Many Christian families make a deliberate effort to get close to Christ during Advent and Lent. Often, Christian families who are not in the habit of doing family devotions seize these special times in the Church year to read the Bible and pray together. Unfortunately, about the time the last Christmas carol is sung or the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection has concluded, many put the family Bible back on the shelf and the thought of family devotions in the back of their minds.
Yet, God is quite clear that it is parents’ responsibility to make sure their children are confronted with His precious Word at all times. Deuteronomy 6 says, “Impress the commandments 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.” In other words, God wants parents to talk with their children about Him and His will all of the time, not just on Sunday mornings or during Advent and Lent.
It has been a pleasure watching the families in our congregation who practice regular family devotions grow in their faith as they grow closer to each other. I remember one family in particular; I marveled with the rest of the congregation at the closeness and mutual respect each family member displayed of the other members of the family. Additionally, the children proclaimed their faith with ease.
The parents in this family took Deuteronomy seriously. It was ministry and mission for these parents to bring the Gospel to their family and to pray together as a family every day. It made a powerful difference; the power of God’s Word impacted this family. How wise of these parents to make use of the ready gift of God’s word!
I wish I had been that wise when I was raising my own children. We went to church. We prayed. But I did not intentionally set aside time each day to read God’s word with my family. I relinquished that blessing and responsibility to the Church, Sunday School, and Day School our children attended. I missed out on a lot of joy.
Any day is a great day to begin family devotions, but today is the best day! Begin with a planning session and ask each family member to give their input on the time, location, and materials to be used for your family devotions. Then pray together for God’s help to develop the fortitude to continue in your devotions as you grow closer to each other and to Him.
It’s wonderful for families to share awesome devotional times during Advent and Lent, but to continue the practice of family devotion is an even greater blessing. Why not give regular family devotions a try?
Originally published on thESource January 2004.