Teaching our children is a wonderful God-given privilege. Many parents want memorable devotional times but lack ideas. They know prayer is vital to the success of the family, but doubt it be fun and relevant at the same time. A parent must first realize the significance of family prayer and devotions. If they do not, it will be impossible to communicate the importance of it to their children.
Two basic things make a home spiritually effective: a reverence for the Word of God and confidence in prayer. Talk to your children about the Lord Jesus. Keep Him in front of them as the true Head of your home. Timothy’s mother and grandmother did just that. “I am reminded of your sincere faith which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and now lives in you also” (II Tim. 1:5). Years of consistent teaching in the home paid off. God wants every generation to “tell our children’s children” about Him (Ps. 78:2-7). Solomon reminds us to listen both to our mom’s teaching about God (Pv. 1:8) and our dad’s teaching (Pv. 4:1). Both parents are to bring their children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:1-4).
Childhood is a prime time for learning, so don’t allow prime time television to take the place of God in your home. Twenty minutes of devotions will not override four hours of trash on TV. You must control television or be controlled by television. Parents are in an excellent position to carefully select what fills young minds.
Do not throw a dark shadow over what can be a joyous time. Several common attitudes can turn devotions sour:
1. Guilt: ”The pastor said we have to do this”
2. Regret: “We should have started this years ago”
3. Legalism: “God will punish us if we don’t pray”
4. Desperation: “We must do something spiritual in our home”
5. Authoritarianism: “We’ll do it, even if the kids don’t like it”
Don’t feel like you are the only parents who struggle with having family devotions. Common problems include busy schedules, the need for creative ideas, lack of interest by one of the parents, and variance in the age level of children. Although teaching our kids is both a privilege and a command, many parents don’t lead their children in devotions because they don’t have much of a personal prayer-life. They know family devotions are a blessing, but have not made time with God a priority in their own lives. Even though we take our children to church, we must live as if we were the only source of spiritual training for them. Ask yourself this question, “If I knew my children would have no source of spiritual truth other than what I give them myself, could they survive spiritually?”
As you grow with your children, pray over every aspect of each child’s spiritual training. God is concerned that “the little children come to Him” (Lk. 18:16). If you ask Him, the Holy Spirit will guide you concerning meaningful family devotions.