Establishing good habits draws all the members of the family into a closer relationship with God. Yet how can we keep devotional life from becoming just routine?
In our home, we have a lot of books. Generally, there is nothing neat and organized about them. They are kept on shelves in nearly every room. The most well-loved are accessed often and easy to find, given their horizontal position on shelves of vertical tomes.
We have books about history and parenting, about cooking and art. We have fiction books and non-fiction books, books with words and books with none. We have devotional guides, Biblical studies and a variety of Bibles with footnotes and without.
But how do we use the books we own to help our children not only learn to love reading, but also live a life of spiritual commitment? What can we do to teach a habit of daily devotions that is meaningful more than monotonous, honoring more than habitual?
A few ideas to try:
Shake it up. While the devotional materials you love may have served a worthy purpose last week/month/year, engaging with a new author and exploring a fresh perspective on faith can invigorate your family’s commitment to Christ. Having daily devotions does not need to be about finishing a book. It does need to be about learning more, connecting to truth and understanding who God is. These things are life-changing.
Have it all on hand. While our bookshelves are bursting with a myriad of masterpieces, we keep a small basket in plain sight in our living room that holds a wide variety of devotional materials. Our children know that this is the go-to spot for finding a read for the day. From time to time, we update the collection, remove little-used books and perhaps add something that stretches our understanding of what a daily devotional book might be.
Wondering where to get started? Here are a few of our favorites:
365 Family Devotions (Concordia)
One Year of Devotions for Kids (Tyndale)
Did You Know Devotions for Kids (Tyndale and a family fave!)
Josh McDowell’s One Year Book of Youth Devotions (Tyndale)
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones.
Duck Commander Devotional by Alan Robertson (and others)
Use trips to school to grow your kids. Are you a carpool parent? If not, do you find yourself taxiing the children from event to event? What if we used these minutes to talk with our children about the spiritual lessons we know they need? Unsure where to begin? Toss a daily devotional guide or book into your vehicle for just such a time. On our way to school, our children take turns reading from a set of devotions we like and we end the drive with a prayer shared.
Be a good example. Spending time with God’s Word daily can infuse our lives with hope, truth and wisdom. As parents, we need to model regular Bible reading. While devotional books can be helpful, there is power in reading directly from the Bible regularly. Helping our kids understand that they have the ability to connect to such powerful truth is a lesson that will last a lifetime.
Raising children in faith is an enormous task. Helping them to understand that our practiced faith must go deeper than habit will lead them to a life of spiritual commitment. To do this, we must offer them a wide variety of ways to learn about God and to get to know Him well. Daily devotions is a tool we can use to ignite a passion for faith in our families.
Let’s begin today.