April 02, 2020 | Coronavirus | Family by Jim Gillespie
I know “Family Devotions” sounds scary, but it is really very easy and extremely rewarding. Hopefully, this short article and the links in it will be helpful for you to get started.
First, it's biblical. Deuteronomy 6:7, Ephesians 6:4, both teach us that God desires parents to be the primary spiritual teachers of their families. The local church doesn’t have the responsibility to raise your children in spiritual maturity, but instead the church is called to assist you as you lead and guide your family in the instruction and discipline of the Lord.
Second, it’s not difficult. Having a short time each week to lead your family in Bible study and prayer doesn’t take an advanced degree in theology. It is for every parent, and God has provided everything you will need to accomplish it - His Word, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and some study tools written by godly men to help us.
Third, we are here to help. Below are links to websites and articles that we hope will be helpful as you get started.
When, how often, how long?
- There are two parts to family devotions. The first is ongoing, every day, everywhere, all the time. As parents we are to live out the Christian life in front of our children in a purposeful way. I think this is where we get it wrong a lot. We are commanded to be intentional in how we show our biblical choices to our children. The Bible teaches that every moment is a ministry moment. Every conversation is an opportunity to teach our children biblical truth. The Word says as we sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down and when we rise up. Always be searching for the lesson that God wants to teach your family right now, in the moment. Take the time to explain “why” you are doing something, or “why” this is happening.
- The second part, having a more formal time of Bible study discussion and personal prayer, must be a part of this larger strategy. This is where it's okay to try a bunch of different things. What time and in what room will need to be discovered based on each individual family’s needs and activities. How often and how long will also look different for each family. There are several determining factors like work schedules and even the age (attention span) of your children. Remember it's okay to experiment to find your family’s best fit. It’s not ok to use your busy schedule as an excuse to not obey God’s Word for you and your family. For purposes of this article we are going to start with one family devotion time a week.
What is included in a family devotion time?
You could include several things. Bible study, prayer, worship, service to each other and other Christians, evangelism, giving are all examples of things to try. For this article, we are going to focus on Bible study and prayer. Hopefully we will get to some of the others in the next few weeks.
How do I lead in Bible Study?
There are two things to do:
- Bible reading. Choose one book of the Bible you want to study as a family. Right now, our life groups are in the book of Romans so we will use that as an example. Have your family start reading one chapter of Romans a week.
- When you have your family devotion time, choose one word from that chapter to teach to your family. That’s it. That’s all we need to start with – one book, one chapter, one word. For example:
- Chapter 1:1= Paul [Teach them who Paul is – many people don’t know who Paul is - that he was not one of the 12 disciples, or how he became a follower of Jesus or why he is an apostle.]
- Chapter 2:4 = Repentance
- Chapter 3:23 = Sinned
- Chapter 4:3 = Righteousness
- Chapter 5:1 = Justification
Just reading one book, one chapter a week, and teaching one word from each chapter will lead and guide your family in biblical truth. In 16 weeks, you and your entire family will have a deeper understanding of God’s Word. You will be able to add more quickly but if you have never done this before or if it’s been a long time just start here: 1-1-1.
How do I lead in prayer?
Saying a short prayer before the Bible study helps to get your family focused on the Lord. Just asking the Lord to bless this time with your family and for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you in His Word. Take this time to shake off the day, anything that has happened, and focus on the love and grace of God and the Gospel of His Son. At the end of the devotion, ask if anyone has questions; if you do not know the answer write it down and you can revisit it after you have discovered the answer (remember your church is here to help). After questions, take prayer requests. When praying for people or yourself, there are really two things to consider. What are they praying for and what does God want to do in their life?
- What are they praying for? What’s going on that they desire you speak to God about that as their spouse or parent? This is important because it is important to them.
- What does God want to do in their life? How can they look the most like Jesus in whatever circumstance they just told you about?
Here are a couple of examples:
Five-year-old Jimmy asks, “please pray it snows tomorrow so I don’t have to go to school.”
- Lord we pray it will snow tomorrow so Jimmy doesn’t have to go to school.
- But Father if it’s not your will for it to snow tomorrow may Jimmy not be disappointed but instead be joyful that he is able to go to school and get an education that you will use in his life for Your glory.
Fifteen-year-old Jimmy asks, “please pray for grandma that she recovers from her sickness.”
- Lord we pray that grandma would fully recover and be well so she can spend more time with us because we love her so much.
- But God if it is your will that she would remain sick to teach others or reach others then give us patience and wisdom to remember that You can use anything for Your Glory.
When do I do this?
So, a family devotion time could be Thursday night after dinner. The whole family is reading Romans and they gather in the living room. You pray for focus and wisdom and then teach them what word the Holy Spirit led you too in that chapter. Answer any questions, even if the answer is, "I don’t know but will find out," then ask for prayer requests. Pray for your family.
What if I have questions?
Please read the attached books for Bible study and prayer and follow the links to the free online resources that are helpful tools to discover what words mean. If you have any questions email us at RCCC.