It’s summer-time and that means MORE TIME with the kiddos around! We are most definitely going to fill it up with splash parks, pools and parks, but we also want to be intentional about stewarding our time well. It has been quite the journey with my wife and I trying to implement a family devotional. While we are still far from perfect at it, there are some things along the way that we’ve learned that I hope could be helpful for you and your family.
1. Make a plan. For the longest time we talked about doing a family devotional, but didn’t actually do it because we never had a plan. If you have to, schedule time aside to do it. For our family scheduling a certain time just doesn’t work. For us, it becomes a “law” that is so easy to break – often. Plus we have three awesome young kids that don’t always accommodate a schedule, so we have to be pretty flexible. This summer, Brooke and I are going to walk through the book of Ephesians, as well as a more devotional type marriage/relationship video study:)
2. Don’t give up. If your plan doesn’t work the first few times, don’t give up. You will fail at first, probably. It was only through a lot of failure that Brooke and I were able to find a format that worked best for our natural rhythms of life. And it is still a struggle because it is a spiritual battle with a real enemy that wants to defeat you.
What does this look like for us? We choose a book of the Bible. We just finished Ruth. We go through one chapter or less a day. We both read the chapter separately at some point in our day. In the evening time, after the kids are in bed, we pull our Bibles out and re-read the whole chapter out loud together. Then we take turns talking about highlights, hard texts, encouraging and convicting notes, etc. Two great resources are RightNow Media, as well as Desiring God’s, Look at the Book.
3. Include prayer. Always include prayer. This is the point where we are acknowledging that it is God that is speaking to us through His word and that the Bible is not just some great piece of literature. One of us leads in prayer while we hold hands. This is also a great way to exemplify the priority of prayer in your home in front of your kids.
4. Make it Gospel-Centered. It is real easy to turn a devotional into moral reminders. Always get to a point in your devotional where you bring it to Jesus and how the Gospel affects the text or idea that you are discussing. Don’t make your devotional time a daily reminder of how you either do great or constantly fall short of the law. Live in the light and freedom of the Gospel.
5. Involve your kids. Our kids are pretty young. With that said, they are fully able to communicate who Jesus is, who created everything, and what sin and forgiveness is, so do not under estimate your young children. With our kids, we have intentional and unintentional devotional times. I use a very informal – question and answer – type of a catechism, similar to what you would find at the back of the 1689 London Baptist Confession. At times we have dressed up to act out stories.
If you’d like something more formal and guided a great curriculum is The Gospel Project. It’s a great Gospel-centered curriculum that is fun and interactive.
6. Actually be interested. Several times a day, Amber randomly will talk about Jesus or “the evil one.” I make it a priority to drop whatever it is I’m doing and acknowledge the fact that she is wanting to have a “God conversation.” She needs to know that we can have an open dialogue with anything, but especially the Gospel. Don’t just prioritize when you are being intentional about a conversation, but be sensitive to the timing when the Lord puts it ion your little one’s hearts to talk:)
7. Have fun. The Gospel is serious, but it can also be a lot of fun. Too many times we create a dichotomy between the two.