A. Family devotional time is practiced in many Christian homes. It usually consists of a block of time set aside for Bible reading, Bible story, sharing time, and prayer on a regular basis.
B. Family devotions provide the greatest opportunity to teach our children the word of God at an age when their mind is receptive, curious and eager to learn.
C. Family devotions further supplement and reinforce the spiritual learning children get from their PACES.
II. 5 SIMPLE BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES AND RULES FOR SPIRITUALLY NURTURING YOUR CHILDREN USING DEVOTIONAL TIME (DEUTERONOMY CHAPTER 6).
- PRINCIPLE #1: THE PARENTS MUST GROW SPIRITUALLY BEFORE THEY CAN EFFECTIVELY TEACH THEIR CHILDREN THE SPIRITUAL THINGS. The parents must know and apply God’s word in their own lives before they can be effective in teaching their children. “You can’t teach what you don’t know.”
Deut. 6:1 “Now these are the commandments, the statutes and the judgements, which the LORD your God commanded [me-Moses] to teach you.”
- PRINCIPLE #2 – THE PARENTS MUST ESTABLISH GOD AS NUMBER 1 PRIORITY IN THE HOME AND MAKE THIS A STANDARD FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.
Deut. 6:2-5 “That thou mightest fear (love and respect) the LORD thy God, to keep all His statutes and his commandments…thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life… The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
- PRINCIPLE #3 – THE PARENTS MUST TEACH THEIR CHILDREN GOD’S WORD REPEATEDLY AND AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY EVERYDAY.
Deut. 6:6, 7 “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
- PRINCIPLE#4 – THE PARENTS MUST TEACH THEIR CHILDREN THE REWARDS OF OBEDIENCE (BLESSINGS) AS WELL AS THE CONSEQUENCE OF DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD (DISCIPLINE). (Read Deut. 6:10-15)
- PRINCIPLE #5 – PARENTS MUST INCULCATE IN THEIR CHILDREN THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S GRACE AS THE SOURCE OF ALL BLESSINGS IN LIFE. ( 6:20-25). No one deserves the blessings of God.
III. PRACTICAL TIPS FOR HOLDING EFFECTIVE FAMILY DEVOTIONS.
- Establish a specific time, duration, and rules for your family devotions. Consider the age group of the children. Ideally, 15 to 20 minutes will suffice.
- Choose your own devotional method to use. You can read a chapter, read a Bible story, Learn the passage ahead of time and be prepared.
- Focus on one or two Biblical principles at a time and make simple applications of the principles learned.
- Encourage your children to participate and ask questions. This allows them to think, analyze, and apply.
- Stick to a routine for your devotional time but be flexible when an urgent or unusual situation comes up. Just find time to squeeze in your schedule as much as you can.
IV. SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR FAMILY DEVOTIONS:
- The story of the Cross and Salvation. The objective is to clearly present the Gospel and give your children the opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior. This is the first and most important lesson to present to them because it involves their salvation.
- Teach them “What God is like.” Teach them character and the personality of God.
- Teach them the concept of sin – the thoughts, words, and actions that violate God’s will, Gods, Word and God’s plan. Teach them how to handle or recover from sin.
- Teach them the concepts of God’s grace. They must learn that God treats everyone based on His grace and that all blessings from God is unearned or undeserved.
- Teach them the simple concept of prayer.
- Confession of sins to God– remove obstacles to fellowship with God
- Thanksgiving – Appreciation of God and His grace
- Praying for others
- Praying for personal needs
V. DO’S AND DON’T’S FOR FAMILY DEVOTIONS
- Do communicate with the children at their own level.
- Do depend on the Holy Spirit to make your children understand divine truths.
- Do make learning God and His word fun and exciting.
- Do use stories to illustrate Bible truth or principle that you want them to learn.
- Do guide them on how to apply the lessons they have learned.
Do not use family devotions as time to confront your children mistakes, sins and misdemeanors.
- Do stick to a routine because it teaches children consistency, constancy and discipline.