We’ve really enjoyed being at homeschool conventions over the years. At one, I remember a dad talking about leading Bible Study with his kids. He stated that it wasn’t that hard, you just choose a passage of scripture, find three points to emphasize about it, look for an application point, ask your children three questions (these he had prepared) about it, and then pray with them. Easy, right?
Ummm….no. That’s basically a sermon. While I think it’s awesome that he is able to just write a mini sermon for his kids each day, I’m pretty sure that Bryan would not be excited to do that.
There are a TON of family devotion books. I’ve bought several myself. Some of them come with ideas for elaborate activities, but that just means that we rarely do them because it requires a lot of prep work. Beyond that, you always run the risk material being not applicable/too mature/too immature/boring/not in line with your theology. So, we don’t usually go this route either.
However, we have had regular family devotions for a few years now, so I thought I would share what works for our family.
Each night, we read a (or play an audio Bible) chapter from a book of the Bible. We read the entire book, but we don’t read sequentially. Sometimes we read something that they will be memorizing, but we just move through the Bible, a book at a time, a chapter a night. After this, everyone prays.
The best thing about it is the questions. We don’t need to write a sermon or a series of action points for the kids. If we are willing to listen to their questions, they let us know what they are wondering about. Sometimes, we will notice something in the passage that seems applicable to our family, and we’ll ask a question about it, but most of the time, they are asking the questions.
We’re currently reading through Proverbs. We’ve discussed interest on loans and PayDay loan scams. We’ve discussed foolish people, a lot. We’ve talked about diligence and being self directed. We’ve discussed why being argumentative is not a good thing. We’ve been able to talk at length regarding how God’s wisdom works for our good in the world. Related to that, we’ve talked about how the things in Proverbs are not “promises” but general principles.
We have some basic reference books that we use like a study Bible, a concordance, and a Bible dictionary. These help us answer harder questions that we may not have the answers to right off the top of our heads. We’ve also had the kids go to the pastor with questions. Once, Emma was curious as to when the 9th hour, 11th hour, etc were. Our pastor was happy to share with her that they counted hours during the workday which started at 6 am. We were happy to learn this as well.
This is it. It’s just read Bible (good quality children’s Bible when you have little tinies), answer questions, everyone prays. We don’t have a formula for reading. Sometimes everyone gets a chance to read, sometimes Bryan reads, sometimes I read, sometimes the phone reads. We let them interrupt with their questions. I interrupt my own Bible study with my questions, and I need to let them do the same. We let them pray about whatever is on their mind. We are modeling prayer to them when we pray, but they don’t have to pray how we pray.
Our goal for family devotions is that they might be able to:
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
And that extends to us. My Biblical worldview has grown and developed as I work to rightly handle to word of truth when I’m handing it to my children.
How do you do family devotions?