In your faith journey, you’ve probably heard over and over again the importance of having a quiet time and doing family devotions with your kids.
One day I wondered if the term “devotional” is even in the Bible. Does the Bible ask us to have family devotions?
Are Family Devotions Even Biblical?
Well, the term “devoted/devote” is found in the Bible but not “devotional or devotions”. So let’s take a closer look at what is meant by this word.
The dictionary defines devotion as “love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.” We show devotion to God by how we spend our time and resources.
The word “devotions” is used to describe our practices of worship, prayer, spending time in God’s word. So when we take time out of our day to devote it to prayer, God’s word and worship can all be forms of our devotion.
But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to ministry of the word.Acts 6:4
So even though the word “devotions or devotional” is not found in the Bible we are called to devote ourselves to God and we do that by how we live our life.
What are Family Devotions?
You’ve probably guessed by now that the term “family devotions” is not found in the Bible but we are called to teach God’s word, train and disciple our children. Developing a family culture around the verse found in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 is our goal.
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise”
Family devotions look different for every family. Each family is unique in its dynamics and needs so it will vary how and when you teach God’s word to your children. But make no mistake to think it’s optional. Ephesians 6:4 tells us to “bring up our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”.
Research done by the Fuller Institute has shown that teens who continue on in their faith into their adult life had faith routines in their home and adults in their life that lived them out. Obviously, there is no full-proof “formula” but these two components amongst other things were strong predictors of a firm faith in teens.
So in the simplest of terms “family devotions” is an intentional time you gather as a family to point your children to God and build one another up through His Word. You can do that through prayer, worship, scripture memorization, and daily Bible reading.
Don’t let this definition put “family discipleship” in a box. I started this article with the verse in Deuteronomy which tells us to point our children to Christ throughout our whole day.
What Family Devotions Looks Like In Our Home
We are currently going through the book of Galatians as a family. We usually do this in the morning because this works for our schedule. My kids are digging into Galatians on their own and then on certain days we huddle as a family to discuss what God has been teaching us.
Our kids are older now so we can do this. We wouldn’t be able to do this 5 or 10 years ago simply because they weren’t developmentally capable.
As I think about my childhood, I didn’t like family devotional time. It was boring. But as an adult, I look back at that time and I’m so thankful my parents were faithful and they didn’t let our little attitudes deter them from teaching us God’s word.
Because my parents gave me the beautiful gift of introducing me to Jesus through His word and as I saw them live out their faith I want to do the same.
If we don’t teach them God’s Word, who will?
Family Devotional Reminders
- Family devotions are a wonderful thing to get started with your family but it’s good to remember that it is God who changes our hearts not a routine.
- Schedule it otherwise the “urgencies” of the day will take over.
- Family devotions can help keep you accountable to drawing close to God on an individual basis.
- All new routines take time so just because it’s not working the first few days doesn’t mean you need to give it up completely. Give it time and if needed make some adjustments.
- There are many methods for having a family devotional but only one message–His Word.
- Spending time in God’s word connects us to Him and changes us.
- Being in His presence reminds us of who He is and who we are in Him.
- As believers, we are called to teach our children God’s word but it doesn’t mean that our children will necessarily follow Him. We plant seeds but it is God who waters them in His time.
- Start simple.
- You better believe the enemy will bring about distractions, disruptions, discouragement and any other “dis” so don’t give up.
My husband and I are both “doers”. Though there is a place for “doing” in our faith journey it’s not what saves us. Nor do we earn our love by going to church, being good, doing devotions, or serving. We are loved and that’s why we serve and follow God.
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would help our children understand this message at a young age.
Heavenly Father, We come before you and ask for your mercy on our children. May our children know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that they may be filled with all the fullness of you our God. In your name, amen.based on Ephesians 3:19