Gathering for Devotions: What a Family Can Do

Gathering for Devotions

Here’s the continuation of last week’s conversation about Family Devotions

My husband is an early riser. Always has been.

Getting up early – and cheerfully – would not happen to be my strong point. But I am working on it.

So that Man I Married coaxes me out of our bedroom every morning by grinding the coffee beans and preparing an enticing tray of coffee for us. Knowing just the very aroma of fresh coffee helps to brighten my day (pathetic, I realize).

Then while he’s pouring the coffee, I’ll walk over to pop in some worship CD. And turn it up nice and loud. This is the signal to the rest of the house they should wake-up and make their way downstairs. Slightly obnoxious – but effective.

After sitting around and chatting for a while, we’ll then go and fish our Bibles out of the nearby basket. We tend to work through one book at a time, alternating between Old and New Testament, and take turns reading. Sometimes we make it through an entire chapter and other times merely a few verses in a morning. My husband usually leads in teaching and a brief discussion, but there are some days when all we do is read the Word. Or maybe only talk together. Or simply sip coffee.

We like to end our time together in prayer. Here we’ll share our requests and each pray or, if we’re running late, my husband will close for us.

Simplicity seems to be the key. All told, our devotional time will probably last for a half hour or so? We found that by keeping it somewhat short and sweet, it fits into the “line upon line and precept upon precept” idea and not too heavy for the younger set.

How do we keep the attention of those little ones anyway?

Well, mostly they grow into it. When the children were very young, I held them in my lap. A slow training process. When they got a little older, we gave them a small Bible of their own to hold and that’s considered Big Stuff. We try to keep them (reasonably) still and (relatively) quiet.

Not that it’s some dull or dreary time – not at all! We laugh, joke, and generally have lots of fun during these morning times. After all, our desire is to teach our family to love the Word and want to grow together. So we want it to be a warm and loving experience.

And how did we decide on family devotions in the first place?

I’d been thinking and praying about it, but never said anything to my husband. He was already doing so much for our family and I was convinced that it should come from the Spirit’s leading. Not mine. Then one day he surprised me by saying that he’d like for us to start having devotions as a family.

Terrific! Count me in.

But even then it took us a while to get it figured out. When. What we should do. How we should do it. It was definitely a process.

For instance, we had to find a time that worked for all of us. First we tried after dinner, then right before going to bed. Finally, the morning seemed our best option, since we homeschool and my husband has a flexible work schedule.

Not forgetting, of course, my husband is an early riser. And fixes a fabulous cup of coffee.

So if you’re seeking to gather for family devotions?

1. Follow your husband in however he leads. He needs to know he has his wife’s full support.

2. Train your children to respect and appreciate Dad’s leading.

3. Don’t try to do too much. Keeping it simple and consistent seems to go the farthest.

4. Find a time that works well for everyone. Then try to stick to it (but don’t be surprised at how many disruptions and exceptions come up as soon as you do).

5. Enjoy this time together! Whenever and whatever that time ends up looking like – it’s different for each family.

And if you don’t have family devotions? That’s fine too. You’ll be encouraged by Christy’s post, What Should Spiritual Leadership Look Like? The Lord grows a family in all kinds of ways; He’s by no means limited to “formal” devotions.

The most important thing as parents is to love and obey our God and Savior. Then impress that love upon our children with both our lives and our teaching.

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up (Deut. 6:7).

Many blessings on you as you seek to raise your children for Him!

In His grace,

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  • jackie nosis

    just curious of the ages of you children? mine are 5,3, and 2, is that to young to expect them to sit and understand devotion time? i long for family devotions and teaching the kids, but seem everytime we sit down and read the kids picture Bible, everyone gets all crazy! any suggestions?- jackie

  • Lisa

    Our children range in age from 6 to 18 now, although they were all very small (even newborn!) when we first began. When children are as young as yours are, we kept it SUPER simple! Sang a little song or worked on memorizing a verse? Maybe told a Bible story? 15 minutes is probably enough when they’re preschoolers. I figure it’s something they can always grow into and we can add little bits as we go on together. Blessings on you and your little crew, Jackie!

  • Becky

    Any good free ones I have been looking for a good one to do as a family my daughters are 9 and 10

  • Lisa

    Well, we will usually just go through the Bible – maybe starting with 1st or 2nd Samuel in the Old Testament or the Gospels or 1st John in the New Testament?

    But I’d also recommend The Dig by Patrick Schwenk. The Kindle version is $2.99, I believe? It’s a terrific study of the Book of Luke and perfect for that age group.

  • Keisha Holt has a great free devotion called “Keys for Kids”

  • Lisa

    Thank you Keisha!

  • Tehila

    As always, Lisa, I have thoroughly enjoyed, benefitted from, and been inspired by your post! Thank you for sharing the way your family devotions work and your journey in this area of your lives. It’s so helpful to be a fly on the wall of your experience.

    I will be running your words past my hubby too :-)…

    God bless you as you abide in Him and are a blessing to so many!

  • Kit

    YouVersion has an excellent family devo with commentary by Josh McDowell for.. oh, I’d say 4th grade and up, but especially pre-teens & teens. My daughter loved it.

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  • Lindsey Campbell

    What if your husband is not (does NOT want to be) the spiritual leader of the family, does not care about leading the children to the Lord, does not have a relationship with Jesus? What if it is something you long to do but it causes fights (with everyone: the kids because dad’s not involved, and with dad because he could care less)? Can we have a post about that? !

  • Lisa Jacobson

    In such a case as yours, Lindsey, I’d say the best thing you can do is to simply honor your husband – even if that means forgoing devotions. I know that can’t be easy (to say the least!), but Scripture does address your challenging situation:
    Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. (I Pet. 3:1-2).
    Your children will also be blessed by watching your obedience to this hard thing – quite possibly even more than family devotions.
    And I will seriously consider writing such a post as you’ve asked. My heart goes out to you.
    Praying for you, as well as your husband’s salvation…

  • Leslie

    Lindsey, I am in the same boat at you. BUT I do have family devo’s. my children are craving time with God and want me to teach them. they see spend time with God, we pray at bed time. but my husband could care less. SO if does not care why not do it. I do it before bed. I have a 3,5,and 8 year old. we sit in the hall way and read one verse or just a few. like about Love or honor. we talk about it and I teach them how to apply it to their life. my 8 year likes to takes note. we pray and then off to bed we go. we do this twice a week. we always pray for their dad and pray that he will join us one day. but I am NOT going to NOT do it bc my husband does not. that’s setting my children up for failure. 1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. prayer is powerful don’t give up Lindsey and do what you feel is right for your family.