As a child, family devotions were a highlight of each day. We gathered after dinner for this short yet amazing family time together. Sometimes us kids even got to lead them. One night, it was my little brother’s turn. He was only three. Watching the rest of us as examples to follow with object lesson ideas, he wanted to do something too. We all watched as he brought out crayons and other interesting supplies. After handing everything out to us while we tried to hide our giggles, he finally sat down and folded his hands. Out of his mouth came three little but very powerful words: “God is love.” That was it. That was the whole devotion. Best devotion we ever had. That little brother is now in his fifties. We still remember his message from God to our family even to this day.
Do you want to have family devotions, but aren’t sure how to start? There are many devotional books available, but how does a family use them and how does that look? The children are all different ages. How does that work? How does a family make time for ONE MORE THING in the busy family life? Yikes! This might help: there is no right or wrong way to have family devotions. Start small. No need to feel overwhelmed. It is easier than you think. You can relax because it is God who will give you His power.
Pick a time when everyone can be together.
That perhaps is the most challenging part! But do it anyway. Your devotion time may last anywhere from three to ten minutes. The length of time doesn’t matter. The place doesn’t matter either. What does matter is coming together to devote moments to God as a family and to hold Him as first priority in your lives. It is a powerful witness and example to your children. It is a parent’s duty to pilot his or her children on the right path. You can even do it on the way to school or while traveling on vacation!
Pick a place where everyone can gather together.
When at home, light a candle at the start of your devotions to focus everyone on this special time and to remind the family that Jesus, the Light of the world, is present. Have the children take turns blowing out or extinguishing the candle after devotions. Pick the elements you want to include—Scripture, prayer, song, and the like. Make it easy on yourself and start with devotional books. They are a great help and a time-saver for preparation! Here are a few of my favorites:
My First Catechism is also a wonderful resource for family devotions. Read, discuss, pray, and sing hymns or Sunday School–type songs together. Even if the words are a bit beyond the children’s comprehension, they will learn that this is a special time with God. They will experience God’s promises that become more familiar the more they hear them.
As children grow older, they will come to better understand new concepts. Remember my little brother and what he absorbed! The Holy Spirit is there with your family growing faith in your children . . . and you! Even babies move from milk to solid foods and are introduced to new foods with different textures. It’s all a growing process. Celebrate your family growing in faith together!
One day, you may venture out and create your own family devotions like we did. Perhaps your children will take turns leading your family devotions. For now, just gather together in God’s Word with a children’s devotional book to follow and see how He will lead your family. Be filled with joy as you devote time to be together with God each day!