We all find ourselves in the same place. We want to make family devotions an important part of the family faith ritual but somehow we don’t know where to begin or what to do. So we let the urge pass and promise to “do better” next time. Yet “next time” has just become “this time” and the pattern continues. What can you do about it?
I have found that there are three things that interfere with our good intentions.
WE DON’T MAKE A REGULAR TIME FOR THE ACTIVITY
MANY TIMES WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO IT
The good thing about family devotions is that there is no right answer. As long as you focus on God’s grace through Jesus Christ then you are hitting a home run. Try using the worship folder from Sunday’s service for a wealth of quality material. In your church’s service folder are prayers, Bible readings, psalms, even songs to sing. Use the printed service folder as your family’s “prayer book” for the week. For older children you can let them read sections and even ask them to reflect upon the Pastor’s sermon from Sunday. Together you can enjoy a family discussion around God’s word led by the teaching of your Pastor.
WE DON’T FEEL WORTHY OR COMPETENT TO LEAD OUR FAMILY IN DEVOTIONS
Ideas to Engage Your Preschooler
Next, remember that your goal is to engage your family in a process of learning about God and His grace through Christ. I encourage families to read, teach, tell, and act out Bible stories. The indwelling Holy Spirit will make the theological connections when He believes the time is right. As parents all we do is put the stories before the children and engage them in learning to know it. Here are some of my favorite activities.
DRAW THE STORY ON A PIECE OF PAPER
GET OUT THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR AND HELP THEM ACT OUT THE STORY AS A MINI DRAMA
CHILDREN ARE IMITATORS, LET THEM IMITATE YOU
Tell the story dramatically and then ask them to retell it like you did. You will need to be demonstrative with your actions so they can easily copy you. Break the story into parts so they can remember what you just did and then move on to the next part. Adjust your length to their success in remembering your actions. Repetition is an important part of learning. This exercise allows for reinforcement as you and they tell the story.
The bottom line is simply make it a priority and make it fun. The benefit is for a life time, even longer.