Many households (mine included) struggle to establish a regular pattern of home devotions. Parents and caregivers need ongoing encouragement and support for what is a vital faith-bearing practice. In his book ApParent Privilege, Steve Wright offers a number of helpful tips which form the basis for the following advice:
- Start small. Begin with a few minutes at time (or even less if you have very young children) and build up from there.
- Stick with it. If having home devotions is a new practice for your household, it may seem awkward at first. Avoid the temptation to give up. As you persist, you will find your own “rhythm”.
- Be realistic. Don’t expect that you will find time every day of every week for a household devotional time. Aim for once a week initially, and then see if you can add one or two extra days. If you can manage a devotional time more days than not, you will be doing very well! Be grace-led, not guilt-driven!
- Have a plan. Your devotional times can be structured or very informal. Decide on an approach which works best for your stage of household life. Some basics are use of God’s Word (even if only a couple of verses) and prayer. Arrange a visit to your local Christian bookstore to look for resources (e.g. a Bible storybook) to help you get started. Ask other parents or caregivers about their approach to home devotions.
- Be flexible and creative. As your household life changes over time, so too should be your approach to home devotions. What works with a young child will not be as successful with a teenager. Invite suggestions from your household members as to what they might find helpful. Share organisation and leadership amongst your household. “Mix it up” by using different resources or approaches from time to time. A short time of night-time star-gazing followed by a brief prayer thanking God for his creation can be a great devotional experience.
- Make it interactive. Aim to “talk with”, not “talk to”. It would be wise to avoid turning your devotional times into “one-sided sermons” or mere “listening exercises”.
- Be real. Allow your own faith to shine through your home devotional times. Take the opportunity to share your own struggles, questions, fears and doubts. Invite household members to minister to one another through these times together.