Family Devotions

I am going to share some simple thoughts and memories from Family Devotions with our children.

We started in a little house on Oxford St. when we had only Becky. She was between 2 and 3 years old. I wanted to have an atmosphere for this time and since we had no fireplace I decided to use a kerosene lamp in the center of the table and we would sit around it. It worked well and in a dark room it was quite cozy. I used the lamp even during time of the year when it was light because it still helped with making it a meaningful time.

When we moved to 35th in University Place, I liked to have devotions in front of the fire whenever possibly and in the summer at the beach cabin, in from of a beach fire on the bulkhead. I think atmosphere helps make it a special time for the children.

I think about Jane’s comment a while ago, “Mom, I think devotions meant more to you than it did to us kids.” That could be true, but I needed that time as a mom. It was the most precious time of the day for me, but I still think these times of devotions had an impact on the lives of our children as well. All are now raising/ have raised children for the Lord and doing a good job (and their children are raising children in the Lord).

As a busy mother, I needed time with my little chickens gathered around, quietly talking to them about Jesus. It was a wildly noisy time between 3-5pm  with 5 children and trying to make dinner. And then began the unwinding time. I would give them their baths and then send them down to the fire place to be dried off by Dick and put on their pajamas. I would then gather the children together and hand Dick the devotions book. I always found it important to get Dick’s approval for devotional time. But like most things, it doesn’t happen unless mom takes a little initiative.

We often began devotionals with a regular story. We went through “Laura & Mary” books, a chapter at a time for example. Dick would then read a chapter from a Children’s Devotional Book such as “Little Ones Time with God” or “Happy Acres”. There are books to fit every age group. Dick would read the story and then ask the questions at the end of the chapter which the children would answer and discuss. After reading and asking questions we would sing a few songs or choruses. Then each would pray. I still remember Bart’s regular prayer every night when he was little, “God bless all the people in the world. The ones I know and the ones I don’t know”. That rather covered it all 🙂

We would always end with the song “Now the Day is Over”. Singing one verse and humming one verse. Then bed time would start for the young ones. I could see extra benefits from these times for children, besides learning about Jesus. It taught them to pray out loud and as a result they were never afraid to pray in a group whenever they were asked. It also taught them to sing as a family. Sometimes we were asked to sing and they always had a song ready. They had several that each one would sing a verse or special things within a song. They changed the words to “Micheal Row the Boat” to “Barty Row Boat”, which had lines like: “sisters help to trim the sails” and “Nanny and Boppy on the other side” and “milk and cookies on the other side” and “Wollochet bay is chilly and cold”. All ending with hallelujah.

Benefits I could see as a mother:

  • taught them to pray and be concerned for one another
  • they learned how to share prayer requests
  • they learned how to ask for forgiveness from God and others
  • opened up opportunities to mend relationships in the family

It’s easier to establish this routine when they are small, before school age, and easier in grade school. It becomes more difficult for a routine as they enter Jr. High and High school. Each child in the family has a different experience and a different remembrance of their life in the family. I know Pollyann’s memories of Family Devotions are very different from Becky. I feel it provides a strong basis for praying “for everything”(tests, games, friends, disappointments). It also is a natural time to witness for Jesus when kids have friends over to spend the night. As a mother it made me feel I was daily taking a step in fulfilling Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way she would go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

May the Lord bless you as mothers and fathers as you train up your children.