When we first got married, we didn’t do devotions together because we were both in Bible college and all we did was read our Bible. After college, he worked two jobs when our oldest was born and most of the time we saw each other was in passing.
Fast forward a few more years and he now worked an overnight shift. He came home exhausted in the mornings and headed straight to bed. When he got up, most days he was like a walking zombie. And if he didn’t sleep, it was much worse.
I did my best to make the most of our few hours together as a family in the evenings. With young children we spent most of our time chasing them, playing with them and changing diapers. Honestly, family devotions were the furthest from our mind.
Now, those are just excuses—and poor excuses at that, but it’s the truth. This might come as a shock to some people, but even ministers and their families struggle to do family devotions. This coming year, we are restructuring our days and adding a daily family devotion time.
5 Strategies to Make Family Devotions a Priority
How can you make family devotions a priority so they become a habit? First, getting started is the hardest part, but from my years homeschooling and the few articles I’ve read, I have gleaned several things that I think will help all us in this journey.
Prayer is a vital part of family devotions. But, I’m not talking about the prayer time during your devotions. I’m talking about praying in preparation for your family devotion time.
Pray with your spouse about what how and what you want these family devotions to be about and what they will look like. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom and guidance as you seek to honor him in your home and with these family devotions.
2. Set rules and guidelines
Before you begin, make sure you have rules and guidelines in place. For instance, some example of guidelines you might use include…
- No talking during Scripture readings.
- No talking unless you have the “talking stick” (which is a great idea with young kids).
- Everyone will have a turn to talk at the appropriate time.
- No playing with toys during devotions.
- Everyone must sit together (wherever you decide have your time together).
- No whining (this is a big one in our house).
These are just examples. Determine what guidelines work best for your family!
3. Find a family devotional book
While my husband is a big proponent of reading two chapters a day from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament, I think starting with a family devotion book is helpful for most families.
Family Devotionals usually give a verse to read, a short story and an application. It’s a great way to get started with your family devotions. And as you all get more comfortable and the kids get older, your style and format may change. You may go to more of a reading/discussion time when your kids are old enough to comprehend and participate.
Be sure to check out the family devotional resources available from Luke and Trisha here at Intoxicated on Life. These are great devotionals to use with kids and teens of all ages.
4. Be flexible
Know when you start these devo times, it may be met with some resistance, especially if you have young children. Gently remind them of the rules and guidelines and explain to them why you believe this time is important.
Little ones may need some small activity to do while you’re reading, so get some Bible story coloring pages for them. Even better if they relate to what you’re reading!
5. Be consistent
Sometimes life happens and you can’t have your devotions at the originally set time. This is understandable. Do your best to have it during another part of your day.
Don’t beat yourself up over one missed day, it happens. Pick it back up the next day and keep going. If your spouse gets called away, do your best to still have family devotion time, even if you’re down a member. The kids will remember this consistency and appreciate the time together.
Do you have a family devotion time? If not, why not make it a New Year’s resolution to make that change in your family?