Repost: When Family Devotions Fail

Scott Jones – Gilbert Campus Pastor

Ever feel like a failure in the home department?

If you’re like me—a mom or dad who wants to bring spiritual influence into their home—then you’ve probably experienced some level of frustration about how to make this work.

Oh it’s not that you haven’t tried. You’ve tried “family devotions,” where you’ve prayed in a circle, taught a Bible lesson or where read from a devotional book and asked your kids questions only to have them stare back at you as if you were from another planet (Not that this is an unusual occurrence). And there’s certainly nothing wrong with any of these things. But of the hundreds of families I’ve talked to over the years these have not been successful in their home.

So what do you do when you have this deep desire to have your family engage and interact around spiritual things?

The trick is to find something that doesn’t feel forced, boring or have your kids staring at the ceiling or counting electrical outlets on the wall. As a pastor I’ve tried just about everything. And just to be honest with you most of them have failed. But one thing that we’ve found that is proving to work is something we call “Family Night.” The name itself isn’t what makes it. In fact, what you call it will probably be different.

It’s all about communication.
It’s the constant communication that we put into play in our families that leads to opening our hearts to God, one another and people in need around us. If you can do that then the work of spiritual transformation will follow.

So let me give a simple, “anyone can do this” practice that will not only help you feel successful as a parent but will ensure your family has an ongoing way of growing together in their spiritual life.

1. Give your night a name.
Gather your family and let everyone participate in choosing a name for your family night. You might choose a name like “Pow-Wow,” “Talk Time,” “Huddle Up,” or anything that works for your family. Don’t worry about how clever or creative it is. What’s important is that everyone has ownership and the name has meaning to your family.

2. Choose a night of the week.
Pick a night that works best for everyone. Try to be consistent and not move it around. Make it a priority. It may take a while to establish a rhythm but it will come.

3. Create the Right Environment
Creating an environment for your conversation will give your family focus and help them feel relaxed and engaged while they spend time together.

  • Pick a 30-minute block of time that won’t feel rushed.
  • Pick a place where everyone can face each other.
  • Turn off all technology.
  • Open with a simple prayer like, “Heavenly Father thank you for our family. Thank you for each person here and the special part they play in making our family what it is. Lead us tonight as we talk about what matters most. In Jesus name, Amen.”

4. Start the Conversation.
A great conversation revolves around essential relationships. These five will help you talk about what matters most.

Me:       What was the best and worst part of your day or week?

You:      Say one positive thing about someone else in the family.

Us:        What’s the best part about being in our family and what would make it better?

God:      What are you learning about God and what He wants you to do?

Others: What need are we aware of right now that our family can meet?

You’ll be surprised what emerges when you ask the right questions and then just listen. I guarantee you if you do this with consistency not only will your family engage in more meaningful dialog but the action that comes out of the word will lead your family to new spiritual growth opportunities you never had before.

Let the conversation begin!

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Repost: When Family Devotions Fail

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About The Author
- I am the programming coordinator at Central Christian Church AZ. I also moderate the Central Teaching Blog. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!