Have you wanted to start a family devotion time but don’t know where to start?

Are you worried about how your kids might react? What if you accidentally push them away from the faith you hold so dear?

My prayer is that after reading this article, you will gain the confidence you need to step out boldly, leading your kids into a rich, dynamic faith that they will take on as their own.

Learning From Peter

It is normal to react to strong emotions like fear and worry. Let’s learn from Peter, who often spoke out of strong emotions.

In Luke 9:28–36, Peter is one of three disciples who experience the amazing, frightening transfiguration of Jesus into His glory.

In awestruck fear, Peter blurts out the first thing that comes to his mind, offering to build shelters for the three figures standing before them.

But before he even finishes his thoughts, God interrupts.

You can help your kids go after their faith by your excited reaction when they show interest in it.

Verses 34–35 say, “While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.’”

Peter had been startled awake during a divine conversation between Jesus, Elijah, and Moses about Jesus’ coming crucifixion (Luke 9:31–32).

But he missed the significance of the conversation due to fear.

And God called him back to what was most important—to listen to Jesus.

What emotions might you be experiencing that are blocking your ability to hear what Jesus is saying to you about time with Him as a family?

My parents made family devotions a priority right from the beginning. Mom told me why.

She would remind me that one day God would hold her accountable for how she raised me. No, she wasn’t perfect. She made lots of mistakes, but God had given her the job of passing on the gift of His salvation to me (Deuteronomy 6:6–9).

If you are attempting to make family devotions a new priority, here are three tips to guide you: find the love, look for teachable moments, and use encouraging words.

1. The Greatest Is Love

1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us that there will be three things that outlast this earth: faith, hope, and love.

But love is the greatest of the three.

You love your kids. But how do you demonstrate it? How do your kids show love?

In his book, The Family You’ve Always Wanted: Five Ways You Can Make It Happen, Gary Chapman explains five different “love languages” that your kids might use to say they love you.

If you can learn your child’s expression of love, you will be able to connect with him or her more deeply.

For example, one of my kids shows love with snuggles and hugs. The other one expresses love by spending quality time with people. So I connect with one child by hugging him and the other by sharing a conversation.

Ask the Lord to help you see times in the day when you can steer conversations naturally toward godly things.

Yet, these are not the ways that I demonstrate love—I feel and show love by doing kind things for people.

So loving my kids, not according to my way but by their ways, takes practice.

When you connect with your kids’ hearts, they will be more open to listening and sharing with you.

This is the groundwork for engaging kids in family devotions.

Proverbs 3:11-12 says: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”

Discipline is not just correcting wrong behaviour; it is also teaching good habits like spending daily time with God.

Parental love is different than friendship. Yes, we all hope our kids consider us friends. But first, we are their guardians, to teach and instruct. There will be times when they will resist family devotion time.

However, because you love them, you will persist in making them learn the discipline to stick with it.

2. Teachable Moments

The second tip also takes some practice. Parents are told to talk about the things of God with their kids all through the day in Deuteronomy 6:6–9.

Ask the Lord to help you see times in the day when you can steer conversations naturally toward godly things.

A few weeks ago, my little boy and I were learning about butterflies. That night, for devotions, we read a book about Christ’s death and resurrection.

One of the pictures showed Him all wrapped up and being put in the tomb. It looked a lot like the cocoon we had seen in the butterfly videos.

So, we compared the butterfly’s transformation to Christ’s death and resurrection and what that means to us.

When you connect with your kids’ hearts, they will be more open to listening and sharing with you.

Another time, we were watching a movie with our older son. There was a worldview discussed by the characters that sparked this question, “Do we believe that?”

Right there we paused the movie and shared about our biblical worldview and how it contradicted the view given in the movie.

It was a great interruption that led to a deep discussion of our faith.

Making faith something you authentically share throughout the day can cause your kids to begin to anticipate family devotions.

3. Encouraging Words

Have you ever listened to your conversations with your kids?

Are you positive and excited as your kids open up their hearts with you? Or, do they only hear from you when they are in trouble?

In The Family You’ve Always Wanted, Chapman highlights the importance of being an encouraging parent, “The word encourage means to ‘instill courage’.

Courage is that state of mind that gives the child the ability to explore possibilities, to take risks, to accomplish what others may find impossible.”

You can help your kids go after their faith by your excited reaction when they show interest in it.

If you are attempting to make family devotions a new priority, here are three tips to guide you: find the love, look for teachable moments, and use encouraging words.

Do you excitedly bring your family together to read God’s Word? Do you praise questions raised by your kids, “That’s a great question!”?

Do your kids hear you praise them for jobs well done at school and church?

I try to make an effort to praise my kids regularly throughout the day.

And, when they correct their behaviour after being reproved, I would praise them for having listened to me.

For example, just the other day, I was helping my little one onto the escalator and he jumped instead of stepping on.

That can be dangerous so I told him not to do it again. But he jumped off the escalator when it reached the bottom. I scolded him quietly but firmly.

And the next escalator we came to, he stepped instead. Right away I raised my voice in excitement and said, “Good job for stepping instead of jumping!”

You might be amazed at how differently your kids view family devotions if they have heard positive words from you often during the day.

Conclusion

Christ delights in being in the midst of your family.

We learned from Peter that strong emotions can sometimes blind us to what is most important. But if you can find your reason for making family devotions a priority, then God will give you wisdom to lead with confidence.

  1. Start with the love you have for your children, motivating you to teach them.
  2. Be watching for those moments God gives you to instill truth throughout the day.
  3. Take the time to encourage your kids daily, and share your passion for God’s Word.

But above all, listen to the Lord. He will take your family deeper into His loving arms day by day.

 

* Check out Betsy Whittaker’s previous article in this two-part series, Three Tips On Starting Family Devotions.