Family devotional time is practiced in many Christian homes. It usually consists of a block of time set aside for Bible reading, a Bible story, a sharing time, and prayer on a regular basis. 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. Family devotions further supplements and reinforces the spiritual learning that children get from their PACES.
FIVE SIMPLE BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES AND RULES FOR SPIRITUALLY NURTURING YOUR CHILDREN USING DEVOTION TIME
1. PRINCIPLE #1: THE PARENTS MUST GROW SPIRITUALLY BEFORE THEY CAN EFFECTIVELY TEACH THEIR CHILDREN 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.”
2. PRINCIPLE #2 – THE PARENTS MUST ESTABLISH GOD AS THE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IN THE HOME AND MAKE THIS A STANDARD FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.
Deut. 6:2-5 “That thou mightiest 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.”
3. PRINCIPLE #3 – THE PARENTS MUST TEACH THEIR CHILDREN GOD’S WORD REPEATEDLY AND AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY EVERY DAY.
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.”
4. PRINCIPLE #4 – THE PARENTS MUST TEACH THEIR CHILDREN THE REWARDS OF OBEDIENCE (BLESSINGS) AS WELL AS THE CONSEQUENCE OF DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD (DISCIPLINE). (Deut. 6:10-15)
Deut. 6:10-15 “And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.
5. PRINCIPLE #5 – PARENTS MUST INCULCATE IN THEIR CHILDREN THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S GRACE AS THE SOURCE OF ALL BLESSINGS IN LIFE. (Deut. 6:20-25).
Deut. 6:20-25 “0 And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you? Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: And the Lord shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.
And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.
No one deserves the blessings of God.
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR HOLDING EFFECTIVE FAMILY DEVOTIONS.
1. Establish a specific time, duration, and rules for your family devotions. Consider the age of the children. Ideally, 15 to 20 minutes will suffice.
2. Choose your own method. You can read a chapter from the Bible or read a Bible story. Learn the passage ahead of time and be prepared to discuss it.
3. Focus on one or two Biblical principles at a time and make simple applications of those principles.
4. Encourage your children to participate and ask questions. This allows them to think, analyze, and apply.
5. Stick to a routine for your devotion time but be flexible when an urgent or unusual situation comes up. Make time for God’s Word.
SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR FAMILY DEVOTIONS:
1. 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.
2. Teach them “What God is like.” Teach them about the character and the personality of God.
3. Teach them the concept of sin – the thoughts, words, and actions that violate God’s will, God’s Word and God’s plan. Teach them how to handle or recover from sin.
4. 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 are not earned or deserved.
5. Teach them the simple concept of prayer
a. Confession of sins to God– remove obstacles to fellowship with God
b. Thanksgiving – Appreciation of God and His grace
c. Requests for others
d. Requests for personal needs
DO’S FOR FAMILY DEVOTIONS
1. Do communicate with the children at their own level.
2. Do depend on the Holy Spirit to make your children understand divine truths.
3. Do make learning God and His word fun and exciting.
4. Do use stories to illustrate Bible truth or a principle that you want them to learn.
5. Do guide them in how to apply the lessons they have learned.
6. Do not use family devotions as a time to confront your children’s mistakes, sins and/or misdemeanors.
7. Do stick to a routine because it teaches children consistency, constancy and discipline.