Although I haven’t struggled much with personal devotion time, family devotions have been very difficult for me. Here are my struggles and solutions I’ve found that you may be able to relate to.
Husband Not Home
My husband works out of town some of the time and also is frequently gone in the evenings for sports. While I prefer to have him lead and participate in family devotions, I have had to accept that we are going to do family devotions even in his absence. That acceptance has made them much more consistent in our home.
Husband Not Leading
Even when my husband was home, he wasn’t leading. I discovered there were several reasons for that.
One, sad to say, is because I would butt in when he was leading. On one particular occasion, I blurted out something I thought the kids should know and he said, “I was just going to say that.” Whoops.
A second issue that has prompted my husband to be less interested in leading is his need for reading glasses. He is frustrated that he needs them now and honestly prefers not to read. Just because I am reading doesn’t mean he isn’t leading. He listens to what I read and then takes the lead in asking the kids questions and relating his own teaching on the subject.
A final issue that prompted my husband to be less interested in leading some types of devotions is that the materials he needed weren’t at hand. I realized that as his help-meet (See Created to Be His Help Meet: Discover How God Can Make Your Marriage Glorious by Debi Pearl), I could make sure all the objects for the lesson were in place. Then he could do what the leader does best. Imagine your pastor coming to preach and being expected to find his own microphone and stand. Not very conducive to good leadership! Now I make sure he is equipped to fulfill his calling.
Devotions are Too Time-Consuming
I have tried many different types of family devotions and the ones that have worked well are short. I have shared that our family has tons of fun already, so the devotions that are designed to get families having fun together aren’t essential for us. We like to get the heart of the issue and then go about our day. What we currently use and love is Character Building for Families (Volume 1). We are working through Volume 2 right now. I found one doctrinal issue presented that doesn’t fit with our faith, but the rest has been excellent for discussing what is most important to our family–godly character.
Devotions Don’t Become a Habit
A final problem we’ve had is that although we’ve enjoyed doing devotions together, we aren’t faithful in doing them regularly. I’ve discovered that this is because we haven’t paired family devotions with an anchor activity that we always do. I tried to schedule family devotions for weekend evenings for example. We never know what we’re doing then, however, so devotions just weren’t happening. We now do devotions at meal time. We always eat so unless we are bolting out the door immediately, we have devotion time. This video demonstrates how simple family devotions at mealtime can be.
Family devotions will likely be one of the memories our children and we cherish most–both for the fact that we learn from God and we are spending time together.
Here is another take on how to make family devotions work.