IDEAS FOR FAMILY DEVOTIONS
I want to have Family Devotions with my family, but what do I read to them? Where do I start?" I would suggest that you have a daily reading, but once a week do something different or special. Don’t get in a rut. Never let Family Devotions become boring. Always read the Word of God with faith and expectancy. Believe God is going to speak to you. Here are a few ideas to get you started. You will think of many more.
READ THROUGH A BOOK OF THE BIBLE
You can start at the beginning of a book in the New Testament and read until you get to the end of the book. If you have little children, only read two or three scriptures each night, and leave out the passages that may be difficult for them to understand. Read from a modern version of the Bible so they can understand easily. Or you may prefer to use a Children’s Bible or Children’s Devotional book. Make sure each child is asked a question. Questions keep your children’s attention. Questions should be part of all Family Devotions. When your children are older, you can read a chapter each night. When you have finished a book of the New Testament, read through a book of the Old Testament. When you children are older you can pass the Bible around so each person can read two verses each until the chapter is finished. This gets everyone involved. Paul said in Acts 20:27, "I have not shunned to declare unto you ALL the counsel of God."
WISDOM FROM PROVERBS
When the children are a little older, you can read a chapter of Proverbs each day. There are 31 days in the month and 31 chapters in Proverbs. This way we can continually fill our children with practical wisdom.
READ VERSES ON DIFFERENT SUBJECTS
A good exercise is for a father or mother to read through the book of Proverbs and write each scripture under the appropriate heading, e.g. Diligence, Laziness, Honesty, Purity, Wisdom, Understanding, Handling money matters, Adultery, The fear of the Lord, Companions, and so on. When you have all the scriptures listed under the headings, keep them in a folder. You can then take one of the subjects on the appropriate occasions and read those verses to your children.
THE NAMES OF GOD
As you read the Word of God, look out for all the different names of God. Each name of God reveals another attribute of His character. Write down the name and then under the heading gradually write under it all the scriptures that refer to God as this name, e.g. The Good Shepherd, The Prince of Peace, The Mighty Warrior, Father, The Comforter, Jehovah Jireh, a Good God, the Faithful God, and so on. You can also use the help of a Concordance. When you have a few scriptures under these names, use them to read to your family for a Family Devotion. What a wonderful way to teach your children more of God’s character.
For a change you could play this game. Choose some suitable scriptures ready for the occasion. The children must each have their own Bible and put it on top of their heads without their hands touching the Bible. When the father or mother calls out the reference of the scripture, it is then a competition to see who can find it first. They then read the scripture to the family. Have some little prizes ready to give to each one who finds it first.
LIGHT UP THE DARKNESS
Look up scriptures about Jesus being the light of the world, and how He also wants us to be a light in the world and have them ready to read to the family. For this particular mealtime, turn out the lights and have your meal by candlelight only. Don’t have any other light on in the house. When you children ask why all the lights are out, just say, "Wait and see." Read the "light" scriptures at Family Devotions and of course don’t forget to ask the questions. Remind your children that we are the only lights in this world of darkness. If we don’t shine for Jesus, there will be no light! Suggested scriptures for you to choose: Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 4:18; Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 5:14-16; Luke 12: 35; John 1:9; 3:19-21; 8:12; Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Ephesians 5:8; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 1:7.
RED NIGHT – THE BLOOD OF JESUS
Prepare scriptures about the precious blood of Jesus and make this your theme for the family meal table. Choose all red foods for this meal, e.g. beets, radishes, red beans, red hot dogs, tomato sauce or soup, potatoes or rice colored with red food coloring etc. For dessert you could have lovely red fruits such as pomegranates, blood oranges, cherries, strawberries, watermelon or red grapes. You could ask the children to find all their white clothes and wear them to the table. Of course they won’t know why! Its fun keeping them in suspense isn’t it? Children love surprises. When you have read the scriptures or asked each child to read one of the scriptures you can explain to them how their sins are washed away in the blood of Jesus. That’s why they have white clothes on for this meal. Sing some songs together about the blood of Jesus. We can’t speak or sing about the blood of Jesus enough. E.g.
"What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
"Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"
"There is power, power, wonder-working power, in the precious blood of the Lamb."
