Have you ever felt guilty for not doing a better, more consistent job of leading devotions with your family? Sure you have. Gathering the wife and young ones around the kitchen table, or the living room floor, seems like such a noble “spiritual leader” kinda thing to do. And, I’m not saying it isn’t – I’m just saying that most of us don’t make the time to do it, and/or our kids aren’t quite the little patient, “be still and listen cuz daddy’s gonna teach us now” brood we would love them to be – and honestly, most of us just feel down right inadequate to lead them effectively time after time.
What if we just scrapped the whole idea? Where did this idea even come from? Who invented these family devotions anyway? Was it the same guy who created “quiet time”? Should I feel guilty for wondering where these religious activities came from, and the associated guilt/shame if I don’t do them well? Well. I have come to a fabulously freeing conclusion regarding quiet time – and even wrote a short book about it…but I’ll have to address that another time.
So, what did family devotions look like in the Bible? We all know we are responsible to teach our children, but let me draw attention to something I think many (me included) might miss. The verses in Deut. 4 & 11 refer to teaching our children specific things and in specific ways, that I find very revealing:
4:9 – Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
4:10 – Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”
11:19 – Teach them (my words) to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Here’s the point – We are indeed exhorted to teach God’s Word to our children. We are also told by Jesus to “make disciples (followers)”, which would most importantly include the children living under our roof. What is interesting to me is this…
We are also told to teach them “the things we have seen”, and to do all this “as we are sitting at home, walking along the road, at night and in the morning” – in other words – all the time. We are to be a living, breathing, walking, talking testimonial of the things God is saying and doing in our lives every day. If we woke up talking about God’s Word and what He is speaking to us, and then came home with God stories of how we saw Him at work in our lives all throughout the day – there would be no real need to call a family meeting and dole out a lesson created by someone else about God and what He does in their lives.
If we couldn’t stop speaking about what we are witnessing every day as we walk intimately with Jesus, we would never have to wrestle through devotion time every again. Our children would see what a Christ follower really looks like. They would marvel at His wisdom and sovereign direction, be strengthened by stories of answered prayer, and be drawn to the God Who walks and talks with their dad.
How cool would that be? Please keep holding family devos until that happens. Then, just do what He tells you to do.
Keep up the good work guys,