Having our family members grounded in the Word of God starts in the family and, in my humble opinion, the most effective method of achieving this is to hold Home Devotions every day.
Importance of Home Devotion
At our house, we have been two devotions each day, one early in the morning to start the day, and one on the evening to complete the day. For the evening devotion, at 8pm, someone will shout “worship” and everyone starts to gather into our living room. We begin with a prayer, singing of hymns and we read the Scripture. A short message follows or we will have discussion on our reading. Finally, we end with prayer followed by the Lord’s prayer in unison. This simple home devotion has allowed us to remain unified, weathered through tough times, and has allowed our children to grow up with strong faith in the Lord.
“Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created.” – Psalms 148:5 (ESV)
We are created for the purpose of praising the Lord. If anyone thinks praising on one Sunday of the week is enough. Think again! Worship on Sunday is absolutely needed, but what about other 6 days? How can we be sure that we are spiritually strong enough to resist the enemy, when we only praise less than 15% of our time. The 15% which is about 1/7th is counting days, but if we count the hours, it will be much less.
Therefore, it is crucial to have home devotions. If not for out own sake, then for the sake of our children and our children’s children, and so on. The result of home devotion is the most valuable legacy that we can leave our children.
Home Devotion Attempted
This is an excerpt from “The Strong Family” by Chuck Swindoll.
Dinner was finished and the dishes pushed aside when Joe brought his Bible from under his chair. He glanced at his wife, Susan, with a look and sigh that meant, Let’s try again.
The children around the table groaned a concert of “Oh, no” followed by a solo, “Can we hurry, Dad? I just remembered I have to feed the goldfish.”
“Now listen, everybody,” Joe said. “I’m going to read about Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.” …
“Now,” he said when he had finished, “let’s have some questions. Peter, what did the crowds shout when they saw Jesus riding by?”
Peter, whose mind had no doubt been concentrating on his starving fish, looked blank and finally said, “Dunno, Dad.”
Eight-year-old Danny just couldn’t remember either.
In an attempt to receive some response, Joe turned to Alisa and asked, “Honey, what did Jesus ride on when he went to Jerusalem?”
Alisa puckered her little mouth in concentration and finally said tentatively, “On a cloud?”
Does above story sound familiar? This is why, home devotion or any other good habits that we want our children to have has to start very early. In the article “7 Steps to Successful Christian Parenting”, I discuss about teaching our children good habits by starting to practice good habits before pregnancy. Good habits do not come by just trying, it has to be natural, so that it is executed without even thinking. Thus, parents have to practice good habits early, so when a child is brought onto the world, the good habits become natural, just like brushing your teeth.
Children learn by imitating their parents. It is said that
“…if we compare our ability as adults to that of the child, it would require us sixty years of hard work to achieve what a child has achieved in these first three years.” ~Maria Montessori, “The Absorbent Mind”
Therefore, it is critical for parents to be good role models. In my experience with teaching children, I experienced that spending some time with a child, I can know what his/her parents are like because most of a child’s characters are ‘picked up’ from the parents.
Changing Child’s Behaviour
But what about situation like Joe’s family above? The children have not been brought up to practice home devotion. Something that they have not been exposed to early on is, obviously, very difficult to accept. Please read “Early Childhood Training – Child’s Brain …” for more details on importance of early childhood education.
How do we change child’s behaviour to accept faith into their lives? Although strong faith can be achieved from attending church on Sunday, but that is not enough for them to withstand the temptations of the world. To change the child, here are suggestions:
Parents MUST change
Unless parents change to do what they teach/preach, children will not change. If we want our children to follow home devotion, then show them that mom and dad are diligently doing home devotion every day. At first, they may not be interested in joining, but as we continue and encourage joining, they will slowly come around.
Add the prayer request for our children joining the daily home devotion. We all know the power of prayer. Prayer changes even the most stubborn people, so it will definitely change our children.
Practice good habits
Daily home devotion is one of the good habits to practice at home, but reading is another good habit to adapt by imitating the parents. Therefore, rather than turning on the TV or Computer, set an atmosphere in the house for reading. Additionally, discussion during dinner table to talk about the day’s event is great opportunity to bring in the teachings of the Bible into the children’s lives.
The older the children, the time it takes to turn around and accept home devotion in their lives will be longer. But fervent prayers, diligence will bear fruit, so be patient.
The technology advancement has brought us tools for us to be productive, but it has also brought danger closer to our homes. The children no longer have to go outside our homes to be exposed to temptations from the enemy. Through internet, they are exposed anywhere and all the time. Furthermore, parents are busy with their own schedules, so that keeping their eyes on children is almost impossible. How do we fight against the enemy in such an environment that we live in? We do it by praising our Lord at home each day, so that we are spiritually strengthened to discern each day of our lives.
I am hopeful that readers were convinced of the importance of home devotion and make plans to implement it in their homes. Please share your questions and comments.