Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Family Devotions

I was surprised at the response to my Tri-Moms post on family worship.  I'll admit I was nervous about addressing the topic because the reaction to our decision to worship at home has not always been positive.  Several of you have asked questions (about tithing and communion and fellowship).  I will get to those later this week, but for now, this is a look at our family devotions time. 

Bible Study

Family devotions at our house is a weekly event, much like going to church would be.  We pray together daily as a family and during the school year, the kids and I daily work on our memory verses and read the Bible together, but our more in-depth study as a family is a once-a-week affair.  Brian has been struggling for years to find something that all of the kids-- from the youngest to the oldest-- can engage in together.  We don't like fluff, but we still want something to engage them on their level.  

For about a year now, Brian has been working with them through Shirley's Dobson's My Bible Coloring Book. Each page lists the Bible reference for a particular story and he reads to us straight from the Bible (either the NIV or the NLT).  We all discuss it and Brian usually asks questions and asks someone to tell the story back to him.  After we are done, we pray together and then the kids run to the table to color their picture.  

Several weeks ago he chose to take a break from the coloring books to work our way through The Answers Book for Kids series written by Ken Ham.  We chose this series as a continuation of the worldview study we began in the winter.  Each of the four books in the series addresses a different general topic.  (Volume 1 is Creation and the Fall.  Volume 2 is Dinosaurs and the Flood of Noah.  Volume 3 is God and the Bible.  Volume 4 is Sin, Salvation, and the Christian Life.)  The books are recommended for ages 6-12, but Owen, our almost 5-year-old, can grasp many of the concepts.  Who wouldn't like to read a whole lesson about whether Adam and Eve had belly buttons?!  

Family devotions time is a happy and flexible time.  Sometimes we go outside.  Sometimes everyone sits around the coffee table with cookies (and coffee for Daddy). We expect respect and reverence, but we do let the kids be relaxed.


This is another aspect Brian has been working on with the kids for a long time! He wants them to understand that praying is nothing more than talking to God.  He wants them to thank Him as well as ask Him for things.  Some of the kids have a tendency to say a rote prayer, "Thanks for my day.  Thanks for everything you've given us," every time and not think about what they really want to say so we're all working on that together. 
We pray aloud during our family time.  Usually Brian assigns an order: Gavin then Owen then Ben (yes, the 2-year-old prays, too!) and so on.  Last week, we tried something new.  Brian began the prayer and then he paused.  Whatever child wanted to go next could then jump in and when they were done, they would pause.  Then the next child could begin.  No one was require to pray, but everyone did.  I ended the prayer after everyone else  had their chance. 


Worship is not complete without singing our praise.  We don't often include this in our family time, though maybe we should.  However, we are always, always singing in our house.  Since Gavin was a baby, we have listened to "Hide 'Em In Your Heart", a 2-volume set of scriptures set to music.  

I also want my children to be familiar with the words of the old hymns. We (as in all of us-- the whole family) love Kids' Praise 7: "Psalty's Hymnological Adventure Through Time", a fun musical CD of the stories behind a handful of well-known hymns.  We also discovered "Hymns For A Kid's Heart" in the spring.  We were able to enjoy Volume 1 (which I believe is out of print) from our local library, but we ordered Volume 4 to keep for our own and to use in our coming school year.


We choose to live the words of Psalm 34:1: "I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips."  We want our relationship with the Lord to be ever-changing, ever-growing.  Therefore, our family worship and family devotions time is just a springboard to a life of praise and devotion to our Savior.


  1. I love hearing about other families worshipping at home. :)

    The truth is, even though my husband is a minister for TWO churches and our Sundays are full of worship, we have our own family worship daily, with devotions, scripture memorization, and prayer at the breakfast table. And once a week, Wednesday evenings, we make it even more formal by sitting around the living room with our own hymnals and Bibles and sharing a time of worship then, too! The older boys especially enjoy preparing a small lesson, and my husband and I smile at each other over their heads as they "speak" about what is on their hearts. :)

    We have loved Clay Clarkson's Our 24 Family Ways- there is such richness and family-centeredness in that book, and we have memorized so much scripture to accompany the lessons. Eliana loves the coloring pages that accompany each "way", and often asks me to scan and print them at other times during the week; I love to slip one into her "church" bag for coloring quietly while Daddy preaches.

    We haven't started it yet, but are greatly looking forward to Machowski's Long Story Short; it appears as if it will be a good fit for our breakfast devotions.

    Thank you for sharing the music and books that have served you well through the years- I am so thankful for other families sharing what works for them! God bless you as you strive to walk in a path of faith for your children to follow. :)


  2. Hi Kristen~

    I followed this link from your mom's site! Great lady, your mom...

    We did home fellowship for a season in our home. It was definitely a blessed time of growth. Now we belong to a 'home fellowship' that has many families, and our experience has been the richest ever. It's like our family just extended as we embraced these people (and they embraced us) that God loves so much... It's been 9 years now. I know that the time we took on our own is what brought us to the maturity to wisely heed God's call to this particular group of believers. Keep fighting Good Fight as you train your soldiers!

    Blessings, Debbie

  3. Thanks for sharing all of this. I'm on the hunt for good devotions and good music to use with my children, so I'm excited to check out what you've mentioned. And I remember that particular Psalty story from growing up! We love Psalty in this house too, although right now we only have one CD.


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