Have you ever had ambitious plans for starting a new and exciting project only to find your plans…
- getting crowded out due to the busyness of life?
- never getting off the ground because you’re lacking the right tools and training to get the job done?
- stalling midway because your enthusiasm and energy dwindles, unforeseen obstacles arise, or the project no longer seems important?
Unfortunately, family devotions can often follow these same kinds of patterns. Well-intentioned parents become overwhelmed with trying to juggle a myriad of other responsibilities, and regular devotions never get off the ground. Some parents desperately want to start a regular habit of devotions but simply feel ill-equipped for the task. Others begin family devotions with eagerness but slowly give up over time when things don’t go as planned.
No matter what your current circumstances, consider this very encouraging article by Tim Challies, “Why We Fail at Family Devotions.” I found two of his five reasons especially applicable:
We Make it Too Hard
I think the main reason we fail is that we make it too hard. Family devotions are the simplest thing in the world. We just need to get the family together, and then read the Bible and pray.
…Sing a song if you like. Engage in discussion if you like. Memorize a catechism if you like. Don’t feel like you need to begin with more than the basics. Don’t feel like you have failed if you do not get beyond the very basics. Read a few verses and pray. Then, the next day, read and pray.
We Measure Too Short
Another reason we fail at family devotions is that we give up too quickly. We measure short instead of long. We do it for a few weeks or a few months and don’t see any significant results. …We need to think more about eighteen or twenty years of exposure to the Bible than eighteen days or eighteen weeks. We need to think about our own lives and how we need to hear things a hundred times, not one or two times, before we respond to that conviction. We need to remember and believe that God works through these simple means, but that he does so at his own pace. We need to believe that God honors the means he provides.
Bottom line for family devotions: Keep it simple and steady. No matter where you currently are on the “family devotions spectrum,” we have resources and practical tips to help you keep it simple and steady on our Family Devotions page. If you are just getting started and want a resource that is very simple to use and takes less than 15 minutes per day, try one of our Making HIM Known books. How can these books be used to lead family devotions? Watch this example from pastor David Platt here.