These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
When we found out we were pregnant with Sweet Pea, JT and I immediately began discussing how we would instill our Christian values within our children. We wanted them to realize that Bible reading and prayer were not just Sunday activities, but rather daily activities necessary to help them grow closer to God. We soon realized that one way to make sure our children received constant spiritual nourishment was by involving them in a period of daily family devotions.
Morning devotions have now become an enjoyable part of the girls’ daily routine. On the weekdays, I lead morning devotions because JT has to be at work early. However once the weekend hits, JT takes the helm, leading morning devotion on Saturday and spearheading Family Time on Sunday afternoons.
The girls’ daily devotion begins a calendar activity. This allows them to practice counting, recite the days of the week in order, and investigate the day’s weather. After that, we praise God for the new day by singing This is the Day. The song is followed by prayer. During prayer time, we ask both girls to tell at least one thing they are thankful for and ask for whom they would like to pray.
We have found prayer time to be extremely important as it outlines a pattern for prayer and allows the girls to be active participants in prayer. JT and I are constantly amazed at how well the girls pray. Even little Sugar Plum can verbalize prayers that are relatively easy to comprehend.
After prayer, we read a story from one of the many children’s Bibles we have been given. Children’s Bibles are usually small so we end up using more than one each year. Our current favorites include A Child’s First Bible, The Read and Learn Bible , A Little Child’s First Bible, and The Day by Day Begin-To-Read Bible. Once the Bible story has been read, the girls color a corresponding from Shirley Dobson’s My Bible Coloring Book. The coloring pages are not too detailed and provide wonderful illustrations for all major Bible stories from Genesis to Revelation.
Whether your children are young or old, family devotions are a fantastic addition to any child’s day. This special time will enrich the lives of all family members, draw all members closer to God, and strengthen the bonds of the entire family. Keep in mind your devotions do not have to be done the same way our devotions are done. We have tailored our family devotional time to meet the ages, interests, and needs of our girls. In fact, my friend Monica prefers evening devotions, so she has included a devotional period as part of her daughter’s bedtime routine. We have created devotions that best suit our family’s needs and we encourage you to do the same.
If you’re unsure of where to begin, consider what we did. Simply incorporate a weekly time of devotion. The daily family devotional time we enjoy today began as a weekly Family Time activity on Sunday afternoons. Once we discovered how much information the girls retained and saw how much they enjoyed the games, activities, and demonstrations included in Family Time, JT and I decided to add a daily devotion. When beginning family devotions, JT and I think it’s best to begin slowly, see how your children respond, and tweak activities to meet their needs.
Perhaps you’re unsure of where to begin or you would like to improve your current devotions. JT and I highly recommend the Family Activity resources and parenting seminars listed at The National Center for Biblical Parenting. We use their Family Time Activity books for our weekly Family Time lessons and have never been disappointed.
Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of children. Thank You for the love, laughter, and exuberance they bring to our lives. Forgive us for the times that we may be harsh and impatient with our children. Forgive us for the times when we forget or are too busy to pray and for the times we neglect to read our Bibles. Give us hearts full of the fruit of the Spirit so that we may treat our children with love. Help us to lead active prayer lives and engage in personal Bible study so that we may set good examples for our children and teach them about You.
Food For Thought:
- Is family devotion a part of your family’s life? Why or why not?
- If you already do family devotion, what can be done to improve this valuable time together?
- If you do not have family devotion, what barriers are preventing you from doing so? How can you and your family overcome those barriers?
- Besides incorporating a period of family devotion, how else can we “impress” the truths of God in our children’s hearts?
© 2008 – 2014, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.