Family devotions. Those two words alone have the ability to conjure up feelings of confusion and frustration for even the most well-intentioned parent. I remember when my daughter was born, having grand visions of nighttime devotions filled with angelic worship and pillow-gripping Bible stories. Now with a three year old and a five year old those grand visions have turned into the reality of a combined 48 second attention span that is usually interrupted by either someone “tooting” or crying.
It’s defeating to say the least. Maybe other parents can relate. So then what does a meaningful devotional life look like for families who truly desire to follow Christ? One of our favorite passages of Scripture in Mercy Hill Kids is found in the book of Deuteronomy. It’s instruction for parents and it reads like this:
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deut. 6:5-9).
As a church, we believe that discipleship begins and ends in the home. But discipling your kids can be really really hard. Between balancing soccer practice, naps, and a whole host of other family activities, there never seems to be enough time. That is why the above verses from Deuteronomy can be helpful in developing a strategic and impactful family devotional time…a devotional time that works with your busy schedule and not against it.
Here are five possible locations that you can utilize to develop a healthy “as you go” family devotional time.
1. The dinner table –
There are few times during the day when the family is all together. The dinner table is usually one of those. Instead of allowing those 12-15 minutes of precious time to go by while talking about sports or school, why not take that time to walk through a weekly devotional guide? Mercy Hill puts together a Kid’s Guide every week to help parents meaningfully talk about that week’s sermon.
2. Bedtime –
At the end of the day, every parent wants one thing…quiet. In a house full of kids, quiet is hard to come by. But bedtime can offer a few moments of solace from the craziness of the day. It’s also a great time to walk your kids through one of the helpful kids Bible studies that you can check out on our parent resource page.
3. Road tripping –
Long car rides can be tough. But they can be useful for setting up meaningful conversations with your kids about the gospel. Taking 10-15 minutes prior to your trip to think about specific topics of conversation which are centered around Scripture can have a huge impact. Talk to your kids about what God is doing in your life. Use what God is teaching you to teach your kids about who God is and how He can work in their lives.
4. The car line –
Over the past month I’ve been introduced to the concept of the car line. And as painful as it can be to wait…creep up a few inches…and then wait some more, the car line can be a great 15 (or more) minutes to have family devotions. One specific way to capture the moment amidst the congestion of vehicles is to work with your child on Scripture memorization. You can download the Gospel Project app as a tool to work with your child on the verses he/she is memorizing at church.
5. OK…anytime you’re in the car –
Bottom line…as parents we spend a lot of time in the car. Why not redeem that time? Get creative, be intentional, and allow God to use the time that you “walk along the road”.
Imagine a generation of kids who hear the gospel and realize from an early age that there is no life more exciting than a life lived for Jesus. As the local church, we want to partner with you to see this come to fruition in your family.
Join us on Friday night, October 9th for Family Worship Night. This will be a time to worship as a family, have some fun, and hear more about setting up a meaningful family devotion time.
– Jeremy Dager (Pastor of Age-based Ministries)