The lost art of family devotions

When we were young Bible college students, courting and thinking toward marriage, a young family unofficially took us under their wing. We would go over to their house sometimes just to have a meal or hang out. After supper, they would have a time of singing and Bible reading with their children (three of them six and under). The dad played the guitar and sang, and then opened up the book of Proverbs. He would read it, explain it in words children could understand and then draw out a lesson in stick figures. When we got married and had children of our own, we started doing the same thing. Over the years, our styles have changed and our approach has gone through various stages depending on the ages of the children. For now the way it works is that after supper we meet in the living room, sing a few songs a cappella from a hymnal, slowly working our way from front to back, review a page of Bible memory verses (about 25 or so to a page), read two chapters from the Bible (NIV) and follow it with a chapter or so of commentary or explanation or devotional from a study Bible or devotional book. The whole thing takes maybe 20-25 minutes and it has become a standard in our house. It gives us time together as a family, gets us in the Word together, helps us review for Scripture memory and gives us a chance to praise God and learn quality songs. Anyway, the other day I was just wondering if other people did this and, if not, that they might be helped a bit if I shared the idea. The young couple who taught us 22+ years ago made a great impact on us. Maybe by passing this on, you’ll be helped to. I challenge you to try this. Even if you only get it done a few times a week, that is still a wonderful investment in the life of your family.

2 thoughts on “The lost art of family devotions

  1. Hey, Todd – what an encouraging post. We have been reading Proverbs to the kids as well. I like the idea of singing and reviewing verses for memory together. Do you choose verses by topic and review for a certain period and then bring in new ones?
    Thanks for sharing! I especially like seeing that it doesn’t have to take all evening… attention spans aren’t stretched too far!
    Thank you!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Cheryl! Several years ago we put together a long list of key Bible verses. We just went through the Bible in order and pulled out verses that we thought would be good for our kids to know (on God’s attributes, salvation, spiritual growth, Christian living, etc.) We like to always keep the verses in context, so they are often in blocks of several verses in a row (sometimes just a verse or two, but sometimes almost entire chapters). We printed the verses out and put them in folders so each one (if they are old enough to read) can follow along while we review them. It came out to about a 30 pages (8 1/2 by 11 inches) and we review one page per evening). There are lots of other verse memory systems you can buy. One we used to use was called Well-Versed Kids. I know the Navigators have a series, as does John MacArthur and John Piper. There are, thankfully, lots of great tools out there.

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