New Family Daily Devotion Guide
International (CMI) has just released its first
comprehensive "Family Devotion Guide". Now families can have daily
that will truly make a difference. We have done the "hard work" to
things organized and laid out in an easy to follow format, now you have to
"show up" ready to learn.
In our "Covenant
Life Conferences", CMI emphasizes the need for children to
see the daily working out of the Christian faith in families. One of the
best ways to do this by having daily devotions. This has become a "lost
and practice" in most Christian homes today, with severe consequences.
Children rarely see their parents in prayer, opening up the Scriptures as a
family, showing how the Bible is relevant for today, praying together as a
family for the events of the day, or singing together. Therefore, the
children quickly reason that it is not important to be in the Word, or pray
together as a family. They can easily see Christianity as a "Sunday thing"
run by "professionals". Irrelevancy is just around the corner, when
leave home they can also leave "Mom and Dad's religion" behind.
Here are the "normal
(and not so normal/spiritual) reasons" I hear and
observe on why families won't have daily devotions:
Priorities- Families are always saying that there is just not enough time
in the day to add another event. They might say that devotions are a "high
priority" but they never do it. Priorities should be defined as what
we actually do. If we can "surf the net" for an hour a day to
keep up with the news or other interests, why can't we set aside 20 minutes
for a family devotion? If we jog five miles, watch hours of TV/videos or
read magazines for 45 minutes daily, can't we do something for our family
that will have "eternal rewards"? Remember we can store up treasures
in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy and robbers cannot break in
and steal. Most of us never consider that we are building a foundation whose
architect and builder is God when we persevere and have family devotions.
Habits- This dove
tails in to the first reason. All of us have
developed habits (good and bad) over the years. Hopefully, family devotions
will become a new one and one of the best! Probably you are accustomed not
wo getting up in the morning just in time to get you and your children out
the door to work, school and other activities. This is an ingrained habit
that must change if you desire to do devotions in the morning. Some
habit(s) will have to stop in order for family devotions to begin. Consider
the "best" over the "better". There are unlimited "good"
things we can do
with the precious commodity of time that God has given to us to be good
stewards of---WHY NOT THE BEST?
Satan- You can
be certain that Satan does not want your family to do
anything remotely "Christ-honoring " together. Satan hates for
pray; he detests the reading and studying of the Word; he certainly doesn't
want your children to have a solid foundation of biblical truth or to pray
and sing God-honoring songs as a family. Therefore, the "evil one"
throw every conceivable "excuse" at you not to have devotions,
or if you do
have family devotions, Satan will want them to be as "dry, anemic,
meaningless" as possible. Remember, Satan's chief desire is to
it marriages, children, devotion to the Truth, or whatever is from God.
flesh is weak to resist. We must bind Satan by praying for the will to
persevere in having our families "strong in the Lord".
inability- Many families say it is just "too
difficult" to have devotions. Fathers and mothers don't have the time
"plan" for devotions and the family devotions become routine and
they've tried it in the past and its been a failure. This is where CMI can
help. Why not learn the "Shorter Catechism taken from the Westminster
Confession of Faith" together? Here are the basics of what we believe
question and answer format, done in a systematic way to help in memorizing
the Christian distinctives. CMI has done the work, bringing song, Bible,
prayer and the questions and answers together in a easy to follow format.
Well, you've looked
at the reasons for why most people don't have family
devotions; here are some reasons why families today need to do them:
The Bible says
that we need to feed upon the Word of God and to pray
about "everything". This practice of daily devotions demonstrates
children and spouses that we are serious about our faith. It also begins
family tradition of "holiness" that our children will take with
they go of being daily in the Word and praying to God about "everything".
Our homes are (as Jonathan
Edwards said) little churches, with the
fathers "prophets, priests (ministers) and kings" in their homes
families. As prophets, we need to "speak the truth of life and know
priests, we intercede for our families, and bring them to the throne of
in prayer. As kings, we protect them from the arch enemy of God (the devil)
and other things/people that might harm them. There are few better ways
do all three than family devotions.
The Bible says Life is "spiritual
warfare" (Ephesians 6), we must prepare ourselves for battle by putting
on the "full armor of God". Going to work or school with a Godly
hymn/song on our lips, earnest prayer imploring God for His blessings, reflecting
on a biblical truth or passage and remembering to intercede for those closest
to us are wonderful goals that can hardly be accomplished without a plan
of action. That plan can best be executed in the practice of daily family
Twenty years from now, what
will we remember about what we are doing today? Will we recall the big deadline,
the latest purchase of frivolous items, the school assignment, the casual
friendship? Probably not, but with
the Word of God and biblical truths in our hearts, the Holy Spirit will
recall the elements of Christian living so necessary to be a fruitful follower
of Christ. So many of us, after so many years are still "babes in Christ",
still being tossed to and fro by changing, temporal philosphies of the day.
We haven't grown up spiritually. We need "solid truth" systematically
proclaimed and studied. But this truth doesn't need to remain in the Bible,
unexplored; it needs to be in our hearts and in the hearts of our children.
It can be "mined" one day at a time, in a manner that allows us
to fully cover the essentials of our faith.
International has produced this family devotion guide in
three small volumes so that the booklet can easily fit into the family Bible.
The Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Confession is used as the outline
for the daily lessons. There are six parts to each lesson: Opening prayer,
hymns/song, Bible verses, related questions, Bible Lesson and Closing Prayer.
The work has been done
for you, but you do have to show-up and set aside the
time to ensure this happens.
A last word for the
fathers.....If you want to ensure that this kind of
devotion is successful, then you MUST be involved. Fathers are the spiritual
heads of their homes (this is an indicative not an imperative statement see
Ephesians 6). The sure way to "kill it" is to let your wife consistently
the devotions when you aren't available (which can easily become more and
more common). Fathers, you choose the best time of day for your entire
family and you lead it. Start out with a 20 minute slot and stick to it. If
it means getting the family up before sunrise then commit to it--they can go
back to sleep if need be or you might have to get them to bed earlier in the
Order volume one of
the Family Devotion Guide for $6.00 by emailing
CMI at <firstname.lastname@example.org>; ordering from our web
page or calling us toll free 1-888-345-4264.
REACHING is published by Children's Ministry International, Incorporated. The newsletter is distributed to missionaries, parents, children, prayer and financial supporters, and field directors.
Brad Winsted, Director