Do you have a family devotional time?
With the new year talk of “starting over” and making resolutions, January is a great time to start doing daily devotionals as a family. You might already be doing this, and if so, awesome! If you’ve never tried it but have wanted to, family devotionals can be as simple as saying prayers together. You can add new elements as the kids get older, like reading a scripture and discussing how it applies to your lives. Each family is different, and no one way is perfect, but you will soon figure out what works best for your children’s ages, personalities, and attention spans.
People have asked me how our family does daily devotionals, and I thought I would share our experience with you. And in the spirit of keeping it real, this is what it usually looks like when our family has “devo time”:
As you can see, it can be filled with noise, distractions and rowdiness, but that doesn’t stop us. Since our oldest, Lucy, was a baby, we have read from a children’s Bible or devotional book, said prayers, and sung songs together a few minutes before bed. Our “devos” are never more than 5 minutes long. We have nights when it seems like God is at work in their hearts, and we have nights when the whole thing feels like a wash. But we keep on doing it, because we trust that more is happening in their hearts than we can see, and because our kids really miss it when we don’t. In fact, our son Joel usually won’t go to sleep happy unless we’ve at least sung our evening devotional song together.
Here are some devotional books/Bibles for families that I recommend or have used:
- The Jesus Storybook Bible – Sally Lloyd-Jones
- The Beginner’s Bible – Kelly Pulley
- Long Story Short – Marty Machowski – This one is great for kids 5 and up, especially upper elementary.
- I Will Follow Jesus – Judah & Chelsea Smith (perfect for 3-5 year olds)
- One Year Book of Devotions for Preschoolers – Crystal Bowman (this one was gifted to us from San Pedro when our son Henry was born, and we used it so much the pages started falling out)
- Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids – Sarah Young
- 365 Very Veggie Devos for Boys (this Veggie Tales one had the cover ripped off pretty quickly and therefore our daughter never knew it was for boys; that said, there are countless Veggie Tales devo books out there)
This post lists even more resources. Give it a look! A simple search on Pinterest or Amazon will lead you to myriad others. Don’t be overwhelmed; just pick one and go with it. Then try another. And another. The important thing to remember is, God will honor whatever effort you put into family devotions. If one thing doesn’t work, try something else. It’ll be a routine for your family in no time. I am available if you need any help finding a good devo, or if you just want to talk or pray together. Blessings to you all as you establish a good family devotional routine!
This article was originally published in the January 2016 issue of the Rock.