Spoiler Alert: These people don’t exist & normal family devotions don’t look like this.
Aimee was a member of our life group, but she lived about 40 minutes away so many Sundays she would just come spend the afternoon at our house after church. In those times Aimee was filled with questions and stories. One thing Aimee often shared about was how much faith meant to her family, and more than once she brought up how great family devotions were. She told us how she loved to sing with her family, and how she longed for a husband that would be able to lead their family with a biblical perspective and teach in a way that captured the attention of his children, just like her father.
Years later I was able to meet Aimee’s father Scott. When Scott and I had a moment alone together I shared with him how much family devotions and worship meant to Aimee. I told him she was thankful for the teaching and the singing and for their loving family time. The funny thing was that Scott just kind of laughed and then shared that Aimee must have been experiencing selective memory. His recollection of those same stories seemed much different. Yes, they had family devotions, but what he remembered was someone trying to lead worship from the trumpet, of no one liking or being able to sing or stay together very well. He remembered the struggle of trying to speak to the hearts of four children, all of which were separated by years, he remembered the chaos and the questions of whether family devotions were really worth it for anybody.
It’s funny how people can remember the same things in different ways, isn’t it? Here is a list of questions most dad’s wonder. If you haven’t had these questions you probably have not tried to lead family devotions. If you have, I think you might relate to many of them:
-I know I should be leading family devotions, but I am not really sure what that is supposed to look like.
-It just feels so forced. Is it really worth it?
-It feels like I missed a training that all the other great Christian dad’s received. Does everyone else know something I don’t know? Is everyone else good at this?
-Are the kids really getting anything out of this?
-Would it be better to just help out by clearing the dishes?
Dad’s listen. When it comes to leading our families in the word we all wonder, am I doing it right, is this working is this worth it? Like many of us, in the day-to-day chaos of family devotions I have wondered these things.
I mean seriously, in case you don’t believe me here is a simple story to illustrate the point. Recently we had Cate Miller over for dinner, after dinner we were doing family devotions, we were going through the story of Jacob and Esau reuniting. When I asked “What do you think Jacob might have been thinking as Esau came to him?” Emmie was the first to raise her hand and her answer (verbatim) was “Sometimes there is a fly…and you have to hit ‘em. You have to hit ‘em with a flashlight.” Hello, is this thing on? It is easy to wonder if it is worth the effort. If it would be easier to just skip it. But thinking through this now I am wondering when our kids are grownups what will they remember. I hope they will remember that Mom and Dad tried to teach them the good news of the gospel throughout their lives, through modeling, preaching, teaching, repentance, love and yes through family devotions.
Men, you won’t be perfect, and if you wait until you have the perfect plan you will wait forever. How about this, choose a resource and get started. See how it goes, evaluate it after a few weeks and if you want a change then change. But with all the questions know this is true, your children need to hear the gospel and there are few other people that can have a more profound impact on your children than you can. Yes, they already know you are imperfect, they will see when you are tired or frustrated (um yeah, that happens), but they will know their fathers love better because you will be convincing them of the depth of his love for them.
If you are looking for some good resources to get started here you are:
Jesus Storybook Bible
There is a reason that this is the resource we give out to all families when new children are born. Each story shows the direct connection to Christ and it is equally good for adults. I have read it a number of times and there are still some stories that just get me. Like the prodigal son…go read it…now.
Long Story Short
Our family just started using this devotional, and so far so good. What I really like is that it says right on the cover that it is designed for a 10 min devotional. We usually let one of the kids read the few verses, then there is about a paragraph for the parents and finally a few questions for the kids, then we have one of the kids close us in prayer with a focus on what it is we learned about. I am really liking it so far.
Old Story New
This is a second volume follow up to Long Story Short, which focuses on the New Testament. Don’t feel like you have to do LSS first, you may be reformed, you may like all things done decently and in good order, but be crazy, go wild, start in the New Testament. #ReligiousFreedom #CantStop #WontStop
I have never used this resource but Jake Hunt says this is his favorite of all! By the way, as I write this I just got word that the Hunts have reached 100% funding. When they leave for Prague on Sunday Feb 22, they will do so fully funded. Thanks be to God.
Our 24 Family Ways
At points this one needs a little extra gospel sprinkled in, but is very helpful for addressing certain issues with scripture.
What about you dad’s? Do you suffer from the same questions? What resources on this list have you tried? Which others would you recommend? Are you going to order one of these?
Author: Rev. Dave Kulp