My husband and I love our kids’ schools and have a high degree of trust for the education they are getting there. HOWEVER, we also believe the ultimate responsibility for childhood development falls on the parents. God gave us these little humans and he’s very clear about the fact that someday we will be held accountable to how we raised them. With that in mind, one of the ways we personally invest in their spiritual growth and development is with a daily family devotion.
Today I’m going to share a beginner’s guide to family devotions so that you can get a practical sense of where it could apply to your unique family situation. (As always – I’m not promising to have all the answers BUT I do guarantee that this guide is written with real, live, messy experience backing it.)
What is a Family Devotion?
The word “devotion” in this context (according to Merriam-Webster) means an act of prayer or private worship or a religious exercise or practice other than the regular corporate worship of a congregation.
So, in Messy Worship lingo, a family devotion is essentially a homemade micro church service. It’s a time to pause and intentionally incorporate God into your day as a family. Family devotions are important because a) they teach kids to prioritize God in daily life and b) they open the door for more authentic, applicable conversation about faith and so many other big topics.
God says in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Family devotions are a simple, practical way to live out these verses.
Family Devotion Format
There are no official rules for how it needs to look or what elements must be included as long as you and your family are all able to worship God at their own level [together]. Family devotions are completely customizable based on how you and your family learn best. Here’s some ideas to get your wheels turning:
- Nature Walk Devotion: Take your family on a hike on a county park trail or even just down the block in your neighborhood. While walking, pause to point out different examples of God’s amazing creation in creatures, plants and other nature-related observations. Thank God for each of the unique colors, structures, systems, personalities, etc.
- Read/Discussion Devotion: Buy a family devotion book or use one from a Bible App reading plan. Carve out a 15-minute chunk of your day to sit and read the story/lesson and answer the discussion questions that come with it. Some of my favorites that I highly recommend are Little Visits with God by Allan Hart Janhsmann and Martin P. Simon, Dig In by Linda Buxa or Indescribable: A 7-Day Journey About God and Science on the YouVersion App.
- Podcast Devotion: If driving to/from activities is a big part of your family’s busy life, this is a fantastic way to integrate a family devotion time. Our family loves the Adventures in Odyssey Club. It’s a series of stories about a fictional community called Odyssey and the daily quirky adventures that challenge the faith of the people who live there. I listened to the audio cassette tape versions when I was little on every family vacation. SOOOO GOOD!!!!! (AGH!! Cassette tapes?! I’m so old!!!!)
Play around with different resources and formats until you find something that really clicks with your family dynamic. Don’t be shy about asking respected friends/pastor/teachers what they recommend.
Don’t Forget Prayer
The best way to wrap up a family devotion is with prayer. Encourage your kids to try leading the prayer – God is not just Mom & Dad’s God, he’s little Jimmy’s God & little Sammo’s God & little Evie’s God, too. They need to learn how to have authentic, worshipful 1:1 conversations with their God. If you need help getting them started, check out this kid-friendly prayer prompt called the 5-Finger Prayers.