By JP Robinson
Last week, I told my kids that I’d have to cancel our devotions that evening because a family activity had run later than expected. Their response was typical: a resounding chorus of “oh no’s! and something on the lines of “Pleasssse, can we have devotions tonight?”
I call this response typical, and it is…for us. Perhaps it’s not typical in most homes but I’m blessed to have kids who literally beg me for devotions. This post identifies three ways to help you get my kind of problem—kids who are disappointed when devotions are cancelled!
- Show your kids that God is the Best. Thing. Ever.
Devotions don’t begin when you gather your family together. They are an ongoing expression of commitment to God. Getting your kids “hooked” on Jesus, is something that every parent needs to do 24/7. If we limit our dedication to Jesus to 15 minutes a night, then we send a message to our kids/tweens/teens that God is not the center of our lives.
Remember: your kids won’t buy into devotions if you’re not showing them that you’re “devoted” to God. I love the word devotion. It entails commitment, love and sacrifice. When we show our children that God doesn’t revolve around our lives, but our lives revolve around God, we’re setting the stage to hook their interest in time spent in the Bible.
Think: How can we expect our kids to be excited about God if we parents are too busy to go to midweek service or too tired to read our Bibles every day?
- Get creative. No, you don’t need to spend money or do acrobatics in the living room. What I mean is, don’t limit the format of your devotions to simply talking about Scripture.
Remember: Kids of all ages learn best when they’re doing or seeing things. Classic example: I was trying to teach my kids how just a little sin can contaminate their spiritual health. A few drops of purple food coloring in a cup of water produced a lesson that even my youngest remembered weeks later.
Think: You’re competing with school, friends and social media for your child’s time and attention. To be effective, devotions need to be engaging and—to a certain extent—fun.
Try dramatizing a Biblical lesson (no costume needed) or enhancing a biblical discussion with a short movie clip. If all else fails, a quick Google search on “Devotion ideas for busy families” produces almost 4 million results.
- Let the kids run the show. This is perhaps the most effective strategy of the three. Too often, parents feel that devotions mean that they talk while the kids sit and absorb the information. As a high school teacher, I can tell you that engaged kids are the ones who really learn.
Remember: If you feel guidelines are necessary, that’s fine! Just keep it loose so they’re free to express their creativity. Not only does this take some pressure off of you, but it also engages your children from the onset.
Think: No matter how old your children, assign them each a devotion night. Let them take ownership and run the show their way.
I hope that these tips place your family on the road to power-packed devotions. Keep up the good work and God bless your efforts to nurture another Christ-loving generation.
About JP Robinson
JP Robinson began writing as a teen for the Times Beacon Records newspaper in New York. He holds a degree in English and is a teacher of French history. JP is known for creating vivid, high-adrenaline plots laced with unexpected twists. Born to praying parents who were told by medical doctors that having children was impossible, JP Robinson’s writes to ignite faith in a living God.