In raising our 14 kids I can’t say we’ve always been consistent in family devotion times. It actually got much harder as the kids got older and had so many out of the home commitments. But before we got to that stage, we had fairly consistent family Bible times.
In the next couple of posts I plan to share some of the things we did that proved successful but not overwhelming to accomplish, as well as some of the resources we developed that can be picked up and used without prep time on Dad or Mom’s part. Rick was a dad who had a physically intensive job so he would come home very tired and not at his creative best, so something that did not require a lot of preparation was important for that reason. Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation.
Family Devotions don’t have to be in-depth, or extremely time-consuming. They don’t have to follow a particular formula, and you don’t have to have visuals and activities planned out to accompany your time together in order to “make it work”. What is important, really, is that you try to set aside some time to simply lead your family in listening to God’s word and discussing it together. If you want to do more, great! But, if you cannot- don’t lose heart! Do what you can. Little is MUCH when God is in it!
Here are Easy Ideas and Resources for Family Devotions:
- READ PROVERBS TOGETHER- Proverbs has ALWAYS been one of our favorite books of the Bible to use to teach our kids how to practically live their lives. It was written from a father (Solomon) to his son. There are 31 days in most months and 31 Proverbs. Hence, Rick would begin reading the Proverb that corresponded to the day of the month. If it was the 15th of the month, he’d begin reading Proverbs 15. He would tell the kids to raise their hands (only because we had so many) and feel free to stop him and ask questions as he read. This was a great way for him to explain what the Scripture was teaching. Often, he’d make up an “example story” to explain the concept being taught. The kids loved doing this. So much so, that when he found time, he actually recorded the book of Proverbs, explaining difficult words and telling example stories just as he did in family devotions. The kids then could listen each night as they went to sleep or at naptime. What we began to discover is that as time went on, the kids became incredibly familiar with the book of Proverbs- so much so that when Rick began a verse, they could finish it! Without even trying, they came to be able to memorize large portions of this practical book. As they grew to adulthood, they testified that often when faced with daily temptations, the Word they had so often listened to would come back to them providing guidance in daily decisions. Wow!! That has motivated Rick to record other portions of the Word in the same way.
- READ PSALMS TOGETHER- In much the same way, we would read through Psalms. There are 150 psalms, so if you read 5 per day, you cover them all in a month. Again, let the kids stop you and ask questions. It has been said, that the whole range of human emotion is expressed in the Book of Psalms along with insights into how to handle those emotions. What a powerful book to teach to your kids.
- ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION- if you are just unsure as to how to answer the kids questions, consider listening to Uncle Rick Bible audios as a family, pausing to discuss when necessary. It will serve to train you as a parent to think how to explain concepts to the kids, and you can learn together.
- BEGIN STUDYING CHARACTER QUALITIES which are actually just the attributes of Christ that we are to emulate by God’s help in our lives. Feel free to use our handout, “45 Character Qualities to Teach Your Children.” We will offer this handout free for the next week, so feel free to download it and begin using it with your kids. This list offers simple kid-friendly definitions and verses for each. Consider studying a character quality per week or one every two weeks, whatever works best for you. If you need more assistance in teaching character, we can help- in fact that’s what Character Concepts is all about. We offer 9 levels of Character studies that are appropriate for individual study, but also excellent for families to go through together.
- Read through a passage of the New Testament. Ask the kids to listen attentively to see if they can point out character qualities of Jesus (he’s our perfect example), then other people in the passage. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the kids catch onto this. Read through the whole book of one of the gospels doing this. Take as long as you need. Stop each night before they tire of it and they’ll be excited to continue the next night. Start noticing people in church or community and pointing out character they demonstrate. Be treasure hunters for godly character!
So much more to share…. Next time…..