You make sure your children clean their teeth before they go to bed, wash their hands before eating, straighten up their room at the end of the day, and pay meticulous attention to creating good manners – phew – training our children is demanding and time consuming!
Parents drive their children to gymnastics, hockey, ballet, football and other recreational activities. However, there is a problem among many Christian families; they simply cannot manage to introduce Family Devotions.
Let’s face it, everything is against us. Time is previous and all too often limited but it is do-able!
Preparing our children to go outside in the snow is commendable, applying sunscreen in hot weather is responsible, but that is not where it ends. Mums and Dads need to take great care in introducing a family alter – by that I mean a time, set aside solely to worship God.
Ephesians 5:15–16 warns:
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil
Teaching children how to be wise, with a biblical worldview is the very best thing you can do for them. Education is a priority but it is not more important than time set aside for God.
So, where you you start? If you are new to faith then you will probably struggle to teach them from the bible. If your children are very young I highly recommend that you start with a book called ‘Leading Little Ones to God’ by
Marian M. Schoolland.
You too will learn from these very simple bible lessons, our children adored this book.
If your children are older the begin reading a proverb or two and discuss the meaning with your children. Apply it to school, friendship, chores, attitudes and work ethics. Read through a gospel over a period of a month and bite the bullet and pray for your family – out loud! It may feel odd to begin with but it gets easier and you have to start somewhere!
If you have been a Christian for some time but have never had a time for family devotions, don’t lose heart, pray and ask the Lord to help you. Keep it short and very sweet. Make it enjoyable and thought provoking. I have seen some families that have turned their children off by lengthy prayers, bible reading and very little application, and I have also witnessed children delighting in family devotions. They join in with singing, plead to read the scriptures and love to pray.
Set a regular time that will work for your family. We have found that at the beginning of the day the children are ready to hear what God has to say to them for the day. We began this many years ago and now ages 16, 14 and 10 they naturally congregate in our family room at about 7:00am. One of us reads a passage of scripture and explains it. Everyone prays. It is compulsory. We determined this when they were very young for the following reasons:
*We should pray whether we feel like it or not.
*They will feel less inhibited when praying in prayer meetings.
*It cultivates a heart of gratitude – if they can find nothing to pray about they can give thanks to God for their breakfast, warm bed, pets, toys etc.
*They are delighted when God answers their personal prayers.
*They should be encouraged to pray for missionaries and persecuted Christians around the world, it allows them to see how fortunate they are.
As you grow in biblical understanding and faith you will be able to apply it to their lives. They will learn about lying, cheating, addictions, sex outside of marriage, being unequally yoked, diligence in their studies, working hard, being discreet, sharing, kindness, loyalty, perseverance, standing for truth and many many more biblical principles.
Your children need to be prepared to go into this world ready to give a reason for the hope that is in them. They need guidance in seeing the world from God’s perspective. That won’t happen if you rely on Sunday School one hour per week, this responsibility has been entrusted to you as a parent. God will help you…
It doesn’t matter where you start, just start.
Please feel free to ask any questions. I don’t claim to know all of the answers but I may be able to advise how different seasons and ages of our children have challenged and transformed our family devotions.
May the Lord bless you as you faithfully train up your children.