My mom is a wonderful, godly woman that has devoted the past 26 years of her life to raising children and taking care of her home. (Click here to see some pictures of my mom and me.) She and my dad were both faithful to have consistent morning devotions with us every day during the school year. We often had them at night too!
Right now my mom still has three boys at home, ages 12, 16, and 19. Here are her responses to some family devotion questions. I’ve added a few notes about what I remember as well in italics.
How often does your family have devotions together? Describe a typical family devo time.
During the school year we have what we call “Wisdom Searches” [every morning before breakfast] where we read through the Proverbs for the day, each day of the month has a corresponding chapter in Proverbs, for ex., May 24th we read Proverbs 24. We divide up the chapter and each person reads a portion of the chapter. Each person then chooses a verse that has special meaning or emphasis for them out of that chapter, and we share it with the rest of the family. Then we have prayer requests and each take turns praying together. The past couple of years we have also read a chapter out of another book of the Bible and have covered quite a few books in that time! This summer we are reading together in the evening before our evening prayer.
How long do you spend per devotion?
About 30 minutes.
What type of resources do you use?
The Bible. When our girls were very young Russ read through a children’s story Bible every night. Another book we used was Little Visits With God. We also read through Pilgrim’s Progress as a family, also Hind’s Feet in High Places. There was also a time when we sang hymns together via piano and that was very special. We would choose one hymn each month to focus on learning. It added to the family worship time.
How do you make application to your kids?
When we discuss the verses, we ask questions pertaining to those verses or give life illustrations out of our experiences. I remember vividly a story my dad would tell every time we read Prov. 15 about a soft answering turning away wrath. My dad always told the same story, but it stuck! Even to this day I remember that illustration when I someone is angry with me.
Has your family changed the way you do devotions together as your kids have become older?
Yes, we used the little story Bibles before the kids could hardly sit up and now it is all straight Bible with everyone participating in the reading and praying. During school we also take turns with who is in charge of dividing out the verses [of each Proverb or chapter] and saying who goes first. We also tried to cover some of the Baptism catechism which at the time wasn’t very interesting but I think it made an impact down the road. I remember when my younger siblings were just learning to read, my mom would choose one verse that looked somewhat easy to read out of the chapter for the day for the just-learning-to-read child to read out loud. As we’d work our way around the family circle, we’d have to what patiently for the younger one to read their verse. It was good for us older ones to learn patience and good for the younger to feel a part of the family.
Any other words of wisdom to encourage other families?
Don’t get discouraged! And try to be consistent even if it feels like no one is listening. The younger ones will learn even if it seems over their heads. It is good if the father can be the leader in the devotions and if the mother organizes the time and children to be together.