I have expressed many times the challenge to fathers to lead their family in daily family devotions. I know this is a challenge and I also know that most men in the church are not doing this. There are many reasons men are intimidated when it comes to taking on the spiritual leadership of their homes, but I do not want to get into that at this time. What I want to do is to share with you, men, how I lead our family devotional time each evening in hopes that it will encourage you to lead your family as well.
When we began doing family devotions it was awkward and challenging. I was uncomfortable, not communicating well with the kids, and they were not enjoying sitting for long. I decided we would read through a book of the Bible. We would gather together after dinner was cleaned up and read a passage. I would ask questions, trying to be practical and help them understand how the passage related to their lives. It was challenging, but we were struggling through it together. We would follow that time with prayer, and then we would work on a passage we were memorizing together.
This process often took an hour, which we learned was way too much. I wanted this to be a priority, but I needed to be more realistic. I needed to find ways to allow the kids to be more engaged, have more fun, and shorten our time without sacrificing what I wanted to accomplish. I needed to be creative, which is not my strong suite.
Jill helped a lot with all of this, giving me ideas, helping me communicate with the kids and encouraging their participation. We began to act out passages, being silly at times, trying to make the time together more interesting. Over the winter, when it got dark early, we were reading through Mark and came to the transfiguration. To try to capture the light shining from Jesus we turned off the lights and put on silly glasses that were painted with glow-in-the-dark paint. Is this what Jesus looked like? They knew it wasn’t, but they remember that night, and they remember that story. We are currently reading through Genesis and are in the middle of the Joseph story. Different children are reading the different characters in the story. When Pharaoh chooses Joseph to lead the nation he places his ring, a robe, and a gold chain on Joseph. So the person reading Pharaoh’s lines did the same to the person reading Joseph’s lines. She put a ring, a multi-colored towel, and a…oops, I forgot to get a necklace…oh well, on her brother. They remember the story.
When we pray, each child has a journal. The ones who cannot read have a picture journal. Each one has a day and they lead us in prayer. We are also able to give them updates on how God is answering prayer, which encourages them in their prayers all the more. It is a powerful lesson for all of us, and a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness.
We also do Scripture memory. We have changed the way we do this recently, and it is working great. I found a simple Scripture memory system that I introduced to the family that takes just a few minutes each day and allows passages to stick quickly and be repeated often. To learn more about that you can go to http://simplycharlottemason.com/timesavers/memorysys/.
You may read this article and still be intimidated. I want to encourage you to simply try something. You don’t have to do all of this. Just start with something. We now take about 40 minutes for all of this. It is an investment that pays dividends every day. Our children are hiding God’s Word in their hearts, they are experiencing God answering prayer, and they are learning how the Scriptures apply to their lives. These are critical life-long lessons for all of us. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6). Start training, men.