don’t assume that your family devotional time needs to take a large chunk of time. Children have short attention spans and as much as possible, the length of the devotional time should be tailored to suit their developmental level.
Family devotional time can be a time of connection and spiritual grounding for all members of your family. Making it interactive ensures that all members will feel included and engaged. We’d love to hear your ideas for keeping devotional time engaging and enriching for your family!