Suggested scriptures for you to choose: Exodus 12:12-13; Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 44:22; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:14, 22; 10:17; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7-9; Revelation 1:5-6.
GREEN NIGHT – GROWING IN THE LORD
Look up all the scriptures about how God wants us to be continually growing in His ways, and how He wants us to be always green, even in times of drought. For this meal, serve everything on their plates green. It will be a healthy meal because you can serve all the green leafy vegetables. You could color the potatoes green also. When the children ask why everything is green, once again, say, "Wait and see." After Bible reading and questions you will encourage them to be continually growing in the Lord. They will always remember this because of the green meal. Meal times are the greatest way to make our children understand the meaning of the scriptures. Suggested Scriptures for you to choose: Psalm 1:3; 52:8; 92:13, 14; Proverbs 11:28; Jeremiah 17:7, 8; Ezekiel 47:12; 1 Timothy 4:15; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18.
COMPOSE A SONG TOGETHER
Previously to the mealtime, look up a number of scriptures about singing and praising the Lord and especially singing a new song to the Lord. After reading the scriptures, encourage all the family to write a song. Do it together. It only has to be a very simple song. Then think of a tune and sing it together. Suggested Scriptures for you to choose: Psalm 5:11; 33:3; 40:1-3; 96:1-4; Psalm 91; Psalm 100; 144:9; Isaiah 42:10-13; Ephesians 5:18-20; Colossian 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Revelation 5:9,10; 14:3.
Prepositions begin many mighty scriptures. Why not have a BUT night! Or an IF night. Or a THEREFORE night! Get our your concordance and choose some powerful scriptures starting with the preposition of your choice. Encourage the children to repeat them after you, putting the emphasis on the preposition. It will help them to remember the scriptures. Here’s some to get you started:
BUT: Psalm 1:1-3; Isaiah 40:31; 53:5; Acts 17:30,31; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:4- 6; 2 Timothy1:7; James 1:5,6.
IF: There are 2,500 "Ifs" in the Bible. Deuteronomy 4:29; 2 Chronicles 7:14; John 14:15; 1 Corinthians 9:16; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 2:3; Hebrews 4:7; 1 John 1:7, 1:9; 1 John 4:11; Revelation 3:20.
THEREFORE: Romans 5:1; 6:12; 8:1; 12:20; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 2 Timothy 2:3; 2:10; Hebrews 2:1; 4:16; 10:19; 10:25; James 4:17; 5:7; 1 Peter 4:7.
You could gather 12 large stones and pile them in the middle of the table – this will be your centerpiece for this meal. For Bible reading you will read Joshua chapter 4, which tells the story of the children of Israel crossing the Jordan and how God wanted them to place the 12 stones in the Jordan as a memorial of what He had done for them. Another story you could use is found in Joshua 24:15-28. Another evening you could place a stone by each person’s plate. Choose 1 Peter 2:1-10 for your Bible reading and explain how each one of them is a living stone to be built into God’s building.
Choose a memory verse for the family at the beginning of the week. Recite it together at the family meal table each night. Write it up in big letters in your house. Also write it on cards so children can put it in their pocket or father can take it to work in his pocket. By the end of the week everyone in the house should be able to recite the scripture. Learn a verse together as a family each week. Here’s some good memory verses for you to learn as a family: Joshua 1:8; Joshua 1:9; Psalm 119:11; 119:105; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 26:3-4; Matthew 6:33; John 8:12; John 14:6; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 6:1-3; Philippians 1:6; 2:14-15; 4:13; 1 John 1:9; 1 John 2:15-17; Revelation 3:20.
TAKE A TURN
When children are older, they can be asked to take a turn at leading the Family Devotions. They are to find a suitable passage from the Word and read it to the family and share why this passage is so special to them. Another idea, especially with older children, is to ask each one what they received from the Word of God in their Quiet Time at the beginning of the day. We should encourage our children to have a daily Quiet Time. We can then encourage them to share what God has spoken to them in their daily reading. The above ideas are just to get you started. I know you will think of loads more.
The above article is a little excerpt from the manual, The Family Meal Table and Hospitality.
What the Bible says about your Table!
Prepared by Nancy Campbell
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