Thursday, July 26, 2012

Family Devotions

The Bible isn't just for church

A good friend at work told me a story one day that shocked me.  She said that in her experience (growing up in the Midwest), "only 'crazy Bible people' took their Bibles to church"!  So when her husband grabbed his Bible to go to church on their first Sunday as a married couple, she was embarrassed.   But when she began her first Bible study and learned what was in her dust-covered Bible, she quickly decided she wanted to be 'a crazy Bible gal'!

I have read the Bible often for most of my Christian life.  I have become more passionate about the Bible the more I read it and learn about who God is and what He has done!  
So, as a parent, I wanted to instill this passion for God's Word into my children as early as possible.  My prayer is that they will love the Bible and be eager to read it daily.  But as you know, that can be challenging to implement.  How do we nurture this into kids that are used to everything being in digital format with the goal to entertain rather than teach and nurture?  

Doing is more important than how

My husband & I have decided that the phrases “nailing jello to the wall” accurately described the chaos that used occur the minute we started family devotions before bedtime (we have 4 kids between ages of 2 & 9)!!  But a dear friend once told me that "it is so important that you have family devotions, it doesn't matter what it looks like or how long it lasts!  God can do something life-changing in 5 minutes if we simply give him those 5 minutes."  

Soooo. . . we started doing them at the dinner table while they had more energy/attention, were eating & could interrupt less b/c their mouths were full but their ears were captive!! {wink, wink} It has been working GREAT! We have been using a family devotions book that has cool stories to illustrate the Scripture for the day.  We are trying to memorize Bible verses but with a new verse each night, that isn’t working.  But I strongly believe that memorizing Scripture is important! What is a parent to do?

I prayed.  And God answered!  I found a  FREE kid's Bible study curriculum on a homeschool site I really like. {no, I don't home school right now but she has awesome stuff}  So this summer I started using the week-long Bible study she calls 'character study' (obedience, self-control, honesty, arguing, etc).  There is a memory verse for each study with 4 days of illustrations & discussion questions on that topic.  

The two things God spoke to me was the importance of them finding the Scriptures in their own Bibles.  And then letting them take turns reading aloud. {this momma cried when my kindergartener was learning to read by reading in her Bible}  Now, instead of my kids rolling their eyes when we announce it is Bible study time, they get excited! AND  I am seeing the power of God's Word in the practical ways that we do life together!!  

How often?

Life is busy for all of us.  So if we don't make Bible reading and prayer a priority, it just won't happen.   But everyday feels like a set-up for failure.  If you aren't doing family devotions at all right now, then how about starting with one day/week!  If you designate which day that will be, you are more likely to do it.   After working on this for several years now, we have found that 4 days a week seems to work best for our evening devotions.    And  the goal for our new morning Bible Study is Monday - Thursdays before we rush out the door to school and work!!  But we are on a learning curve of balancing time & attention in the mornings.  

So what about you?  How do you do family devotionals?  Do you do them daily?  Morning?  Before bed?  Have you spent time memorizing God’s word together with your kids?  What is your advice for me?  Join the conversation in the comment section below.


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