Family Devotion Resources
As your family prepares to have devotions make use of these resources to help your time together be as beneficial as possible.
Four tips for families:
- Pick the Right Time – When works best for your family? In the morning before work? The dinner table? Before bedtime? Pick a time when everyone is alert and when your family is together most consistently.
- Be Consistent – The act of doing family devotions is just as important as the content of them. By staying consistent you are communicating to the whole family – especially your kids – that this is important.
- Keep it Simple – All in all, family devotions don’t need to be more than 10-15 minutes. If you have older kids or the kids are out of the home you could go longer but don’t over complicate things. Family devotions could include three simple elements: Read, Pray & Sing.
- Read the Bible – weather it’s a few verses or an entire chapter, what’s important is that you open up God’s word and read it for all to hear. You’re not preaching a sermon or giving a lecture, you’re reading.
- Pray Together – Share prayer requests daily or keep a list of specific things to pray for regularly. One person pray, or everyone take turns praying.
- Sing – This intimidates some, but there are many blessings found in a family that sings together. Singing has a way of implanting God’s truth on our hearts that reading does not. Singing is especially helpful for small children that are otherwise squirrely when listening to the bible reading or praying portion of family devotions.
- Change it up! – If the time you picked actually doesn’t work, or what you’re reading isn’t really jiving with the family, then don’t be afraid to change things up. Do a use a devotional for a time, split up the kids between parents if they’re too much to handle together. Consistency does not mean keeping with plans and outlines that aren’t helpful. Families go through seasons so tailor your family devotions to the season of life your family is in.
Tim Challies has a lot of helpful tips at his blog:
- 10 Ideas & 10 Tips for Family Devotions
- Practical Advice for Family Devotions
- Why We Fail at Family Devotions
- Family Worship by Donald Whitney – A great (and short) guide for the “why” and “how” of family devotions.
- A Neglected Grace by Jason Helopoulos – A more in-depth look at family worship that is practical and helpful.
Though there is no substitute for the Bible, at times and seasons it may be helpful for you and your family to read through devotions together, here are a few recommendations.
- New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp – Short, one page devotions for every day of the year.
- The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – A children’s book that shows how every story in the bible ultimately points to Jesus. This is a great resource to read to kids 4 and up. This book does not skimp on important theology like many other children’s books.
- The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung – A Children’s book that shows kids how the Bible is one big story leading to Jesus and the Cross. This is a good resource to read to kids 4 and up. It has amazing illustrations that help keep kids engaged.
- The Biggest Story ABC by Kevin DeYoung – This is a simplified version of the book “The Biggest Story” that is age appropriate for kids 1-3 years old.
You could easily incorporate a catechism into your family devotions. If you’re not familiar with Catechisms, they are memory-based, question/answer tools that teach people of all ages truths about God. It’s a very simple process, one person asks a question and the other person gives the correct answer from memory. Catechisms have been used in the instruction of God’s people for hundreds of years. Here are two resources that you may find helpful.
- The New City Catechism – This is a versatile catechism good for adults and children that has a book version as well as online and mobile apps. You can switch it to “kid mode” on the mobile app that makes the question/answers less wordy and has songs to help memorize the answers. There are 52 questions so you can focus on learning one question very well each week of the year.
- Truth and Grace (TAG) – These are books focused towards kids that include catechism questions, memory verses, songs to sing, even historic christian teaching like the Apostles Creed. These are split up into 3 different books based your child’s age (from 2 years old through 12th grade). Buy all the books as a bundle or buy one at a time. Available as an Ebook too.
Ideas for Kids
If you have young kids you shouldn’t expect everyone to sit like quiet little angles, even if it’s just 10 minutes. This is reality, it’s harder to keep young kids engaged during family devotion time, hopefully these tips can spark some ideas for you.
- If you’re reading through a Bible Story with small children, engage your kids imagination by asking them to play the different characters in the story, or to use stuffed animals or action figures to be those characters.
- Do catechism questions in different voices, like a squeaky mouse or a giant with a deep voice, or a robot, etc.
- There is no shortage of bible story craft activities with just a quick google search. Just type in “[bible story] kids craft/activity” into google and click “search”.
Ideas for older kids & Teens:
Parents don’t have to be the ones to do everything during the devotion time a great way to keep older kids and teenagers engaged is to invite them to participate.
- Ask your child to read the portion of scripture that day, or read the devotional book to their siblings, etc.
- Let them lead the prayer.
- Ask them to choose the song you sing together.
Songs to Sing:
The best songs to sing together as a family are ones that are easy to sing without accompanying music and still communicate biblical truth. We’ve put together some playlists to help you choose which songs may work best for your family. Practical help: If you’re not sure how the melody of a song goes, most songs are posted on youtube.com with lyrics so you can sing along. If you’re nervous about singing together as a family, singing along with the video might be a good way to ease into it.