Over the years, we’ve struggled to make family devotions a regular part of our life. So many things got in our way. First and foremost was the fact that our family has children in it. Children who drove me crazy whenever we sat down to read the Bible or pray. They would burp their answers to questions about Moses, or interrupt someone’s contrite prayer to suggest a more heinous offense that should be confessed, or generally wiggle, whine, and complain about how much they wanted to go outside to play.
Second, Jeff and I, while always meaning to insist that corporate Bible study and prayer are important to our family, were quick to find any number of excuses to forgo it just this once. Anything from one of the boys having a slight cough to Qdoba having a one-day-only free burrito special.
But we never gave up. And we kept praying that God would help us raise Godly children. And, get this, God has been faithful to that prayer. We currently sit down together every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon. It’s nothing fancy. We read a piece from the Bible, discuss it, and pray. And if someone truly can’t be there, we do it anyway. If the kids are driving me crazy and I don’t want to hear their grating little voices, we do it anyway. If Jeff is tired and has too much work to do, we do it anyway.
Which is the key, of course. We do it anyway. Some days, it’s great and I feel the Spirit of the Living God amongst us. Some days, I can’t wait for it to be over. Always, though, I am reminded that our family orients itself around being together with God. Nafisa and the boys are reminded of this as well.And knowing that we are going to do it anyway, much of the wiggling and whining has ceased. Since it’s futile, we all just try to settle in and make the best of it. Having made the best of it for awhile now, we’ve come up with a few ‘tricks,’ such that we now often look forward to our devotion time.
FOOD: Mondays we eat some kind of sweet thing or chocolate. Wednesdays we make guacamole to eat with salsa and chips. Fridays we make fruit smoothies.
CREATIVITY: We act out the stories. We read them with silly voices. We make a game out of keeping your place as we read. While we generally follow a Thank You, Sorry, Please format for prayer, we shake things up here too. After we finished the passion story, we thanked God for something related to the story that began with each letter of the alphabet. Last week, we thanked him as we named our places of weaknesses, places where his grace was sufficient. We often end with some variation of the wave as we shout Amen!
TAKE IT ON THE ROAD: To shake things up further, we take the bibles to the ice cream shop or coffee store or park. The kids love it and we get to show them that our faith is not a secretive, private affair.
Finally, though, there is only one thing that really matters when it comes to reading and praying with your kids. Do it anyway.