Thursday, October 27, 2011

family devotion time

Deuteronomy 11:19 NLT

Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.


It has been almost 3 years since our family began maybe the most important thing we have ever done.  That would be our family devotions.  Each night before we go to bed we stop and turn off as many distractions as possible.  We then read Scripture and pray.  For me and for Julie this is so important.


I want to spend a few minutes talking with you about some of the pieces of family devotions.  Some of these items are pieces that have helped us be successful and keep going.


DON'T STOP.  Keep on and make sure it happens every night.  Even if one of the family is gone, we still do our devotions.  One of the cool pieces of technology that has helped us is FaceTime from Apple.  We can do devotions together even when I have to be away.


HAVE A READING PLAN.  Right now we are reading a book that is written to teenage girls about growing in their faith and confidence in God.  Much of the time we use reading plans from the YouVersion Bible.  It allows you to read certain parts of the Bible on a schedule.


PRAY OUT LOUD.  This is a big piece for me.  I love to hear my children pray, and it also teaches them and gives them confidence to pray out loud.  I love to hear my children pray for other people.  In fact this week we began something new.  We now pray for a specific person each night (a family member, a friend, etc…). 


We have missed some nights but very few.  After the first few months our kids would not allow us to miss family devotions.  Some nights they just can't happen, like when we have to be out real late or when a crisis has occurred, yet that is very rare.


Like most families we will have one of our kid's friends over to spend the night.  We make sure to include them in our devotions.  When family visits or a church guest is here, they are included too.


You might want to hold right there for a minute.  Some of you are thinking that I am a "family devotion nazi" or something like a tyrant to make this happen.  Folks, I have to guard against that because God called me to help family see and experience the same grace and get the same 2nd chances that we offer people in ministry. 


Devotions are not something we are legalistic about.  There is not a right way or a wrong way to do it.  The biggest component is that everyone needs to have a part and to listen in.  Our 8 year old is part of this.  He might read our Scripture every now and then, but he prays a simple prayer each time.  Our teen girls are in it and depend on it.


JUST DO IT.  Yeah.  Yeah.  This slogan belongs to Nike, but it speaks volumes to you and to me.  Start somewhere.  Start tonight.  Do it at the dinner table when you are eating or gather around one person in the family's bed as you all get ready for sleep.  We gather in the family room on the big comfy cough and near my favorite chair.


Want some more hints?  Just ask.  We have used some Scripture and some tools and books that have helped us along the way.  Read something that includes Scripture or just something from the Bible, connect with each other and then pray.


We are convinced that our family is stronger than ever because of our commitment to have family devotions together.


James 5:16 NASB

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

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happy birthday, Julie

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