How To Lead a Basic Family Devotion

Family Devotions

A family devotion is an effective way to consistently provide biblical instruction to your children. A family devotion is typically led by the Father and should include a time of Bible reading, discussion and prayer.

Length

Keep the age of your children in mind when leading a family devotion. With toddlers and preschoolers, 5-15 minutes is a reasonable length of time. Older children can spend longer amounts of time. However, be sure to keep things moving and know your child’s limits.

Day and Time

If you are just starting out, make it a goal to have one family devotion each week. Pick a specific day and time when everyone is together. If your family is never together at the same time, consider withdrawing from certain activities and readjusting your family schedule to make your family’s spiritual development a greater priority.

Often, the most natural time to do a family devotion is immediately after dinner. If you miss a day, don’t fret. Just pick up where you left off. The key is consistency over the long run.

Hindrances

You can expect to meet resistance. You may feel inadequate or inexperienced. Your children may want to watch TV or play. There may be homework that needs to be done or sports that take up time during the week.

Each of these hindrances can tempt you to neglect family devotions. Stay committed and make family devotions a priority. Remember that you are responsible for the spiritual education of your children.

Basic Outline

Below is a simple structure for a family devotion. It can be done in as little as 5 minutes or expanded for older children.

  1. Gather the Family
  2. Read a Bible Passage or Story
  3. Discuss the Passage or Story
  4. Pray

Additional Elements

In addition to the basic outline described above, some families include additional elements. Some are listed below.

  • Singing worship songs
  • Memorizing Scripture
  • Using a Catechism

Perseverance is Key

The key to leading successful family devotions is perseverance over time. Over time, family devotions will become a natural part of life. Your family will also benefit from a greater knowledge of the Bible and a closer walk with God. Your life will bring glory to God as you demonstrate your faith and obedience to Him in the area of parenting.

Family Devotion Recommendations

Bible Storybooks

I recommend Bible storybooks for babies and preschoolers. A storybook will have a brief summary of the Bible story and normally include a picture. They are written with preschoolers in mind. The ones I personally recommend are:

  • The Big Picture Interactive Bible Stories for Toddlers (OT and NT sold separately) – Use this will babies and toddlers. It has very short summaries of the stories we discuss in Sunday School.
  • The Big Picture Interactive Storybook Bible – Use this with older preschoolers. It has longer summaries of 144 biblical stories, Big Picture Questions, and Christ Connections that go along with the stories we teach in Sunday School.
  • Egermeier’s Bible Story Book – Includes longer summaries of 312 stories for younger elementary aged children.

Bibles

For children in elementary school who are learning how to read, I recommend a full length children’s Bible. A good children’t Bible will include additional features that help your child get more out of their Bible. I recommend

  • The Big Picture Interactive Bible – This Bible includes the full text of the Old and New Testaments. It also includes additional features such as definitions, memory verses, 146 full page illustrations, Big Picture Questions/Answers, Christ Connections, book introductions, and more.

Which Bible Translation Should You Use?

There are three primary categories of translation. First, is the Formal or “word for word” category. These are more strict translations that seek to match up the original language word for word. The strength of this category of translation is its accuracy. A weakness is that it can be awkward to read in modern language. A second category is the functional or “thought for thought” category. These translations seek to balance accuracy with readability. The strength of this category of translations is that it is easier to understand. The weakness is that they are not ideal for deeper study. A third category is a paraphrase of the Bible. A paraphrase takes the english translation and rewrites it in the authors own words. The strength of the paraphrase is it is much easier to understand. The weakness is that it strays farther from the original and often gives you the authors interpretation of the passage rather than allowing the Scripture to speak for itself. I do not recommend you purchase a paraphrase for your child.

I recommend the following translations:

  • English Standard Version
  • Holman Christian Standard Version
  • New International Version
  • New Living Translation

Catechism

A catechism is a form of teaching where a child is asked a series of questions and memorizes the correct responses. For much of Christian history, catechisms were used to train children and adult converts. However, they have recently been mostly forgotten. Click here for a testimony of an adult who was catechized as a child and the benefits of catechism.

Worship Music

  • Seeds Family Worship
  • Spotify – A computer program that allows you to listen to music for free (with ads).

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