Our children spend 6,570 days in our homes from birth to high school graduation. Approximately 936 of those days are Sundays that are spent at church. If your family also attends church on Wednesdays, that brings us to 1,872 days a year of spiritual instruction.
According the Barna, 89% of us do not feel equipped as fathers to spiritually lead our families.
No wonder 70% of our children are walking away from the church as they enter college. We desire for them to walk with the Lord, but don’t feel equipped to lead them. The reality is that most of our children are only being spiritually fed one to two days a week. Their faith foundation is lacking. Their encounters with a holy, sovereign God are lacking. Likewise, they are not prepared to face the storms of this life.
This is a fight that we can’t afford to opt out of.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. – Deuteronomy 6:6-7
God’s Word is clear. It is our responsibility to spiritually raise up our children. Thankfully, over the last few years, there has been a paradigm shift in our churches. Once upon a time, it was seen as the church’s job to lay a solid foundation for our children. Now, many churches are rightly focusing on equipping us dads to spiritually lead our families.
It’s encouraging to see God raising up a new generation of men that are fighting for the hearts of their kids.
If you are anything like me, you want to be in the battle. You are willing to fight for your family at all costs. And, when it comes to fighting for the hearts of your children, you refuse to stand down.
A great way to fight for their hearts is to get them in the Word. Grab your favorite cup of black coffee and let’s talk about how to start a family devotional time.
How to Start a Family Devotional Time
The ultimate goal of a family devotional time should be teaching your kids to know Christ and to make Him known.
Scripture – The Center
God’s Word should be the center upon which we build our family devotional time. When we come face to face with the God of the Bible, hearts are changed.
- Younger Children: Toddlers and young kids learn best through narratives. The Jesus Storybook Bible is a great resource to use for family devotion. The narratives are told and explained within the bigger picture of God’s story of redemption. The focus of every story is Christ.
- Older Children: She Reads Truth/He Reads Truth are fantastic resources for older children and teens. These Bible study journals lay out different passages of Scripture and lead you through an inductive Bible study. They even include maps and basic commentaries. This company makes studies for the entire family to go through, but the individual journals are age and gender specific.
Weekly Fighter Verse
Having a weekly fighter verse is another way to keep God’s Word the center of your devotional time. In our home, we pick a verse out of the passage that we are studying. My wife likes to use her graphic design skills to create a printable for our home. If you walked through our home at any point in time, you are likely to find the weekly fighter verse tacked up in various locations – including near the toilet.
Pick your verse. Print it out and put it up throughout your home. Text it to your wife and kids throughout the week. Then, discuss how God is using it in your lives during family devotional time.
You don’t hear about catechisms much anymore. They are essentially questions and answers from God’s Word about who He is and how He works.
In our home, we use the New City Catechism. Going through these has proven so valuable. They get our four-year-old thinking about God and His character at a young age. She pulls out some amazing questions that she would never ask if we weren’t learning Big Truths about God and His Word.
Download the free app or go to their website for some awesome resources to use.
“The primary purpose of prayer is not to get something, but to know someone.” – David Platt
Prayer is an amazing opportunity to go before the throne of God as a family.
Lay down your requests.
Use this time to really focus on what you are learning in Scripture. Praise God for what you are learning about His character and His plan. Thank Him for how He has worked in eternity and for how is He working now. Confess sin before Him as a family. Intercede on behalf of missionaries, the sick, and any other needs. End asking God to continue working in accordance with His will.
Time, Place, and Plan
If you fail to plan, you can plan on failing. Discuss with your family when the best time is for everyone to meet for devotional time. Put that time on the calendar and protect it. Out of all the things we spend time doing, running after the heart of God as a family is the most important. Have a set time and place in order. Not only that, but have a set plan of how you will spend that time seeking the Lord together.
Consider this a challenge.
Families all around America are fractured and failing because they aren’t centered around the Gospel. Children are falling away from the faith because they were never shown how to cling to the Lord through the valleys and victories.
It’s so important that we are rooted in Christ, not just as individuals, but as an entire family unit. Consider this a challenge. Let’s give our wives and children a solid faith foundation – one that cannot be shaken. Let’s focus our homes around our good, sovereign God.