Family devotions are a great way to spend time in the Word with your family. I think we all probably know that, but life often makes it hard. This was especially true when our boys, who are currently 5 and 7, were itty bitty. Life with littles is often so crazy that even the most organized and scheduled among us can find it hard to do everything we want to do. So now that the boys are older, we have found groove with family devotion time. We worked hard to get in the habit of doing daily family devotions. Here’s what I have learned along the way that might make it easier to get family devotions started in your household.
1. Fit it into your natural family routine.
If you want any new habit to stick it has to fit into your life in an organic way. Basically, don’t turn your life upside down to try and fit family devotions into your day. Look for a place where it would fit easily and naturally. If you regularly eat dinner together at the table, like my family, do devotions right after dinner before everyone leaves the table. If you spend a lot of time in the car driving to sports practices and games, then do it in the car on the way. If the only time your kids stop moving long enough to do anything is when they are in the tub, then sit on the bathroom floor and do devotions in the bathroom.
2. Get out your Bible and start today.
Just do it! Start today. You don’t need anything more than a Bible. Get it out and read a little bit with your family. Start with Genesis and read about Creation. Or start with Luke and read the Christmas story. Devotions can start today with a Bible reading and the Lord’s Prayer!
Let me also say, that this is more like what devotions with toddlers looked like for our family. I would read a Bible story book with the boys before bed. There are many great story bibles and books about Bible stories available at Concordia Publishing House (CPH). We love the The Story Bible. There are also Bibles for older kids, like Faith Alive Bible.
3. Find a great devotions book.
A devotions book can be a great way to focus your family devotions and make them more meaningful to everyone. Devotion books are nice because they generally have a message connected to a bible reading. They usually also give you a prayer to say with your family, which is nice if you are like me and not the best at extemporaneous praying. There are tons of great choices, too! Two of them are even free for you from Emmanuel. My Devotions, for families with school-aged children, and Portals of Prayer, for adults, are available for everyone at Emmanuel. If you haven’t seen one lately, ask around at church and you can have one. There are many more choices, some for specific age groups of children. My personal favorite, now that our boys are older and reading, is an ancient copy of Little Visits with God that belonged to my mom’s family when she was little. It’s still in print through CPH. Visit their website, cph.org, to browse through their devotion books to find one that will work for your family.
4. Keep all the devotions supplies out and ready to use.
No matter what you choose to use for your family devotions, keep them out and in sight, ready to use. Since we do our family devotions after dinner at the table, our bible and devotions book are sitting, in my line of sight, on the China cabinet shelf, right by the table. I have to work pretty hard not to see them. If you do your family devotions in the car, keep them on the passenger seat. If it is in the way of someone sitting there, what better reminder to do the devotions! The old adage, “Out of sight. Out of mind,” is true for a reason. It is a lot harder to remember to do something if it is not right in front of you.
5. Get the kids involved.
Give your kids some ownership over the devotions by getting them involved in the process. Let the little ones choose the Bible story you will read. Have the big ones that are able, read the devotion. (This is especially good if you are doing the devotions in the car and you are the one driving. LOL!) Let the kids say the prayer. Its more fun when everyone can participate.
God’s blessings on your devotional journey. I will be praying that your family can grow together in the Word.