The family that worships together grows together. Family spiritual practice bonds both couples and families, whether that's community worship at church or family worship around our tables. Worship draws us into deeper fellowship with one another and strengthens our relationship with God. Worship is a gift to be treasured.
"The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces" (Psalm 119:72).
We want our families to cherish God's word and prioritize time spent in worship. Become more than just a family that shares the same roof--strive to be a family that connects spiritually and shares each other’s hearts.
So how do you create a healthy shared devotional life in your family?
Sometimes we have to learn how to say no to the things that pull us away from practicing faith together as a family. Say no to the sports league that meets every Sunday morning or commit to going to an alternate service during the sports season. Strive to not only have common meal times, but also include Bible reading and prayer as part of your family's routine. Pray your children out the door in the morning or into bed at night. There will always be gaps in such routines, but make them the exception not the norm.
Our families may not have time with every member together every day, but we can strive to have the time we are together directed toward faith whenever we can. It might be praying with one child in the morning, a discussion on faith while driving in the car, or debriefing about a tough day in the kitchen. There is no bad time to integrate faith into the conversation.
As we all stare into our phones, it's clear technology can distract us and draw us away from God and one another. But used well, it can also draw us closer to God and our families. Text your family a Bible verse to encourage them or send a note that you are praying for them. Get a devotional app for your phone, or subscribe to a daily devotional email, so you always have it handy when you manage to grab a moment together. Let each kid with a phone pull up the app and take turns reading from the devotional.
Cultivate a dialogue with God and his word. Encourage individual devotion time and then talk together about how you are learning and growing through personal time with God. Sharing our own learning and struggling to guides your children to do the same. Ultimately children leave home and you want them to have regular patterns of engaging with their Heavenly Father. Give your kids devotional books and journals to guide their time alone and then share together how you see God at work.
Time singing together in the car, reading scripture together at the park, or doing service projects together are just a few of the ways that we can engage with our families spiritually. Pray for each person as we fold their laundry or set their place at the table. Put a scripture verse in everyone’s lunch box or computer bag to be a reminder in the day and a conversation starter when you gather together again.
There are seasons when family devotions are more challenging to orchestrate. Don’t give up family worship altogether just because it is challenging. Do what you can with the time you have and refocus again when schedules are less challenging. God’s grace is sufficient for all of life’s challenges, so let's praise him at every turn!
Rev. Joel Vande Werken
Rev. Joel Vande Werken