“Family devotions”, or “family worship” is a term in ‘Christianese’ that excites either bitterness or joy in the hearts of those who have been exposed to it. For those who have not ever experienced it growing up, nor seen it in practise in another home, the term “family devotions” often creates feelings of desire mixed with fear and a sense of inability.
Although the Scriptures never speak to parents about some formalised version of family devotions as we think of them (compare Deuteronomy 6 for the required “everyday-talk” passage on teaching children God’s ways), they are of great value as the holy men and women of old and of our own lifetime have proven. This is indeed one of the many ways in which all saints can imitate the mature.
But how do you go about it? Here is a plan for family devotions whether you have a whole olive grove shooting up around your table, or if it is only you by yourself. This plan works best day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month, but also works for the family that came over for dinner (or breakfast, or whenever you schedule it), and is joining you for only one event of family devotions. This plan is not fool-proof in any unique way, but it doesn’t fall apart just because you skipped a day for some reason.
As families in Living Hope Baptist Church, join us in this, and may it equip us in all things to speak of the Lord as Deuteronomy 6 requires.
- PRAY for grace to understand the Word read, and to be helped in remembering the new things learned
- SING a Christian song together. Aim at teaching a verse a week or something like that of some of the familiar Christian songs. Starting this week, learn the chorus and verse 1 from The Apostles’s Creed by The Getty’s (use YouTube if you are instrumentally inept or musically challenged).
- READ a short section from God’s Word (focus on the narratives in Scripture where God is displayed in full-colour stories. One family is using a simple children’s Bibles with the most familiar stories in Biblical history, another family is reading one short story from Mark each day). Learn to read well, with emotion and fervour as though it were your favourite story being retold. Follow up the reading with a question or two directed at each participant at their level of comprehension.
- MEMORISE a verse together. Starting this week, memorise Philippians 2:1, a phrase per day until the whole verse can be recited by each person. Then add verse 2, and so on, keeping units of five verses or so that can eventually be recited in one steady flow.
- Select the same time of day for family devotions (at the breakfast table, or shift bath-time and dinner up with 30 minutes and sit in the lounge before going off to bed).
- Focus on having all sit still during the time. This is worth a short interruption in the flow of things until all can sit quietly for the 10 minutes or so that it takes.
- See it as a time for your own learning and growth too, knowing that the prayer is to be personal communication, the reading is to be simple history with a Divine participant, and the memorisation is to be more helpful that the multiplication table!
- Use the Monday devotional on this website each week as your guide in what next to do, or how to explain some of the concepts in the chosen song and memory verse.
- Engage the other parents who are doing the same, as well as your church elders when you come across some concept or question that you need help with.
- Pray that the Lord will use these times to make Himself know to our children so that when they humble their hearts before Him and turn from their sins, that they will already be well-informed of His gracious and wonderful ways of dealing with mankind.