A game plan for family devotionals belongs on any list of Christian parenting resources!
Once you have made the decision to have family devotionals, the next thing to do is to plan them.
Relax! The plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Family devotionals can be short and simple. In fact, it’s best to keep them short and simple. Here are some suggested components to a family devotional time:
1. Pick a designated time. Have each family member block that time open.
2. Have someone (a parent or older child at first) commit the time to God with an opening prayer.
3. Read some Scripture together. (The Gospels are a good place to start. Some of the parables in the Gospel of Luke are especially good.)
4. Talk about what the verse or passage means and how it can apply to our lives.
5. Work on a memory verse together.
6. Read a page from a children’s devotional. Look up and read related Bible verses.
7. Have a short time of worship. If someone in your family plays the piano or guitar, draft them for service. If there are no musicians in your family, though, don’t let that stop you. Singing without instruments can be great fun and very meaningful. Another idea is to sing along with worship CDs.
8. Have a time of prayer. Use the acronym, ACTS, as a guide:
A — Adoration (to God for who He is).
C — Confession (of sin).
T — Thanksgiving (for what God has done for you).
S — Supplication (ask God for specific needs).
9. Close with a fun activity. Options include:
• Play “What Bible character am I thinking of?” (Give clues.)
• Play the Bible version of “Trivial Pursuit.”
• Do some Bible crossword puzzles.
• Tell some religious jokes.
10. Optional: Be open to special projects that you can participate in as a family. For example:
• You might occasionally have family members draw names out of a hat to do a secret nice deed for a family member that week.
• You might decide as a family to support a missionary organization that feeds children. If you do this you can put the picture of the child on the refrigerator door and have regular prayer time for him or her during your devotionals. We’ve done this in our family.
• Consider going to a Christian concert together. This can be a great time of bonding.
• Go together to special programs offered at your church, or even other churches in your area.
• You might on occasion view a Christian video together. There are lots of good choices.
• Around Christmas time you might go shopping as a family for a bag of groceries and secretly put it on the doorstop of a needy family.
• You might participate as a family in helping an older couple paint their house or clean out their garage.
These are just a few of the kinds of special things you can do as a family to enhance your family sense of devotion to Christ.
As you start having family devotionals, keep in mind that it may take a few times to see what works best for your family. If your two-year-old toddles off down the hall, or your ten-year-old refuses to sing, don’t become discouraged or (worse) angry. Remember that there are spiritual forces at work here to thwart your enthusiasm. Adjust the “what” and the “how long” as needed till you find what works best for your family. Hang in there. God will bless your efforts and time spent gathered in His name!
Keep Prayer Journals
One last thing. I highly recommend that you give everyone in the family a little notebook to record prayer requests. Put both an “Ask” column and an “Answer” column in it. This is a good way to keep track of God’s answers to your prayers.
There are two key benefits to this.
• First, it keeps your family prayers organized.
• Second, it helps kids see that God really does answer prayers. This is an important lesson that will stick with them throughout life. A record of answered prayers is a great faith-builder.
— Dr. Ron Rhodes