I have a confession to make: I’m not very consistent with family devotions. I always start off with the best of plans. I gather the materials and we get off to a good start, but somewhere along the way we always fizzle out.
Sometimes, even when things are going well with the study, behaviors and attitudes get in the way. My boys don’t sit still or pay attention. One of them falls off the bed while I’m trying to read that day’s verses. And my attitude starts to stink because things aren’t going according to my fantastic plan.
Can you relate?
3 Ways to Prepare For Family Devotions
I recently started praying about our family devotion time. I didn’t want it to be a time of stress, poor behaviors, and my terrible attitude. Here are three things that have really helped:
- Pray: Before you choose a study for your family, and before you make any changes to your current routine, it’s important to pray. Pray about what you are struggling with, what your goals are, and what resources to use.
- Give grace: Be sure to give yourself plenty of grace. Don’t get hung up on the time of day or the length of time you spend in scripture with your children. Don’t even beat yourself up over inconsistency. Set goals and do what you can. God will bless your efforts.
- Find something that engages the whole family: This has been something that has really helped us. I don’t have a huge age difference between my boys but I still try my best to make sure that whatever we are studying is appropriate for both of them.
These three things have really helped to take the pressure off and allow us to enjoy our bible study time together. I’ve learned to expect my boys to act like children and to take more time to train instead of getting an attitude.
What Our Family Devotions Look Like
I want our family devotion time to have a sense of order and routine. Not so much routine that it becomes ritualistic, but something familiar that my boys can depend on. Ultimately my goal is for them to be able to lead devotions on their own and I find that our routine is helping them move in that direction.
Our family devotions have 4 parts:
- Songs: We begin by singing a hymn together. We usually sing the same song for an entire month. This way we are able to learn all the verses. We also take some time to talk about what the hymn means and sometimes I look up the story behind it.
- Prayer: After we sing we move on to a time of prayer. I start off by asking if there are any requests. Sometimes my boys have things they want to pray about and sometimes they don’t. Then we pray. When we first started, I would pray. A few months ago I would start the prayer and give each of my boys time to pray as well. These days I usually let one of my boys handle the prayer by themselves. They are truly growing into little prayer warriors.
- Scripture: Having a curriculum or study from Grapevine Studies or Not Consumed is very hepful. Sometimes I put all of this aside and we focus on reading verses on a particular heart issue.
- Memory Work: We are working on memorizing a lot of verses together this year, along with the books of the Bible and Catechism. I like to spend just a few minutes reviewing our memory work each morning.
Things are not perfect but we are definitely taking steps in the right direction!
What do family devotions look like in your home?