Parents, what comes to mind when you think about “family devotions”? Does it include regular times set apart for your family read Scripture? Prayer? Worship in song? Formal Bible instruction with age-appropriate resources? Yes, all these things may characterize family devotions. And all serve to benefit our children as we instruct them in what is most important.
I don’t think there’s a mandate to be found in sacred Scripture that is more solemn than this one. That we are to teach our children the truth of God’s Word is a sacred, holy responsibility that God gives to His people. And it’s not something that is to be done only one day a week in Sunday school. We can’t abdicate the responsibility to the church. The primary responsibility for the education of children according to Scripture is the family, the parents.
Along with sacred biblical education, there are some added benefits to family devotions. This week, in his article “What's the Purpose (and the Benefit) of Family Devotions?” Tim Challies describes the additional benefits he and his family have enjoyed over the years. Here are a few highlights:
- …we’ve found family devotions is a crucial means of declaring our family’s priorities. By turning to Word and prayer together every day (or most days, at least), we’ve [modeled] the centrality of these practices in the Christian life.
- These daily times together have also proven an important means of building closeness within our family...Our devotions call us to a family experience each day. And while few of them are remarkable on their own, it is their gradual accumulation that adds up to something special.
- And then there is the benefit of building a habit that adds structure and stability to the family’s shared life. As we have emphasized family devotions, we have found it becomes a kind of organizing structure to the life we share together…It is the kind of habit, perhaps like eating together and attending church together, that anchors a family.
- Through family devotions we model personal devotions, for the two closely resemble one another. By relating to the Lord as a family, we teach how to relate to him as individuals.
Challies concludes by saying,
But looking back on nearly twenty years of doing this together, I see there are many wonderful benefits to be had through faithful simplicity. Though our children have learned a lot, I’m increasingly convinced that some of the best and most important lessons go beyond characters, stories, and doctrines. There isn’t a singular purpose to family devotions, but a whole network that [intertwines,] and that together [adds] up to something far greater than the sum of its parts.
I highly recommend reading the entire article. It will encourage both the parents who are struggling with incorporating devotions into family life and those who have a regular, structured routine.
Truth78 would love to assist and equip parents in this holy endeavor. We have an informational page that outlines the basics of family devotions and also devotional resources from Truth78. You can learn more here.