How To: Family Devo

I was recently asked for some advice on how to do a family devotion. I am no expert, but I thought I would post my response in hopes that it can be helpful to more than one person.

The options for doing family devotions are virtually limitless, but the point is not what you do or how deep you go, but rather that you do something - ANYTHING that consistently points them to Jesus. Just do something.

My kids are 12, 9, 6, and 2. Every morning we simply get together before school and read a chapter in the bible. We pick a book in the bible and do a chapter a day until we finish it.

The older kids read more than the younger ones but its that's ok. Our 2 year old usually just makes a bunch of noise.

Before we read I pray and ask God to show us himself in his word today. After we read I ask, "what sticks out guys?" and sometimes it starts a conversation and sometimes it doesn't.

You'd be surprised what the kids get out of it. Just be sure its a readable bible: Like the ESV or NLT or Message. We use the ESV.

Here are some other options:

The Jesus Story Book Bible is awesome and we use it for our younger kids, but our older kids like reading it too. Short stories that show how Jesus is the main character of the entire bible. I'd go with this one if you're new to the bible or unfamiliar with getting your kids started. Actually, this is a great option for anyone at any level.

My son and I read a book called Big Truths for Young Hearts on most nights before bed (when he doesn't want to read his Percy Jackson books). Its made for 9-18 year olds. He's 9 and he follows along and has tons of questions, but I probably wouldn't have him read it on his own just yet and it hasn't seemed to work for us as a family. Its been more of a one on one thing. If anything else, its a great book for adults to learn some deep truths about God while teaching their kids at the same time.

Or go really simple. Start at the beginning of a book in the bible. Take one verse a day and read it at dinner and start your dinner conversation with the verse. Ask, what do you notice about this verse? what sticks out to you? What does it tell you about God? What does it say about us? How should we respond to this verse? etc. Then you keep going with dinner. No biggie. If it sparks a conversation great. If not, you still have 364 more days in the year.

The point is to just do something. Your kids will remember that you did something with them and pointed them to Jesus. Don't worry about getting too deep or too shallow. Just do something. Remember that God's word won't return void (Isaiah 55:11) and his word is powerful. So let him speak for himself.

One Last Pointer:

Ask your older kids to weigh in. I recently learned that our bible times were a frustrating time for my 12 year old. She told me why and it turned out she always feels rushed because her sibs were not ready on time. So, I asked her advice and she said starting 15 minutes earlier would be much better. So, I listened and adjusted my morning routine. The other kids didn't even notice the difference and my oldest is no longer frustrated with devotions - well, until something new comes up.

Let me know how it turns out.