Why Devotions With Your Children Are Important

What is a devotional? We view this as a book that takes us through a daily reading and teaching about God’s word. While this is true, real devotion is much more than sitting down to read a daily passage and a few notes to go with it.

The very word devotion means profound dedication. To break this down further, profound dedication means the deep penetration of one’s thoughts and actions to be wholly committed to something.

Your devotion isn’t found in doing a devotion. It’s found in your dedication to the Lord. The devotional is simply a tool to help you understand how to live out God’s Word.

 

So what does this mean for your children? Where do devotions fit in here?

First let’s look at what it means to live a life of devotion.

Your children need to see you living a devoted life for Christ. They will see your example and mimic it–whether you’re living for Christ or not. However, children also need some formal instruction and devoted time to be in the Word and learning about what it means. Just as we need to be in the Word and learn what it means, so do our children.

Something I have learned about doing devotions with my children is that when they learn about something, they are more apt to apply it.

For example, when we talk about obedience, my children are more likely to obey and remember to obey, when we have talked about it, therefore, it is in the forefront of their mind. When we talk about why it’s important to obey and who their authorities are, they begin to see reason for living out this attribute. They begin to understand the role God has given them.

I want to share 5 elements of a devotional life with you. I have found them to be necessary aspects to living out a life of devotion and they will help you as you teach your children the same. They are not exhaustive.

  1. Perspective – when it comes to devotion we need a perspective shift. Devotion is not something we merely try to squeeze into our lives and hope there will be room. When we live a devoted life, what we are devoted to will get the most attention. Our words are not enough of us to be considered devoted.  We can say we’re devoted, but if our lives don’t mirror that, our words render useless. God wants us: heart, soul, and mind.  
  2. Prayer – there are so many things that seek to derail us, this is a crucial part of a devoted life.  Satan seeks to debunk that in any way he can. He uses distractions, life circumstances, fatigue, excuse after excuse. Anything can stand in the way of simply sitting down to train our children. We must pray for a clear path and to resist temptation.
  3. Patience – As our children learn and grow, they will make mistakes. They will give in to temptation and “forget” what we have taught them. Training children requires heaps of patience. Anger and frustrations will not help us here. If anything, they hurt what we are trying to accomplish.  This is a good time for us to remember that a gentle answer is more productive than a harsh word.
  4. Persistence – There will be times we will want to give up because it gets hard. It is so easy to find excuses on why we didn’t get around to it today.  Our excuses run endless. But isn’t this also training our children? It teaches them we are inconsistent. Do not give up making this time to train in devotion. Be persistent. Do not give up when it gets hard. Push through.
  5. Practice – We need to practice what we are teaching and remind our children to do the same. When moments arise that allow for training, most often, it will be something you have taught them about. Now is the time to help them put what they learned into action. Practice living a devoted life. Good behavior and good character are not the only ways to practice devoted living. Sing praises! Pray together. Serve one another and others outside your family. Practice love.

It is not merely the acts that make us devoted. It’s a heart of devotion to Christ that makes us devoted. When our hearts are turned toward Him, we will want to devote our time and efforts to Him. But, even those wants can be stifled by excuses and hardships. Don’t allow yourself to become complacent. Be active and intentional about living for Christ and training your children in the same.

By Christin, Joyful Mothering

If you are interested in learning more about how our family does devotions and what resources we use, visit Joyful Mothering this week as I talk about it.

Image: Kookkai_nak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Comments

  1. says

    What a amazing encouraging post! Our little ones are like sponges and modelling what we are teaching them with our own actions and attitude sometime speak louder then words!!! Thank you Christin for your words today!

    • says

      Yes, so true Renee. Our devotion isn’t just in our “doing the right things” either, it’s also shown in our worship to Him. Our giving control to Him. Thanks so much!

  2. says

    Thank you for this, Christin!! My girls are still very little, but hubby and I have been praying for God to lead us in ways we can start doing a simple devotional on their level. And also to help mommy and daddy become disciplined in it ;) Such a good post! I’ll be going over to Joyful Mothering to see your other posts about it! :)

  3. Michelle says

    Excellent post! I need to be more intentional in this area. I really appreciate the encouragement and direction — thank you!!

  4. Joy says

    Love it, Christin! I love practical help for moms, and this is exactly that! I want to agree wholeheartedly with the persistence thing. I remember when we first started out with family devotions, the kids were all wiggly, everyone had blank stares when we asked questions, etc, etc. I was so disappointed, but God brought us from that place to a place where we truly have precious and sweet times together as a family. It’s still crazy sometimes, but I think it always will be with 5 kiddos! :)

    • says

      Thanks Joy! I need to be reminded every time I sit down with my children that my ideal, high expectations must be thrown away so I don’t miss what God has for us. He always has a better plan than me yet I always try to run with my own ideas of how I think it should go. The goal isn’t to “get through every question” or even every verse, but to engage in rich discussion and meet with the Living God! Woot! It gets me excited just to remind myself of that!
      It’s not something to “check off”. It’s something to savor. It’s a place of rest and rejuvenation for all of us. A place to be filled and yet emptied. A place of worship – not work.

  5. says

    Love! So true. We are a seriously far cry from perfect in this aspect, but this is why we do our devotional, bible story and prayer first thing in the morning. I want the kids to connect with God when they start their day just like I aim to, so that we can try to be mindful all day long about living for God and fulfilling His purpose for our life. :)

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