I was a spiritual late-bloomer. As a new Christian, I already had two school-aged children at home. I had much to learn.
Do you know what helped me most? It was when I watched women from my church interact with their own family. These godly gals inspired me by their gentle ways with their husbands and children. No matter who I spent time with, I discovered something I wanted to emulate. Picking up tiny treasures from each one, my parenting skills were sharpened.
It was Lara who inspired me most about family devotions. Lara was our worship pastor’s wife. Always striving to raise her children to know and love the Lord, I made sure to pay close attention to her. One of the things I noticed as I got to know her better, she made a point to have her daily devotion with the Lord in the morning and made sure to do the same with her children.
This was a foreign concept for me.
Each morning, before she sent her children off to school, she would gather them around their kitchen table. Sometimes she would read a story to them from the Bible, other times the children took turns reading a verse, some days she shared with her children what God had been showing her.
She began their day with the Word and a simple prayer before she launched them out into the world. She was doing more than packing their bag lunches and stuffing their backpacks with last night's homework. She was taking each one and arming them for battle.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13 NKJV
For those of you just starting out like I was, I’ve included five fun ways to share family devotion time together.
•Teach them as you walk along the way. When I walk the kids to school, I’ll ask them who their favorite character is in the Bible. Other times, I’ll ask them to share their favorite Bible verse and ask why they love it. It’s a way to live out Deuteronomy 6:6-8; These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when lie down and wake up. When you sit at home and when you walk along the way.
•Stuffed animal devotions. Telling the story of Jonah and the whale to your little ones is more fun if stuffed animals help you tell the tale. Noah’s Ark is another favorite when you use the animal toys in your child’s bedroom. It makes the story come alive!
•Holiday Devotions. At Christmas time, we have a set of twelve paper devotional ornaments I use for the 12 days before Christmas. Each ornament has a different scripture and shares a different part of the story about the birth of Jesus. If you can’t find these, enlist the help of your children and create your own!
•Let your children lead. When my kids learned to read, I would let them take turns reading the Bible verse or the story of the day. Now, with teenagers under our roof, they lead our family devotion on the weekends. It has been a blessing for my husband and I to sit back and watch them grow in their knowledge and understanding.
•A Proverb a day helps keep teen foolishness at bay. My husband and my seventeen year old son go over a proverb together each morning. Before our son, David, leaves for school he’s encouraged by his earthly father and his Heavenly Father.
Remember, your family is unique. What works well for one household may not work well for another. Keep at it and don’t lose your patience. With two of our children now grown, our daily devotions are memories they will take with them into their own family. As a mother, there is no greater legacy than being a part of teaching my children God’s word along the way.