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Some Practical Ideas on Family Devotions

Family devotions are something that I am constantly trying to tweak. I think this stems from a desire to be fresh and engaging with my family as well as my realization that I am often stale and pretty lame. So I tweak.

I have previously written in the form of exhortation and example to men concerning some practical tips for Doing Family Devotions. This remains one of the more widely read articles from this site. In this vein I want to highlight a few areas of recent changes for us as a family. This is not a ‘cut and paste’ type thing. However, some of these things may prove helpful for you.

1. SINGING HYMNS TOGETHER
As one who did not grow up going to church I am an alien among hymn books. However, recent guys have been teaching me rich, Christological, gospel-dripping songs that stir my heart. As a family we are trying to learn a few together, make them our own and sing them passionately. Right now our song is: “Let us Love and Sing and Wonder” by John Newton (we sing the Jars of Clay version). This is great as even our littlest ones (1 & 6) are trying to read and sing along. We are singing the hymns in the morning before school followed by a prayer for the day.

2. READING SHORTER SECTIONS OF NARRATIVE
In the past I have been overly ambitious, perhaps even to a fault. In light of our kids ages (ranging from 12mos to 15yrs) I have to be careful to neither lose nor bore them. This is a challenge. Shorter portions of narrative are great. I can tease out timeless principles and make age appropriate application. We are in 1 Kings now and it is great.

3. REMINDING THEM WHO THE HERO OF THE STORY IS
Regrettably, I did not always do this very well. Now I refuse to forget it! The hero of every story is God and it ultimately points to Christ in some way (Luke 24.37, 44). I won’t forget to ask myself and then how this passage ferry’s us to the person and work of Jesus.

In 1Kings it is pretty easy. The good kings are good because they look and act like Jesus. The bad kings are not Christ-like. The line of David, therefore the promise is preserved. Jesus is a better Asa, a better Josiah, a better David…and so forth. I love showing how these stories anticipate the great person and work of Jesus. This helps them to see the Bible as having one central story.

4. DISCUSSING & PRAYING FOR APPLICATION WITH THEM
As I mentioned above this is hard due to ages. We are trying to tease out implications from the passage and ask questions. We then incorporate them into our prayer time or further discussion.

In addition, we have had many lively discussions about worldview and witness as of late. It has been good fodder for discussion and future prayer.

5. BEING TRANSPARENT
One important aspect of leading family worship is to remind your family that you are a sinner in need of the gospel. This is a prime time for us as men to show our gospel dependence. We can point out our shortcomings and our need for grace. We can showcase repentance and need for Christ’s righteousness. We can point to specific examples in the home and show how the perfect Savior obeyed so as to be my righteousness in that specific instance. Overall, to act all pious and perfect on your own is to veil the need for Jesus. It is a bad example for the kids. Dads have to show that they are needy for grace and righteousness just like the rest of the family. It is a good reminder for us as well.

I’d be interested if there are other means in which you have found helpful to stimulate your family’s love for Christ. I am always looking for tips to put into practice.

—In addition, You may find these articles helpful:
>>Praying for Our Children
>>Some Help for Leading Family Devotions
>>Pray Like you Can’t Save your Kids and Parent Like You Can

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