“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
What are Family Devotions?
A family devotional time is a time when a family gets together around God’s word for instruction, prayer, fellowship, and growth. There are many family devotional guides available. We recommend “Table Talk” and “Long Story Short.”
However, family devotions can be as simple as reading a portion of the Bible and asking a few questions to help each person grasp spiritual truth at his or her level. Devotions should include prayer and a sensitivity to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Not only is the activity itself important, but so is the unspoken message to children about the importance parents place on a devotional life. Family devotions may last just 10-30 minutes each day, but it is a crucial investment to children’s spiritual formation.
Who Should Lead Family Devotions?
As God’s ordained spiritual leader of the family, the father in the home should take responsibility to guide his family in spiritual growth. It would be wise to incorporate his wife and older children in the process.
If a father is not present in the family constellation, the next most mature spiritual leader should step up. That might be a grandfather or mother. The Bible speaks clearly about the responsibility of parents to teach the next generation the things of God. (Psalm 78:5-7)
When Should Family Devotions Happen?
There are several possibilities for when to have family devotions, but a very important factor is having them regularly. For some families, the best time might be before breakfast, while others might incorporate it into the bedtime routine. Many families choose to take time at a meal, usually breakfast or dinner.
Whenever family devotions occur, it is important that the family leader maintain an upbeat enthusiasm that will encourage family members to participate. Try to incorporate family members at age appropriate levels of participation. Those who can read can take turns reading the Scripture passage or part of the devotional guide being used.
Are Family Devotions Really That Important?
Yes, family devotional life is absolutely important! The key is to make it a routine, set realistic expectations, and stay steady and faithful. It is vital, when possible, to establish the habit of family devotions when the children are young and to be teaching them diligently (Deuteronomy 6:4) so that it becomes part of the family life as you train up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Some Additional Tips:
- Avoid lecturing and work to foster discussion
- Have a set time, start on time, and end on time
- Do your best to stay positive and make it fun
- Always read a Bible verse or passage
- Seek to relate each lesson to your children’s life
- Involve your children in prayer for the world
- Gospelize your family—Center life around the gospel
- If you miss a day now and then, don’t stress out