Is your family having regular family devotions? If you are like many families, this is a question you don’t like to think about. On the one hand you know you should have family devotions. On the other hand this is a habit that you have not cultivated. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed by family member schedules. Or you have never experienced family devotions so you do not know why you should have them. Well here are 5 reasons why you should have family devotions:
1) Reading the Bible together increases your knowledge of God’s word.
This may seem like a no brainer, but many people rely on attending Sunday worship for their knowledge of God and his word. Sunday worship is a great time to come together and learn. But as one pastor put it, “Do you only eat one meal a week?” Think of Sunday dinner as the large gathering of the family for that special meal. Family devotions are the daily gathering of your family to “eat” together.
2) Family devotions train your family to be able to be spiritually discerning.
Acts 17:11 The people of Berea were more open-minded than the people of Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive God’s message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true.
The people of Berea wanted to know if the message that the Apostle Paul brought was in accord with the Word of God. They searched the scriptures to make sure that what Paul was teaching them was correct. They wanted to be able to discern truth from lies. Families that read their bibles together are equipping their members to be biblically discerning. You are inoculating your children for being carried away by false teachings that will lead your children away from salvation and back into bondage to the LAW.
3) Family devotions strengthen your bonds as a family.
There is an old saying, “Families that pray together stay together.” There is a lot of truth to this. Having a regular time of family devotions instills a family identity. It strengthens the bonds of love between siblings as they pray for each other. Our children would often pray for their unborn siblings. Then when that child was born, they were more welcoming and loving towards their sibling. This doesn’t mean that there are no fights in our house. But it does mean that they love each other and look out for each other. Often times our family devotions lead to other discussions. Our children share what is on their hearts and minds. These times make our family stronger.
4) Family devotions teach members how to pray.
Even when our children were too young to speak, we still encouraged them to pray. They listened to other members pray. Then when they were able to speak, they prayed out loud. Yes their prayers started out as simple prayers, “God bless my family.” But as they grew, so did their prayers. Our four year old often prays for violence in our city to end.
Another benefit of praying together like this is that our children are not shy when it comes to praying out loud in front of others. They are used to praying out loud in front of their family members, this makes it easier for them to pray out loud in front of others.
5) Family devotions are a great way to share Christ with others.
This is perhaps one of the missionaries’ greatest secrets. Those families that have a regular time for their family devotions have a great mission opportunity. We found this out by accident. Every night around the same time we have family devotions and then put our children to bed. We had the opportunity to tutor some Buddhist high school students. When it was time for putting our children to bed, we asked the students to work on their homework quietly while we did “bedtime” with our kids. Over time we noticed that these students stopped doing homework and started listening more and more to our devotions. Our children prayed for these students by name during their turns to pray (we never instructed them to do this; the Holy Spirit put it on their hearts). Soon we noticed the students joining in our devotions. They began asking questions. One day the students asked why we never gave them the opportunity to pray. So from that day forth, whenever we have guests during our family devotion time (which happens often in our home) we also open up the prayers to “anyone else who would like to pray?”
We have found that family devotions are a great way to show our faith in action to our unbelieving friends. We do not force anyone to participate. We simply ask that they be respectful while we do our “bedtime.” Some have chosen to leave the room while we have our devotions. Some of those who do leave the room still stand quietly nearby and listen.
This is my list. What would you add as another reason for regular family devotions?