Establishing Family Devotions for the Busy Family

Featuring: Krista Branch, Student Ministry Director

I hit the ground running at 5:00 a.m.  A workout is necessary to lose what was gained over the course of three pregnancies.  Then it’s back to the house to help Jim rush the girls through the morning routine of bed making, dressing, breakfast, hair detangling, and teeth brushing.  After dropping off children at their respective schools, it’s back to the house to enjoy a few minutes with God and my coffee, make myself presentable, start a load of clothes, clean the kitchen from breakfast, and possibly squeeze in a trip to Walmart before work at 9:00 a.m.  When the clock is punched at 5:00 p.m., it’s back home to begin the crazy two-hour task of cooking, feeding the troops, bathing the munchkins, and looking over homework.  All the while, I am listening to the mysteries and excitements of that day and picking up shoes and Wii remotes.  After tucking in the girls, Jim and I begin an intimate time of kitchen clean-up and clothes folding.  Sigh.  Is it over yet?  And this doesn’t touch the days with a meeting or extracurricular activity!

This is a day in my life – my perfect chaos!  Sound familiar?

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Now, to the important question – where does God fit into this?  Like many families, I struggled for a while with how to fit God time into our schedule.  My solution – take God on the go and be intentional. 

Tip 1: An example of something that works for us is doing a devotion during the car ride to school.  Once we pull out every morning, my oldest daughter opens our children’s devotional book to that particular date, and she reads aloud the verse and clip of wisdom orchestrated for that day.  This is a great opportunity to process scripture and dialogue as a family.  At times we have incorporated song into the “lesson,” and we always end in prayer; each person takes a turn.  When we first began family devotions, we read A Child’s First Bible (Kenneth N. Taylor); now we use Blessings Every Day (Carla Barnhill). 


Find a book that is age appropriate and works for you. Below are some other resources from the editor.

Tip 2: A new idea shared with me recently was to pray your children awake.  Can you think of a better way to start the day?  We work so hard to remember praying at bedtime, praying our children to sleep, so why not pray them awake!  I tried it just this week, and it was a beautiful experience.  Even though I was met with sleepy eyes and a few grunts, I could feel the difference it made.

Tip 3: Take advantage of teachable moments.  We are instructed in Deuteronomy 6 to make God the center of our homes. We teach our children to be in constant conversation with God through prayer; let’s be in constant devotion, too.  Think outside the box – devotion can be mobile.  Whether you are watching a movie together, playing in the yard, or reprimanding one child for being unkind to another, teach the word of God in everyday conversation. 

Because God-time is so vital in our homes, it is necessary to be home together. (Busy schedules make this difficult!)  Guard your calendars.  Reserve family time each week, specifically for dinner.  Mealtime is a great opportunity to share and grow.  No matter the ages of your children, make quality family time a priority.

The bottom line is you must be intentional.  Everyone has an excuse; who isn’t busy?  Figure out what works with your family and do it.  No child is too young or too old to experience family devotions.     

Editors Pick: Other great resources (click on picture for more info. most links have a preview option to look inside):
 This Bible is our boys favorite, it is beautifully illustrated and it also has a DVD available for purchase.
This is wonderful to help kids experience Gods Truths through fun activities.
 Easy (prep is under 5 min) hands on Science Tricks to help kids capture Gods truth.
 Discovering Gods World and His truth through stories about animals: otters, iguanas, ants, etc… Our boys love this little quick devotion.

Krista Branch lives in Statesboro, Georgia with her husband Jim and three daughters Chloe, Phoebe, and Ellie.  She currently serves as the Student Ministry Director at Believers Church Statesboro. 

first image -via Serendipity Mom

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20 Responses to “Establishing Family Devotions for the Busy Family”

  1. Beth S
    January 30, 2012 at 6:32 am #

    Thanks for the resources! We, too, LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible. And we just got the “More Five Minute Devotions” for Christmas. Looking forward to checking out the other ones you posted.

  2. January 30, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    Beth,
    You got us hooked on the Jesus Storybook Bible! Aren’t those 5 min devotions great, our boys love learning about all the creatures God created.

  3. January 30, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    we use the jesus storybook bible a lot! it’s my childrens’ pick almost every night and they ask for it at breakfast as well! it’s a sweet time for us as a family and it takes no added effort. just read and talk about it. I love it!

    but i love your idea of praying them awake. i have one sleepy-head that this may do a world of good!

    • January 30, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      Melissa,
      Yes, it’s definitely a family fav in our home. Have you gone on their website to download their movies for free. They change them up every so often so you can download a new one each time.

  4. January 30, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    Love these ideas. I just posted on my blog today about using cues in your day to remind your kids to pray for others. This is exactly along those lines. I’ll be sharing this with my friends. Thanks for the ideas. Love the praying them awake idea.

    • January 30, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

      Lori,
      I just stopped by your blog! Yes, great info. you posted. Thanks for stopping by and sharing Kristas great info with others!

  5. January 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Thank you! I found this really helpful!

  6. January 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Praying awake is a really lovely idea. I usually forget, especially since my daughter is the one who runs into our room at 6am!

  7. January 31, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    I love the idea of the devotion in the car! That’s the perfect time for us as well. We have the 5-minute Devotional book featured here and love it…it’s a great one! Thanks bunches for linking up to Mop it Up Mondays at ishouldbemoppingthefloor.com.

    {HUGS},
    kristi

    • February 2, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

      Kristi,
      Isn’t that 5min devo great! Esp. for boys though it works for either girl or boys. Thanks for hosting the linky.

  8. February 1, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    I like the idea of praying while on the way to school. Found you at Polkadots on Parade. I host a weekly friday-monday linky, please come strut your stuff sometime. I am going to have to look for some of those books.

  9. February 1, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    Great resources! Thank you for sharing! Our church curriculum talks about meal-time, drive-time, bath-time, bed-time, – like you said, those teachable moments during the day! What better way to teach our kids that God is Lord of all, than to invite Him into our daily moments.

    • February 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

      Virginia,
      Oh, if I could only remember to seize all those moments. Thank God for His grace and gentle reminders.

  10. February 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    So true- even when we think we don’t have time in our days, we really do. Especially in the car…no one can get distracted by toys and such. These are great ideas to help us be better mothers!

  11. February 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    These are fantastic ideas! Thanks so much for sharing them at Shine on Fridays!!

  12. February 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    I like the idea of praying my children awake! Thanks for sharing.

    http://www.notimefortea.com

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