by Brian Haynes
Family Devotion is an important aspect of leading our families spiritually. When we first began to think about the path of legacy milestones at Kingsland, we determined that parents could lead family devotions at home and in that way intentionally teach their children truth leading them toward the next milestone. We defined family devotions as an intentional time each week where parents gathered the family for age appropriate Bible talk and prayer. We said make it fun, make it age appropriate, and protect the time. We gave the impression that this always had to happen in the family room and it had to work a certain way.
Over the years I have discovered something. Family devotions are more like snowflakes than cookies. You see a cookie is often shaped by a cookie cutter. They all look the same because they were fashioned by the same pattern…the cookie cutter. Snowflakes, however, are beautifully unique. No two are alike. The same is true of family and of family devotion. We are finding at our house family devotion has become more of an intentional faith talk. We use a walk to the park, a trip to starbucks, dinner outside in the back yard, or some other together time to intentionally speak of the faith and lead our children down the path of legacy milestones. For us, this format is working much better than the living room, just before bed on Sunday evening.
To all of you who have teenagers, or kids with special needs, or just find the living room format a little boring sometimes, feel free to move from family devotions to faith talks. If family devotion in the living room works for you, rock on! The point is, you are the leader of your family. You know your family better than anyone. Find a format that works for you. As always, we will keep providing resources, ideas, and loads of opportunities to equip you to lead your children spiritually along the path of legacy milestones. In our effort to equip the generations one home at a time, join me in a commitment. Commit to have an intentional faith talk or family devotion every week. In this way you will take one more step down the path of legacy milestones.
For more information on family devotions visit us in the Legacy Resource Center on Sunday or Wednesday or go to http://www.legacymilestones.com
5 thoughts on “Family Devotions are like snowflakes…”
Having two small boys and a newborn, the thought of “family devotion night” was never all that appealing to me. With school, church, extra-curricular activities, and two working parents there is so little extra time. It is so hard to get the boys to sit down, sit still, pay attention, contribute to the conversation or topic at hand, etc. without any fighting, arguing or discipline. (you know)
Not having family devotion night was always something that made me feel a little inferior as a Christian parent trying to bring up kids the way I thought I should. It is nice to know that I am not the only one that does not have that structured time, but a lifestyle rather, where I try to teach my kids by the way I live and the conversations we have. I think it is important for our kids to see life lessons and not just “a lesson” we have prepared for them. You have to get it in any chance you get.
One thing I really like doing is asking THEM questions. It is a great conversation starter with a 3- and a 7-year-old to ask why they think that’s that way, or how they think something happened, or what if Jesus were here, what do YOU think HE would think about that.
I agree with Matt that this is an “all the time” activity! Doing what I would call “Family Worship” can and should be once a week… but it’s the everyday work of raising a child that is going to make an impact!
Everytime our kids ask questions about the world, are dealing with joy or grief, or even watching television or playing games these are opportunities for us to speak God’s Truth into their lives.
If we do it during “family devotions” and the rest of the week put God in a box, that doesn’t help any more than doing the “church thing.”
I am praying that God does a work in our generation to make us so hungry for His holiness that it permeates every part of our lives! The lives of our children depend on it.
Because we have young children, we’ve been having “faith talks” without naming it. It is not a formal thing. For us, just getting a 6, 4 and 1 year old to sit in one place is difficult. Thanks for the reminder that, like a snowflake is unique, we can talk about things anywhere, as we walk, sit, rest, eat, play… any time we are together. Formal is good for some, but with my young children, “as we go” works into our lives.
Family devotions are definately evolving in our home as well! The “formal approach” worked for my 7 year old, but did little to engage an active 4 year old and my 6 year old could not seem to sit still and listen.
Then we tried something new. All three kids sit together every morning at the bar and eat their breakfast. We started putting our devotional (currently we are enjoying Step into the Bible by Ruth Graham) right on our counter where the kids eat. It is a visual reminder to me to pick it up and read it. If I forget, usually Cooper reminds me to read it! Since the kids are eating while I am reading, they are more focused on what I am saying and they are much more attentive!
We read the passage, ask the questions printed on the next page and pray. This gives us the opportunity to pray for them before they leave for school each day and to pray that they will be a blessing to their teacher, their friends and all the people they come in contact with that day.
We don’t do it every morning, but we do it often and I know God will bless our efforts to train our children in the way that they should go.
Well said, Brian. A set time once a week in the living room with your favorite theological work for toddlers has actually turned out to be one of the worst ways to do it for us. It also does not fit the Deuteronomy 6 model.
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 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. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
In fact limiting your faith talk/family devotion to a weekly activity doesn’t fit the Deut. 6 model either. Deut. 6 is a lifestyle. A weekly 30 minute devotion interrupted by spankings, hurt feelings and hot tempers will never be enough to counter what the world is pumping into kids today. Not that we do not do a structured devotion. We have found a dinner time discussion several days a week works well. We are currently going through Kenneth Taylor’s Devotions for the Children’s Hour. It is an outstanding book that teaches kids some deep spiritual truths in a fun way.
Brian is right on that we have to tailor our spiritual training for our own families. My point is that dropping a snowflake on the kids may touch a child, but leave little impact. We need a blizzard to really see a difference.