Passing a love for the Lord on to children can seem an overwhelming task. As we’ve talked about in a few previous posts, doing this starts with a commitment to follow the Lord ourselves, and this spills over into our daily routines, including attending church. (Click here and here to read these entries.)
Today I want to highlight an area that can be used within the home: Family Devotions. Many people may feel inadequate and unequipped by this task. My goal for this week is to show you the why’s of Family Devotions, followed by the how’s, and conclude with a few practical examples of this special family time.
To being, why is it so important to spend time together as a family reading, praying, and discussing God? Throughout Scripture God commands parents to teach and disciple their children. This is not an option for us.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Prov. 22:6
“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Prov. 31:26
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates…” Deut. 11:18-20
In This Momentary Marriage, Piper states, “Marriage is for making children into disciples of Jesus. The purpose of marriage is not merely to add more bodies to the planet. The point is to increase the number of followers of Jesus on the planet.” God gave parents the ability to fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) within their homes. This is a command, a mission, and privilege. We parents should commit to be wise stewards of the time we have with our families to use it to point them to Christ. Heading to church a few times a week is an important practice for families to do together; but two to four hours a week is simply not an adequate amount of exposure to things of the Lord. Here are a few reasons I see family devotions as crucial to the spiritual well being of the home:
- Children need to experience God within the security of their homes, with their heroes (mom and dad) showing His majesty. Kids have not had years of experience in Bible knowledge with a maturity like you have (no matter what stage of Christian life you are in).
- Children need have to gospel presented to them continually. Remember that faith comes through hearing, and hearing from the word of God ( Rom. 10:17). If our ultimate goal is to have children who KNOW God, we must consistently put Him in front of them. Children need to hear the good news of Jesus being born, living, dieing, and rising for them. NEVER cease to tell this good news. “…so is my word that goes from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Is. 55:11)
- Children need to learn about God. From Jonah to Moses to Jesus to Paul, where the world came from to where we go when we die, children are inquisitive sponges who soak up stories and wisdom. They are small in size, but they have huge hearts and minds that aren’t afraid to think deeply. What better avenue to guide their thinking than a family time of Bible study together?
- Children need to draw strength from God. They need to see that Mom and Dad don’t have everything together and go to God when direction is needed. If God is the leader of your home, let your kids see that!
- Children need to take time to celebrate God’s blessings. Whether it’s a good grade on a test, the corn dog they had for supper, or the new clothes God provided, children should see God get the glory for daily blessings.
- Children need to enhance family unity by sharing joy, thankfulness, fears, and struggles. Openness within a family about individual challenges will not only prepare children for adulthood, but sanctify them as they learn to biblically handle problems and real life situations.
Now that you have some reasons why family devotions are important, talk with your spouse about starting them in your home. Come back tomorrow to see some practical ways to begin this special family time.