Every parent wants their children to be faithful Christians. We take them to church and bring them to Sunday school. We pray for them, and try to teach them to follow Jesus the best way we can. One of the ways Christians connect with God is through daily devotions. Family devotions can help parents teach the faith to their children and themselves. But it can be difficult to establish a routine. Here are some ways to make family devotions stick.
Establish a Routine
Do your family devotions at the same time every day. The more regular you make your schedule, the more likely it will become a habit. You want your devotions to be as regular as drinking coffee .
Morning usually work best for this. Many families have a lot going on in the afternoons and evenings. Parents have meeting, or they may work late. Kids have sports or extracurriculars. The whole family has trouble getting together. In most families, everyone wakes up around the same time. They can do their devotion together before the rest of the day.
Use The Same Pattern Daily
Medieval monks developed a system of daily prayer called “The Hours.” Eight times a day, they gathered to repeat the same worship services. Each service had a set form, called a liturgy, which they followed. Each liturgy was drawn exclusively from the Bible, including their songs.
We can learn a lot from medieval Christians. Despite some problems with their theology, the worship routines that monks established have guided how Christians have worshiped for many years. Their routines can guide how your family does daily devotions.
A pattern helps your family do daily devotions. This one comes from a Lutheran church body . The pattern is simple:
Using the same pattern has two wonderful advantages. First, non-readers, like older adults and younger children, can memorize the pattern. They can participate fully in daily devotions even though they don’t have the same ability as the rest of the group. God’s love includes people who can’t read, so why not let your devotional life do the same.
Second, it is easy to plan. We are all busy. There isn’t enough time in the day, so adding extra planning time is difficult. A set pattern means that you don’t have to plan most of the devotion. In the above pattern, you just need to choose a reading and a song. Some churches even provide a daily reading schedule with appropriate songs.
Keep The Message Simple
Many devotional tools make it seem like family devotions need to have a creative message, even something like a short sermon. You can find books that have science experiments or object lessons. They can take a lot of time to prepare.
Complexity, however, is the enemy of regular devotions. The more work you have to do to prepare for a family devotion, the less likely you will be to do it. Just let the Bible speak for itself. Choose a passage from the bible to read. You don’t have to comment on it or apply it. Just hearing God’s word can be enough.
If you have very young children, the bible can be too complex for them. Try using a story Bible to get them acquainted with the characters and plotlines from the Old and New Testaments. When they are old enough to read well, the New International Reader’s Version has simplified English to make it more understandable.
Sing Your Church’s Songs
In addition to connecting your family to God’s word, you can use devotions to connect them to your church. Children need to learn to worship like adults. If they don’t, they won’t worship like adults when they become adults.
You can help connect your children to the way your church worships by teaching them the songs you sing in worship. This works whether you worship in a liturgical church or something more chaotic. Every church has songs they sing regularly. Use this time to teach them to your children.
Dad Leads Devotions
Fathers are called to be the head of the household and the pastor to the family. When God created Adam, he gave Adam the command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam’s job was to pass that command on to Eve. Similarly, St. Paul describes the Father as the head of the household in Ephesians 5.
It’s important to have Dad lead family devotions. Dad’s are especially important in passing the faith to the next generation . When they show that the faith is important, the kids will take notice. Many families, however, do not have a Father who can be the spiritual leader. He may not be a Christian or may not be involved at all. We all do the best we can and rely on God’s grace.
Devotions can draw the family together around a common pattern of worship. The ritual brings them together, and the time spent together will build their relationship. More importantly, however, it connects the family to God through his word.
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