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3 Tips For Meaningful Family Devotions

Family Bible Time,book cover

I stopped at my favorite bakery today.

I ran inside, ordered up my favorite cookie, then sat outside in the warm car and enjoyed every bit of that salted caramel deliciousness before heading home. The three-minute drive back to my house would’ve been too long to wait. We’re talking the best cookie in town, y’all.

But, those few, peaceful minutes in the car – a silent, spontaneous pause to my busy day of errands and catching up – were exactly what I needed.

When the New Year ushers in a new host of possibilities, fresh starts, latest ideas and a blank calendar of days waiting for life to fill them, I tend to get majorly overwhelmed.

I want fresh. I want new. I want blank. After a busy fall and Christmas season, a paper white calendar of “What Can Be” is a welcome change to our busy family life over the holidays.

However, with all of those possibilities comes a whole new set of choices. The calendar will fill up with something. Or somethings.

How do we make time for what is most important?

This past year, we have learned that we can best find our way and make meaningful plans as a family when we first fill our souls by spending time in God’s word together. Just like pausing with my favorite cookie from my favorite bakery during a day of errand-running brought a sense of peace and calm to a crazy day, spending time learning about Jesus with my husband and children satisfies our souls and fills all of us in ways that activities and even the most valuable experiences cannot.

So, how do we do this? We have five young children so we keep it very simple:

  1. We read a short devotional after dinner. This is the one time of the day that we are all together. We keep it short. We keep it simple.
  2. We let them interrupt and ask questions. We want to know their hearts. Finding a window into their souls is way more important than any agenda we set for this time together. We let them ask, speak, tell, share, and participate. This is not a sermon. We want to know them.
  3. We let them be children. They’re fidgety. They’re impatient. They’re children. And, God loves and wants them just as they are. My husband and I try to keep a semblance of order during this short time together, but yelling at them to be quiet and sit still defeats the purpose. We read. We help them listen and absorb. We give them grace.

One of my favorite books for this time together is Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones. My children absolutely love this book. Each entry contains short, simple, easy-to-understand truths about how much God loves us. The illustrations are captivating and the writing is so deeply profound that my husband and I walk away challenged and encouraged by words written in language that my three-year old can understand. If you love The Jesus Storybook Bible, you will love what Sally Lloyd-Jones and Jago have created in Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing.

As we start a New Year – with new experiences and challenges and a calendar filling up with family life – we’re committed to first finding time as a family to spend sharing, learning about our Savior and growing in grace together.

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Your Turn

Have you set aside time each day to lead your children in a time of devotion? What are your tips and advice for leading family devotions? Share your comments on our blog. We’d love to hear from you!