Family devotions are an important part of leading kids along their faith journey. But it’s hard to be consistent with family faith-building time when life is busy and unpredictable.
What if I told you we didn’t do family devotions in my home when I was a child? Even though my parents were committed to teaching us about God and what it meant to follow Jesus, we barely ever sat down with a Bible or devotional on a regular basis. We didn’t have books, resources and blog posts to follow. So there wasn’t near as much pressure to do family devotions a certain way.
Rethinking Family Devotions
I still grew to love and serve Jesus with my whole life. It just happened more organically for me. Do I wish I’d developed the discipline of family devotions all those years ago? Sure! I don’t share this part of my upbringing to discount the importance of family devotions. But I do hope it encourages some that it’s OK to not do things “by the book.”
It’s time we start to rethink the idea of family devotions. And we can do this with one, little change.
Drop the S.
That’s right. It’s that simple. Change the plural – which just ends up on our running list of “one more thing we have to do” – to a descriptive noun that signifies faithfulness and commitment, no strings attached.
What is Family Devotion?
Family devotion is a commitment to teach kids that learning about God and the Bible is important to our spiritual growth. It doesn’t imply a specific act but rather an atmosphere and attitude that is cultivated over time.
Now let’s take that limiting letter S and re-purpose it into 5 important aspects of family devotion that can help us become more consistent with our family devotion(s).
Find Simple Tools + Methods for Family Devotions. What works for one family may not work for another. Look for books and tools that will be effective for your unique family situation and don’t worry whether or not it’s up to par with what others are doing. Try our simple 5 & Thrive Bible Study Method (it can take as little as 10 minutes) or check out our post on No Fuss Family Devotion Ideas. Even 10-15 minutes a week spent reading a verse from the Bible and talking about it is a seed of family devotion planted in the lives of our kids!
Cultivate a Faith Culture in Your Home. It worked for our family devotion time to be unstructured because my parents cultivated a culture of faith in our home. That means faith was a natural part of our everyday conversations. So although we weren’t sitting around a Bible or devotional book often, we were having daily conversations that molded our faith. We felt love, acceptance and permission to ask questions at all times. Focus on nurturing an atmosphere of faith in your home. Create a safe place for your kids to develop an organic understanding of God and the Bible through regular encounters with you.
Plant Faith-Building Moments into Everyday Life. Look for opportunities to create teachable experiences. Stop in the midst of correction, instruction and everyday conversations to point kids toward God and his Word. Every time we turn a conversation into a faith-building moment we plant more seeds of family devotion in the soil of our child’s heart. There is no book for this, but it’s the most valuable way to teach our kids; it’s the very way Jesus taught his disciples.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28 MSG
Find a Rhythm in the Seasons. I love the church calendar. Advent, Epiphany, Lent, even Ordinary Time. . .Each season has a sacred purpose and a rhythm that leads one into the next. Even Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall bring with them the opportunity for new lessons about life and growth. Follow the seasons and develop a rhythm for your family. You can join us right now for our Family Lent Devotional – including 6 simple lessons about Jesus’ love and sacrifice.
Start with Sundays. Our commitment to the Body of Christ (the church) is one of the most powerful ways we teach our children about following Jesus. When we faithfully gather with other believers, they learn the value of community. I understand how hard it can be to find a good church. Churches are filled with imperfect people, just like us. We get burned out and let down and then we hide away from God’s people. I get it. I truly do. Take a break if you need to then ask God for the grace to get back into community. Find a place, however imperfect, where your kids (and you) can grow. Then take what you learn on Sunday mornings and carry it into your conversations throughout the week.
It’s hard to be consistent when life is so unpredictable. When we rethink what faith-building and family devotions should look like, we find freedom to develop a habit of DEVOTION that becomes a part of who we are, not just something we try to find time to do. Then consistency comes naturally instead of being the thing we strive for and can’t ever seem to accomplish.
And this is the kind of family DEVOTION that lasts a lifetime.
What are some of your favorite tips for being consistent with family devotions? How are you creating a culture of faith within your family?
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