Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ideas for Family Devotions

Something about the new year always gets us thinking about how we can make sure we're reading the Bible with our kids.  We've tried a lot of different ways to do "Bible Time," and since we're always in need of new ideas I thought I'd post some of ours in hopes that you'll comment with some of yours.

I've already recommended my two favorite children's Bibles: one for 0-5 year olds, and one for 5-10 year olds.  One way to make sure that you're actually reading the Bible with your kids is to plan it for the time of day that is the most structured.  Dinner time has not worked for us, but maybe it would for your family.  Bedtime has been a lot more successful at our house.  The kids always ask for a bedtime story, and so last year we decided that the Bible would always be their bedtime story.  We made it through our big children's Bible (for 5-10 year olds) by mid-year.  The Big Picture Story Bible (for 0-5 year olds) lasted only a couple of weeks because it does what the title suggests: gives the big picture, rather than a lot of details.  It would be great for a weekly family Bible time, and does an excellent job of tying the whole story of Scripture together.

Other ideas we have used:
  • Read a proverb or two each night at dinner and talk about what it means.
  • Read through the New Testament in a year by doing a few chapters each week on Saturdays and Sundays.  Danny did this with Eliana in 2010.  They listened to the Bible being read aloud online and followed along in the NIV.
  • Work through a children's devotional.  We're going to start off the year with "Keys for Kids," something from way back in the early 80's that I loved as a kid.  Our kids have also really enjoyed Under the Tagalong Tree, a book that includes Bible stories followed by modern-day stories for kids along the same theme.  I read it over and over as a kid. 
  • Read a missionary biography together or a book like Hero TalesThis works well with children ages 6 and up.  Now is the time to inspire them to ask what God wants them to do with their lives!  Most people who become missionaries were first exposed to missions during their childhood.
  • Work on memorizing questions and answers from a Children's Catechism (Q & A about the meaning of life from a biblical perspective).  You'd be amazed at what young children can memorize! (Note: I haven't used this one in particular, but it appears to be similar to ours.)
  • Light a candle and spend time quietly listening to God, followed by prayer.  Think your kids won't be quiet long enough?  Having a dark room with a candle lit makes a big difference!
  • Work on memorizing familiar passages of Scripture together.  Some of our favorites are Psalm 1, Psalm 23, Psalm 100, Deuteronomy 6, and John 1.  Make it a family contest!
  • Eliana and I are going to work our way through Genesis this spring while reading our new commentary written just for kids her age.  This is the first kids' commentary I've ever seen, and I'm excited to try it out!  We plan to do it together on Sunday afternoons while the younger kids are napping.
Whether first thing in the morning, dinner time, bedtime, or Sunday afternoons, family devotions will not just happen unless you decide they are important and make it part of your routine!  There isn't a 'right way' and a 'wrong way' to do it.  Just find something that works for your family and go for it!

I'd love to hear your ideas, too.  Post a comment below...


  1. I LOVE this blog! Thanks so much for sharing!! Now all I need is the 'family'. Father grant me the great treasure and responsibility of raising a child for Your glory!

  2. Praying for you and David, Emma!