Reflections on Family Devotions

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Good Morning friends! Thanks for stopping by for Treasure Tuesday! It has help me to grow every week learning different things to show Gods love and teaching to our children. I hope you find as much joy in them as I do.

This week we are going to talk about Family Devotions. I found this site www.foundationforfreedom.com and really seen alot of what we do in our home through this site so I wanted to share the article of Family Devotions with you.

Family devotions is a name for the structured time a family regularly gets together before the Lord. Although most people now seem to think more in terms of ‘cell’ groups, family devotions or the ‘family altar’ is the age old small group meeting. Families now are so small and people dispersed from their families, we need to create artificial group meetings. We have no problem with the later groups but they should again remind the father of the importance of formally teaching his children. The family must regularly group around the father to learn of his love and knowledge of God.

Like personal devotions, family devotions often have singing, memorizing and discussion of God’s Word, prayer and sharing. The more personally it is related to their lives, the more helpful the time is. We will not go into details on how to conduct family devotions but deal with some more concrete issues that parents of toddlers might have.

When do you start?

Devotions should begin before the children are born! That is right. At that time it will only be the husband and wife assuming no other relatives are present. Once the first child comes, the whole family passes through a transition time for about 3 months. It is important for devotions between the husband and wife to continue as much as possible even if it is a brief ten minutes. My wife and I personally pray and share each night as a couple. We don’t watch television but talk and pray. This does take a commitment of time but think of the benefits. We don’t fight. We are a harmonious couple. We love our marriage. We save a lot of time that would otherwise be spent in aggravation, worries, and fears.

When the child can sit up, it is time to start devotions with our child. My wife and I still meet separately though. We like to. We cannot share on the depth that is needed during family devotions. With our children, we need to carry on at a different level of conversation and focus.

Singing

We sing both simple children’s songs as well as old hymns. Little children love to join in even if they do not know the words. They clap or move their bodies. Before children can read, they can learn to sing hymns together. We simply need to train them. Repeat more often. Have them repeat some words after you. Their memories are fantastic.

If we find a child not singing (a bit older) a familiar song, it is not because they do not know the song, but because they are showing ‘quiet’ rebellion. They are choosing not to sing. If we want them to sing, then we should have them sing with us. They might need to be chastised otherwise their rebellious spirit spoils the worship atmosphere.

God’s Word

We want the children to learn God’ s Word. We read, quote, and sing God’ s Word. Our real purpose is to get us to think about what God’ s Word says. Some use books to help them such as Bible storybooks. Use those as extra reading material.

It is better to focus on a theme for a month. Memorize some appropriate verses. Discuss them. Read other applicable verses. With search programs on the web, one can do a search on patience (which we are doing this month) in a flash and have a whole list of passages to work on. We especially like the virtue theme calendar that gives us a Christian theme for each month for the whole family to work on.5 On a little different level, there are catechism questions and answers for children to memorize. We have preferred to discuss these doctrinal topics as they come up, but it is good to supplement and enrich what we know about God’ s Word.

Memorizing Verses

A child is capable of memorizing a great amount of scripture verses. It would be a shame if we did not believe this and act upon it. Sure the parents must memorize along with them, but this is okay. Why not get God’s Word in them early so it shapes them. They do not need to know its meaning. They will learn that later on.

Certainly it is up to the parent to decide what is best, but they can memorize chapters of appropriate verses along with choice ones. We usually review them at devotions time. Our children can quote Psalm 1, 23 and 100. This is easy for them (and harder for Dad whose memory is going!) Should we stop there? No. We keep going on and on. Here are some practical points.

Have a folder for each older child. Keep the verses printed out that the family has memorized together. We also keep the hymns we have learned together. Bilingual families can learn some in Chinese and some in English. Make it fun. I remember after learning Galatians 5:22-23, we would often go around each saying one word of the verses which would emphasize the fruit of the Spirit.

Pause for Reflection: What verses have your family learned so far? Which ones do you think they should know?

How do you get your child to sit still during devotions?

The time for prayer is the most difficult. But if we start early, then even that trouble is somewhat eliminated. For example, when the child is an infant the mother holds the baby’s hands and gives thanks before feeding the baby. Once in the highchair the same thing happens. During devotions, I always liked to take the youngest one and hold him or her in my lap and hold his hands. When the baby has learned to fold hands during prayer, they need to go through a time of keeping them folded. If they resist, we just go back to holding them again.

We cannot force a child to be quiet, but we can help them sit still. For example, toddlers will sit with Daddy or Mommy. When they are able to start wiggling around, I hold them tight in my crossed legs. Unlike church, we can ignore their baby sounds.

How do you pray?

This really depends on how old the child is. It is proper to teach children to confess their sins, ask God for help and encourage them to pray for others. We do encourage this but realize God cannot hear their prayers before they know Christ as their Lord and Savior. We, however, are praying with them and God does hear us. Prayer is a privilege for Christians.

We take prayer requests. The children are great at remembering special needs. We pray for missionaries. Make sure you have some missionary focus as a family. We never dare just pray for ourselves. The Lord wants to do greater things through us when we pray for others.

With many children, we take turns. With fewer children, it is fine for each to pray. In this case, we would have the father open and the mother close; the children pray in between. Children usually want to start praying around 6, sometimes earlier. Earlier on, we just take their hands and pray for them, “Thank you God for every good thing! Amen.”

Summary

Devotions can be shortened for nights when children are sick or tired. If you come home late, just pray for them with a hand on them while they are in bed. This is not a legalistic matter but one in which you can seek God’ s blessing on your family and instruct them in your love for God and His Word.

(This article was taken from foundationforfreedom website, no authur was listed)

Serving with Joy,
Sonya

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About Sonya

I am a sinner saved by grace trying to move through this broken world as a wife, mom and homeschooler. I have 3 gorgeous sons {24, 17 & 11} and a wonderful husband of 13 years, that have my heart! I don’t have all the answers however sharing my life with you in hopes that it will drawer you closer to Him. I pray that when you leave here you walk away knowing Him better.

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